How to Become a Veterinary Technician in Nebraska

Even those with strongest hearts know, or at least can imagine what it’s like holding your beloved companion in your arms while they’re hurting or injured.

Veterinaries and veterinary technicians and assistants have to know what that’s like – it’s a part of their job, and that’s why it is so important that you have an empathy and love for animals if you want to do this job.

For animal lovers, facilities like animal hospitals and shelters are of great importance, and the people who work there, more often than not, of greater significance than the doctors.

If you want to dedicate your life to helping in these critical situations, the vocation of a veterinary technician might be right for you.

Job Description and Duties of a Vet Technician in Nebraska

We have already underlined the importance of people that work in an animal healthcare facility.

It goes without saying that your duties as a veterinary technician will be tightly connected with communication with pet owners and empathy towards them.

Apart from that, everywhere in the world, the duties of a vet technician are the same: you’ll have all the responsibilities you would think a vet’s right hand man would have.

Vet technicians take care of everything the vet might need.

Don’t think there won’t be any duties you’ll have to take care of all by yourself, without the supervision of the attending vet.

Here are some of your future duties as a vet technician:

  • record keeping
  • emergency care (applying first aid to an animal)
  • taking their body temperature and handling their bodily fluids or discharge
  • taking their pulse
  • taking x-rays
  • applying medications, fluids and blood products following the veterinarians’ instructions
  • patient communication
  • administering anesthesia

There are two rather unpleasant duties you’ll also have to assist in or be in charge of, and these are cleaning after animals and administering or assisting in euthanasia.

However, you don’t need to work in a private practice, although the demand is highest in this area.

You can also find work in the following areas:

  • Internal Medicine
  • Emergency and Critical Care
  • Zoological Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Practice
  • Nutrition
  • Clinical Pathology and many more

How to Become One?

Fortunately for you, Nebraska has its share of  colleges that have programs accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities (CVTEA).

You’ll need to graduate in one of these in order to get an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology.

For Nebraska, this means going to one of the two colleges that offer accredited program for veterinary technicians: Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture or Northeast Community College.

Now, when you do that, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) exam, which is required in order to work as a licensed veterinary technician.

Education Required for a Vet Technician in Nebraska

For most schools, conditions and prerequisites that you have to fulfill before you apply are more or less the same, but with significant variations.

You’ll have to visit their websites for more information about the admission.

One thing is in common for all of them, though, and it is that they all require that you have a high school diploma, GED, or acceptable home school equivalency.

Some of them allow you to take some prerequisite courses while still in high school, and some require you to submit an essay, an interview or achieve high scores on tests like SAT, ACT, Compass or ASSET.

You may be required to have actual experience working at a vet’s ambulance or at least that you observed a veterinarian for a minimum of eight hours.

Some of them will require some prerequisite courses you may not have had the chance to attend in high school, like math, communications, biology, chemistry, humanities, or physical science.

Don’t worry, though, if you haven’t taken those required by your program, you can take them while you’re still in high school and then apply.

The course work doesn’t differ much from those in most other states. The subjects will be heavily science based like the following:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • biology
  • radiology
  • anesthesia
  • large and small animal medicine
  • pathology
  • practice management
  • veterinary economics
  • exotic animals
  • surgery
  • pharmacology
  • clinical skills, etc.

Some courses include lab work at in-campus laboratories, and it falls into your education program so you can practice the skills and techniques taught in the classroom.

The last semester of your education will be an internship at your local veterinarian clinic, where you can put into practice all that you’ve learned over the course of your education and see what it’s like to be a veterinarian on a day-to-day basis.

All in all, it will take you somewhere between two to three years to become a graduate with an Associate of Science degree in Registered Veterinary Technology.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition fees are very affordable in Nebraska, though they can rise if you take more time finishing the program.

Most programs can be completed within two years for less than $20,000 all this including books, fees, and supplies needed.

Tuition, however, is higher for out-of-state students.

Almost all financial aid applications require you to start with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website. Here, you’ll find out what types of aid are available and for which you meet the criteria.

You can learn about the many veteran benefits available to college students in Nebraska on the  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, by clicking here.

You can visit the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education website where you can find lists of state sponsored programs for financial aid and scholarships.

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Licensing and Certification

Unfortunately, you’re still not done with exams, but – good news – you’re almost there!

Right after you graduate, you’ll have to take the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) exam.

The Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE) is an exam regulated by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards  and is necessary for you to become a licensed vet technician in Nebraska.

Only those that graduated from an accredited veterinary technology program can take the test.

Be prepared, though, because it’s no picnic. This exam lasts for three hours, has 150 questions and costs 300$. After you pass, you can work as a licensed veterinary technician in Nebraska!

However, you first have to apply for a license in Nebraska that costs $100.

In order to keep your license current, you’ll have to complete 16 hours of continuing education every two years, which is good for you, because it keeps you in the loop.

Getting a Job in Nebraska

Veterinary technicians shouldn’t worry about finding a job. Though in each state, and each city, the employers are the ones that decide who’s going to get a job, depending on their needs at the moment, generally speaking, there is a place for everyone.

Here are some of the healthcare facilities in Nebraska that might offer you a job once you’re done with your education:

Salaries for Vet Technicians in Nebraska

Okay, so they’re not the highest possible salaries you’ve ever seen: but the veterinary field of work is becoming a coveted one, with more and more pet owners in America each year.

This means, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, that the employment workers in animal healthcare will grow up to a whopping 30% a year through 2022.

Here are the average salaries in cities across Nebraska:

LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Grand Island,NE$27,457
North Platte,NE$26,632

Final Words

On your way to becoming a veterinary technician, you will encounter many people that believe this job is easy, and doesn’t even need particular education.

Do not get discouraged.

This is a common misconception as veterinary technicians are the people veterinarians work with side by side, and though they cannot diagnose illnesses, prescribe and administer medicines or perform surgeries,  they are involved in all those processes every single day and take significant part in it.

Take into consideration all the extra hours, physical and emotional toll it will have on you, before you venture on this road.

If, after that, you still think this is exactly what you should do in the future, than be sure that there’s no profession more fulfilling than that of a person helping those in need.

USA How to Become a Vet Tech by State