Chair of St. Pete-based Vet Tech College discusses training, opportunities, salaries, and more

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Tricia Gorham–chair of the College of Veterinary Technology at St. Petersburg College, and a practicing veterinary technician since 1991—discusses, in a “Talking Animals” interview, her love of animals extending back to childhood, and how she began working for a veterinarian as a junior in high school.

That job, she explains, was hardly just another teenage gig—she not only gravitated toward animals,
but excelled in sciences, and soon was on the path toward becoming a vet tech. Turns out, that path, more broadly, is beset with more than a few twists and turns: Gorham notes that, nationwide, there are 222 American Veterinary Medical Association-approved programs for veterinary technician training, including, of course, the one she leads that’s housed at St. Petersburg College. But, she hastens to point out, there are 11 states—Florida among them—that do not regulate the training of vet techs, forgoing the requirement that techs be licensed to practice.

With that in mind, Gorham advises asking about the training and credentials of a given vet tech before taking an animal to a veterinary hospital or clinic. She describes how the College of Veterinary Technology works, from applying to explaining that all students take all classes—that if someone aspires to work with, say, wildlife or maybe exotic animals, they provide specialty seminars, internships, or trips to supplement the fundamental educational program—addressing tuition costs and probable salary for a newly-minted graduate