Becoming a Veterinary Assistant in Nebraska
There are few jobs more rewarding for those who love animals than that of a veterinary assistant. Veterinary assistants are a valuable part of any veterinary practice. Assistants are required to perform a number of duties that help an animal healthcare team function as best as possible and aid licensed veterinary technicians and veterinarians with all aspects of animal care.
Working as a Veterinary Assistant in Nebraska
The need for veterinary care today is widespread in Nebraska. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for a career as a veterinary assistant is promising. The field is rapidly growing and is expected to experience a 15-percent increase in the number of Nebraska veterinary assistant jobs by the year 2024. Currently, the average annual salary for a Nebraska veterinary assistant is $25,130.
Veterinary Assistant Salaries in Nebraska by Region
|Area||Total Employed||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Grand Island, NE||50||$13.46||$27,990|
|Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA||**||$13.68||$28,450|
Before you pursue a career in animal healthcare, it is important that you know what will be required of you. The daily responsibilities of veterinary assistants may include:
- Cleaning and disinfecting animal cages, treatment areas and exam rooms
- Administering medications to patients
- Maintaining patient charts
- Meeting daily needs of animals under the practice’s care, such as walking, feeding and providing water to animals
- Restraining pets properly for tissue sampling and blood/urine collection
- Performing laboratory tests by operating automated blood machines and setting up for urinalysis, bedside tests and fecal exams
- Sterilizing and maintaining surgical equipment
- Assisting the licensed veterinary technician and veterinarian during surgical procedures
Veterinary assistants in Nebraska not only fill a role in helping the veterinarian but also pet owners. Veterinary assistants are often the initial point of contact for clients and must have good communication skills. They are required to expound on the pet care provided by the team to pet owners and should be comfortable explaining details like medications and how to administer them as well as defining various diseases and other general pet care topics.
Academic Requirements and Training Programs
Before you can fulfill your dream as a veterinary assistant, you will need to undergo comprehensive training to learn all you need to know about your career as a veterinary assistant. Before you start your education, you do not need to meet any pre-existing requirement in the state of Nebraska; however, the majority of vet assistants have a high school diploma or equivalent. Veterinary assistant education programs can be found at vocational institutes, community colleges, high schools and adult learning centers.
Once you have decided you want to be a Nebraska veterinary assistant, you must decide on a training program. You can find training programs at schools such as:
- Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska
- Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, Nebraska
NAVTA in Nebraska
The National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA) put together guidelines in 2010 for approved veterinary assistant (AVA) training programs, which issue a nationally recognized certificate that is awarded to veterinary assistants. These training programs extend to a specific level of quality yet are not mandated by the state of Nebraska. But earning the distinction of approved veterinary assistant will do you well in your search for work. Three approved options are available by NAVTA in Nebraska. These include:
- Externship: An externship offers on-site training for an individual interested in becoming a veterinary assistant who is actively seeking employment and is not working in a veterinary practice already.
- Experiential Learner: This option is available to veterinary assistants who are employed in the state of Nebraska and work a minimum of 20 hours each week in a full-service veterinary practice.
- Veterinary Assistant Program: Individuals who work as Nebraska veterinary assistants and work 20 hours per week in a veterinary practice.
Once you have completed an option, you are eligible to take the AVA exam that corresponds with the option you choose. Upon passing the AVA exam, you will begin the process of certification. To stay current as an AVA in Nebraska, you need to renew your certification every two years and will need proof of continuing education.