The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for vet techs will increase by 30% in the US between 2012 and 2022. This could mean 25,000 new vet tech job opportunities in the country by 2022. Nebraska has approximately 580 vet techs, with Lincoln and Omaha areas having about 90 and 220 veterinary technicians respectively. There are several vet schools in Nebraska that are accredited by the relevant authorities to offer veterinary technician programs.
Vet techs can work in several fields. They can get employment in animal hospitals, private clinics, research facilities, wildlife sanctuaries, kennels or shelters and zoos.
How to Become a Vet Tech in Nebraska
The state of Nebraska requires prospective vet techs to:
- Take a two-year vet tech program from an institution accredited by the AVMA (American Veterinary Medicine Medical Association).
- Take and successfully pass the Veterinary Technical National Examination (VTNE)
After taking and passing the VTNE, students can then submit their application to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (Nebraska DHHS). Most states have State Veterinary Boards to administer examinations and license vet techs. However, the state of Nebraska uses the Nebraska DHHS to approve and license qualified vet techs in the state.
Vet tech licenses in Nebraska expire on April 1 of every even-numbered year. While renewing their licenses, the vet techs are required to provide proof that they have attended at least 16 hours of continuing education in an institution recognized by the Nebraska DHHS.
Nebraska Vet Tech Schools
Students must ensure that they enroll in schools and programs that are approved by the AVMA. A school may have AVMA accreditation but some of its courses may not be approved by the AVMA. There are several AVMA-accredited vet tech schools in Nebraska. These institutions provide hands-on experience and training to students to enable them work efficiently in the veterinary field. Some of these schools include:
- Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture – This college is based in Curtis and it was accredited in 1973 by the AVMA. It offers an associate degree in applied science and has state-of-the-art facilities such as a surgical theater, exotic animals housing, a barn, labs, a kennel and x-ray bays. The institution has a Safari Club that takes students to zoos and wildlife refuges.
- Northeast Community College – Located in Norfolk, the institution was accredited by the AVMA in 1997. The college offers an associate degree in applied science.
Vatterott College- The college offers vet techs an associate degree in applied science in Omaha. The school was accredited in 1984 by the AVMA and it has offered several courses including animal anatomy, lab animal procedures, medical terminology and animal diseases.
There are several online vet schools which are recognized by the state of Nebraska. Penn Foster is an online vet school that offers an associate degree in applied science.
Vet techs play a crucial role in the veterinary field. They provide world-class medical care and attention to animals and pets at rescue centers, clinics, zoos and homes. A veterinarian needs a vet tech to assist him/her in running a clinic. As a vet tech in Nebraska, your duties will vary according to the type facility you work in. However, there are several general roles assigned to a vet tech. They include:
- Conducting an initial examination of the injured or ill animal
- Collecting and maintaining accurate records of animals at the facility
- Stabilizing injured or ill animals by giving them nursing care or first aid
- Administering medication or shots
- Collecting, transporting and storing lab samples using the right techniques
- Taking and developing x-rays
- Preparing animals for surgery
- Preparing and washing surgical equipment before and after surgery
- Reassuring animal owners so that they can give accurate information about the animal’s condition
In addition to these general duties, a supervisor or veterinarian may require a vet tech to carry out a wide range of duties. In some instances, a vet tech may be required to supervise other employees at a facility or at the veterinarian’s office.
Salary and Career Info
The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of Nebraska veterinary technicians compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For a vet tech to be certified in Nebraska, he/she must apply to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services after taking and passing the VTNE. The student must provide his/her VTNE scores, transcripts as well as pay the license registration fee. If the candidate provides accurate and complete information, the department will license the candidate to practice as a vet tech in the state of Nebraska.