CURTIS, Neb. – One of the nation’s oldest college programs for educating technicians in animal health care has been reaccredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The University of Nebraska’s Veterinary Technology program at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis was notified in late April that its program has again received national accreditation.
Accreditation is required in Nebraska for post-secondary institutions offering academic programs to students studying to become licensed veterinary technicians, said Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.
“Since its establishment in 1968 through the efforts of the University of Nebraska and Dr. Walter Long, the veterinary technology program has graduated more than 1,000 students,” Rosati said.
Then known as the University Of Nebraska School Of Technical Agriculture, the UNSTA program was one of the first two in the U.S. to be accredited and has continuously maintained that status, which is important for students seeking top training.
When students from the Midwest and around the nation arrived at Curtis in 1968 for their two-year associate degree program, they were paving the way for many to follow.
They were educated in radiology, anesthesia, anatomy and physiology, surgery, pharmacology, diseases, facilities, office records, and many of the primary areas studied by their nursing and radiology counterparts in human health.
One of those early-year graduates is Barbara Berg, licensed veterinary technician (LVT) and assistant professor, who is chair of the NCTA Veterinary Technology Systems program.
“Over the years the veterinary technician profession has grown and changed,” Berg said. “Today’s LVT’s share with the veterinarian the challenge of providing high level quality care for the patients in their hospital or clinic. There are now over 15 specialties a technician can pursue after completing their veterinary technician education.”
In a national review, the AVMA scorecard is a rigorous team evaluation of an institution’s entire program including curriculum, staffing, learning objectives, facilities, equipment, laboratories, animals, safety and biosecurity, and more.
“Our iconic campus dairy barn where early graduates attended classes, including large animal surgery, has been transformed into the Dr. Walter Long Veterinary Technology Teaching Clinic,” Berg noted. “Here, the students can apply the hands-on skills they have learned in classes to scenario-based practice cases. This allows a little more real-world experience before internship and graduation.”
Aggie students pursue one or more areas of study for an Associates of Applied Science degree: veterinary technician, veterinary assistant, equine health care, animal health management, and animal husbandry.
Those who graduate from NCTA as a veterinary technician are qualified to sit for the VTNE (Veterinary Technical National Examination) which is offered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. Veterinarian technicians who practice in Nebraska must be licensed by the state.
“This highly successful reaccreditation of NCTA’s veterinary technology program is testament to the effectiveness and knowledge of our faculty. External evaluators thoroughly reviewed their work and verified the academic rigor and historical integrity of the program,” Dean Rosati said.
Faculty members in the NCTA Veterinary Technology Systems division are Berg; Professor Ricky Sue Barnes, DVM; Assistant Professors Judy Bowmaster Cole, LVT and Glenn Jackson, DVM; and facilities class coordinator Josi Arnold.