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PCC plans to expand veterinary technician program facilities

There's a nationwide shortage of veterinary technicians and Portland Community College is planning to expand its program's facilities.

PORTLAND, Ore. — As the veterinary world faces staffing shortages, Portland Community Colleges' Rock Creek campus is expanding the Veterinary Technician Program's facilities. A new barn is being built to house the animals students work with.

It's set to be done in the fall of 2023.

The program takes two years and student graduate with an associate degree. After that, they take a national exam then become certified. Dr. Ragan Borzcik is the program chair.

"There's not enough staff to work in the clinics now," Borzcik said. "Then the burden of care falls on the rest of the clinic and those employees start to burn out and feel like they're overworked and they leave the career."

Borzcik said the pandemic took a huge toll on the veterinarians and veterinary technicians. There's a lot of backed-up appointments. She said the goal of the program is to get more technicians in the work force.

"Continue graduating technicians that are ready to go out, do the job and do a great job with it," Borzcik said.

Student Maryrose Gilliland is in her second year of the program. She's set to graduate in 2023. She said she understands how challenging it can be going into a field with a staffing shortage.

"You have to do it for the animals," Gilliland said. "I understand the implications that come with it. With this program, one thing they talked about is passion fatigue and burnout."

Gilliland said vet techs can make anywhere from $25 to $30 an hour starting out. 

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