Midland College radiology program reopens after 13 years

Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 6:19 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Midland College and Midland Health are partnering to relaunch the college’s dormant radiology program.

It was closed for 13 years, but the revamp was motivated by Permian basin staff shortages and a need for more classroom spots.

Within Midland Health alone, there are 20 full and part-time job openings in the radiology department. They’re forced to use contract employees, said Kelly Wright, director of radiology at Midland Health.

“It is so much more expensive to have a contract tech instead of somebody that’s here, that lives in the community and works at the hospital,” Wright said.

That demand inspired the reopening. It’s a two-year opportunity to study at the F. Marie Hall Outpatient Center that 11 students took on last week.

Wright says there are other local programs, but not enough graduates.

“But with all of the openings across the Permian Basin and in other areas it’s just not keeping up,” Wright said.

That’s why staff are creating a local solution meant to retain people with roots here.

The Midland students are paying little to nothing for their education thanks to Midland Memorial Foundation and the Perkins Foundation. In exchange for their tuition, eight of them have agreed to work at Midland Health for two years.

“That’ll be able to help us at least fill some of the positions,” Wright said. “And currently eight out of the 11 students have committed to a two-year contract. So, we’re really excited. In two years we’ll be able to have eight new employees coming in and helping to fill our open positions.”

Radiology programs are also competitive. This relaunch means more opportunities for West Texans to study radiology.

“A lot of people want to look to stay here as well. So, meeting the needs of the community… if they want to have that particular education to stay here, let them do that,” said Tabitha Fuquay, radiology program director at Midland College.

The students will study at Midland Health facilities and use its labs and equipment. Staff expect to accept 11 more students next year.