The Cornhusker State exists at a biological crossroads between forest and prairie – and is the home to all the biological diversity that exists in these vasts ecosystems. Nebraska is home to more than 80 mammal species, 23,000 miles of rivers and streams, and prairies with grasses of three different heights. Nebraska is also a vast agricultural state that is the home to 49,100 farms and ranches that are currently growing food and livestock on 92 percent of Nebraska’s total landmass.
Founded in 1875, Nebraska is home to the fifth eldest and one of the largest Human Societies in the nation. With the biological diversity of the wild, the potential for interdependence with animals that agriculture can bring, and domestic pets in need of care the animals of Nebraska are calling for folks to join the animal medicine world.
Nebraska residents who are interested in caring for animals the way a nurse cares for humans can consider becoming a veterinary technician (vet tech). The main role of a vet tech is to assist veterinarians in healing animals by performing patient intake; operating diagnostic machinery; collecting lab specimens; performing administrative tasks; engaging in leadership and clinic management of vet assistants and office staff; preparing, assisting; and caring for patients after surgery; educating clients on care, and more.
In order to join the animal healthcare workforce in Nebraska, aspiring vet techs will need to complete certain requirements before beginning work – including graduating from a two- or four- year program accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the program-approval branch of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Following graduation from an approved program, a vet tech hopeful will sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE)—the national credentialing exam to qualify as a registered, licensed, or certified vet tech (RVT, LVT, CVT). Upon passing the exam and submitting all required documentation to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), techs are free to practice in the state under a licensed veterinarian.
Keep reading to learn more about how to become a registered vet tech, including a detailed discussion of CVTEA-accredited programs in the state, job outlook for cornhusker vet techs, and requirements to become credentialed in the state.
|School Website||main address||online program||Avma Accredited|
|Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture||404 East 7th, Curtis, Nebraska, 69025-9552||No||Yes|
|Northeast Community College||801 E Benjamin, Norfolk, Nebraska, 68702-0469||No||Yes|
Accredited Vet Tech Programs in Nebraska
The Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA), the accrediting body of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA ensures that schools are able to provide students with all of the training and experience they need to be able to start working as competent vet techs in the field. Currently, Nebraska offers two AVMA accredited programs to students looking to enter the vet world in the Cornhusker state.
Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) in Curtis has been AVMA accredited since 1973. Students who complete the three-year, 78-credit program graduate with an associate of applied science (AAS) degree.NCTA teaches students how to care for many different types of animals including llamas, cattle, cats, dogs, and exotic animals. The school has a facility that features x-ray bays, a surgical theater, labs, a kennel, a barn, exotic animal housing, and more. Many of the students at the school join the Safari Club, which takes them to wildlife refuges, zoos, and other areas. Students complete an internship and work at research facilities in the area.
To graduate, students must complete internship hours, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and complete an exit exam. Courses include facility management; fur and feather; animal care; medical terminology; hematology; nursing; radiology; livestock nutrition; and more. The three-year, first-time pass rate for graduates of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture on the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE) was 66 percent between 2017 and 2020.
Northeast Community College in Norfolk has had full AVMA accreditation since 1997. It offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in veterinary technology through classroom study as well as clinical and lab study. Students learn many skills and techniques needed to work as a vet tech, preparing graduates for entry-level positions.
Courses include animal husbandry and restraint; anatomy and physiology of domestic animals; laboratory techniques; radiology and ultrasonography; clinical nursing of companion animals; veterinary office practices; and more. Students also complete general education requirements, an internship, and a review course for the VTNE. Students who are applying to the vet tech program at Northeast must complete 50 hours of observation of a licensed vet tech before being accepted into the program. The three-year, first-time pass rate on the VTNE for graduates of the Northeast Community College veterinary technology program was 85.7 percent between 2017 and 2020.
Students who are interested in a more flexible option may want to consider online learning options. With programs such as those offered by Penn Foster College, students can earn a degree from a CVTEA-accredited program without being physically present in a classroom. This can be a good option for those that want to continue working during school, or who have family obligations that keep them at home.
For more information, visit our online veterinary technician schools page.
How to Become a Vet Tech in Nebraska
Step 1: Graduate from High School (Duration: Four Years) – A high school diploma or GED is essential to gaining entrance to a vet tech program. High school students who want to become vet techs in the future should be sure to pay attention and excel in science courses such as biology and chemistry. It may also be a good idea to seek out opportunities volunteering at local veterinary clinics or animal shelters to gain useful experience in the field during this time.
Step 2: Complete an Accredited Vet Tech Program (Duration: Two Years) – Veterinary technician programs typically require two years of courses and hands-on training. After two years, graduates of the program will earn an Associate’s degree. It is important for aspiring vet techs to find a program that has been accredited by the AVMA because that is how they will become eligible to take the VTNE and eventually find employment.
Step 3: Take the VTNE – The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is a prerequisite for vet techs practicing in Nebraska. Graduates of accredited programs are eligible to sit for the exam, which is offered annually in the state capital of Lincoln. Applicants must register for the exam through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB). Those that do not take the exam in Nebraska must have their scores sent to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services. Those that sit for the exam in Lincoln will have their scores automatically reported.
Step 4: Apply for Certification in Nebraska – Veterinary technician certification is different from state to state. In Nebraska, vet techs must complete an application and send it along with their VTNE scores (where necessary), proof of graduation from an AVMA accredited vet tech program, a $100 application fee, and a photocopy of documentation that proves the applicant’s age (such as a driver’s license or birth certificate) to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services.
Step 5: Complete Continuing Education Requirements (Every Two Years) – In order to maintain certification as a veterinary technician in Nebraska, vet techs must complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years and submit proof to the Department of Health & Human Services.
Demand for Vet Techs in Nebraska
According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS, 2021), the vet tech occupation is going to experience much faster than average growth compared to average occupations in the nation. The BLS predicts that, nationwide, the demand for vet techs will grow by 16 percent, adding 18,300 jobs between 2019 and 2029. At a growth rate that is four times the national predicted occupational growth rate of 4 percent, this is a promising trend for those who wish to enter animal nursing.
When zooming in on Nebraska, CareerOneStop (2021)—a government site sourcing its data from the BLS—corroborates this trend toward growth. Between 2018 and 2028, CareerOneStop predicts that Nebraska’s demand for vet techs will grow by 19 percent. In addition, for professionals with associate’s degrees, the vet tech occupation is the third-fastest growing job opportunity in the state.
Salaries for Vet Techs in Nebraska and Nationwide
Earning potential for veterinary technicians will vary greatly depending on factors like geography, experience, and specialization. From a nationwide perspective, the BLS (May 2020) reported that the 109,490 vet techs employed in the United States earned, on average, $37,860 per year. The following chart helps Nebraskan vet techs understand how wages in the state compare to the national averages:
|Number of vet techs employed||109,490||550|
|Average annual salary||$37,860||$37,120|
|50th percentile (median)||$36,260||$36,780|
With Salaries in Nebraska coming in at higher than, similar to, and lower than national averages, another way to weigh potential earnings is to consider the cost of living. According to the Missouri Information and Economic Resource Center (MERIC 2021), Nebraska’s cost of living is the 19th most affordable in the nation, with particular savings in regard to housing and utilities.
Regardless of whether the salaries are more than, less than, or equal to national averages, the dollar in Nebraska is going to go further than it might in more expensive regions in the U.S.
Where do Nebraska Vet Techs Work?
Where a vet tech finds work is going to depend on the types of animals they’re interested in and the types of care they specialize in giving. Nebraska-based vet techs can find themselve working in animal services in the domestic realm, on farms or ranches, in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, at zoos, in laboratories, or in animal hospitals. Job seekers in Nebraska can find opportunities on mainstream job sites like LinkedIn, SimplyHired, CareerBuilder, Monster, and Indeed.
As of May 2021, iHireVeterinary—a job site specifically for the veterinary medicine world—has Nebraska-based job opportunities at the Morgan Pet Clinic, All About Pets Veterinary Center, Banfield Hospital, VCA MidWest Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center, and Val Verde Animal Hospital.
Job seekers and those who wish to develop professionally may also find connections in professional organizations focused on veterinary medicine. National groups like the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA) and local organizations like the Nebraska Veterinary Technician Association (NVTA) offer a chance for vet techs to connect. Both sites are useful for finding educational opportunities, jobs openings, and networking events for veterinary technicians.
|VETERINARY CAREER||NEBRASKA JOBS||SALARY DATA (BLS 2020)|
|LOW SALARY (10TH %ILE)||MEDIAN SALARY (50TH %ILE)||HIGH SALARY (90TH %ILE)|
Accreditation and Certification for Vet Techs in Nebraska
In the state of Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services takes care of the licensing and regulation of veterinary technicians. In order to become a licensed veterinary technician, applicants need to have graduated from an AVMA-accredited school and must take and pass the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE).
After passing the test, they can submit their application to the department. All vet tech licenses in Nebraska expire on April 1 of even-numbered years. When renewing, vet techs must also include proof of at least 16 hours of continuing education. The vet techs need to make sure that the CE they choose is approved by the department.
Students need to choose vet tech schools in Nebraska that have AVMA accreditation. The accreditation process is intensive, and not all programs will achieve accredited status. The AVMA accreditation committee looks at many different areas of a school or program before offering accreditation, including:
- Informational resources
- Physical facilities
Going to schools that have accredited status should give peace of mind to students. Accreditation indicates that the school has been thoroughly evaluated and that a degree from the chosen program will make the graduate eligible for the VTNE and subsequent certification. More information about how vet tech programs earn accreditation can be found at the CVTEA website.