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A veterinary technician student at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is responsible for administering and monitoring respiration and anesthesia to a dog during surgery. Instructor Barb Berg, LVT, at right, reviews the charts during the procedure. Continuing Education programs for professionals are Oct. 21-22 in Curtis. (Photo: Mary Crawford, NCTA News)

CURTIS, Neb. — In a week we will be welcoming animal health professionals and veterinary technician alumni to Curtis for an annual event which soon spans five decades.

The Veterinary Technology Continuing Education Association, a non-profit entity which was established right here in Curtis 49 years ago, will host its Fall Conference for Continuing Education on October 21 and 22.

The conference is expected to register more than 40 professionals for two days of seminars and discussions and provide up to 16 hours of continuing education credits.

The group is a separate entity from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, yet closely aligned with our academic programs.

This is due to our Veterinary Technology program becoming one of the first two college programs in the United States to be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1973.

Simultaneously, the VTCEA was established to provide ongoing support and continuing education for industry professionals.

Current officers include three NCTA faculty.  Noel Ochoa is president, Leighlynn Obermiller is vice president, and Chrissy Barnhart is secretary-treasurer.

Each is an alumnus of the NCTA Veterinary Technology program, worked in the industry, and joined our teaching corps in the past four years.

Veterinarians are required to receive 16 credit hours of continuing education each year in order to renew their license.  Veterinary technicians are required to receive eight credit hours per year.

NCTA Lecturer Noel Ochoa, Certified Veterinary Technician, teaches several courses for our veterinary technician and veterinary assistant students. These include Anatomy and Physiology for first-year students; Bird Training, Radiology II and the Clinical Practices class, both for second-year students.

Ochoa said NCTA students in Clinical Practices will be assisting with CE registration and Friday’s program. Currently, NCTA has more than 100 students enrolled in its VT courses. All students are required to attend the Friday program, with the second day optional.

“We are looking forward to some outstanding speakers again this year,” Ochoa said. “We open with Dr. Michelle Harcha, a veterinarian from Ohio, who will speak on the topic of Emotional Resilience and Wellbeing for the Veterinary Healthcare Team.”

“It was very engaging sitting in her lecture last year at a national conference,” he added. “We are quite fortunate that she was able to come to Curtis this fall.”

Other topics are:

  • The Endocannabinoid System, Dogs, Cats, and Horses – Veterinary Cannabis
  • Geriatric Care and End of Life Care, Dr Kira Kautz DVM, of North Platte
  • Equine Emergencies
  • Leading with Emotional Intelligence, Giving and Receiving Effective Feedback, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team
  • New Industry Products, Dr David Whetstone, sponsored by Virbac

 Additionally, animal health businesses such as veterinary practices and emergency animal clinics are invited to a have displays. They can meet with students seeking internships and employment.

All activities will be at the NCTA Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center. Tours of the Veterinary Technology facilities and programs will be available.

This is an exciting gateway event to our 50th anniversary year for NCTA’s national accreditation.

Congratulations to our academic team of Barbara Berg, Judy Bowmaster-Cole, Dr. Elizabeth Fraser, Noel Ochoa, Leighlynn Obermiller, Chrissy Barnhart and adjunct professor Dr. Ricky Sue Barnes for navigating the Veterinary Technology program through the pandemic of 2020 and 2021. They continued in-person classes the summer of 2020 and haven’t missed a beat in delivery of outstanding academics and experiential learning.

Our college is better because of their knowledge, skills and dedication to successful Aggie students.

— NCTA Dean Larry Gossen

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