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Traditional Western Jobs in Odessa, Texas

Updated on February 25, 2017

The Permian Basin

Odessa is mid-way between the metro areas of El Paso and Fort Worth, Texas. This particular region is the very center of the famous Permian Basin, a geological range that is considered a classic world-class sedimentary and petroleum basin. The basin covers a range of 250 by 300 miles at it's widest points and over 60,000 square miles. Odessa and Midland, Texas are Oil & Gas leaders in the basin.

Between El Paso and Fort Worth

map of the Permian Basin in North America, from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
map of the Permian Basin in North America, from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

Students and scientists from the University of Texas at Odessa, from around Texas, and from around the world come to The Permian Basin to study its geological structures and history as well as paleontology and related sciences. As the ancient Permian Sea dried up, it left behind its sea life - plants and animals - that creates large expanses of the oil we use today, discovered about 1926 during the Roaring Twenties. The roar in the Permian Basin was made by oil and gas machinery.

In the 21st Century, the largest industries int his are are

  1. Big Oil & Gas
  2. Healthcare and
  3. Retail Trade, particularly in companies like Family Dollar Stores, which built its headquarters in Odessa in 2003. Dollar Tree and other dollar stores are growing very quickly in the United States, offering cheaper prices and smaller quantities of food and other goods than supermarkets and department stores. This helps lower-income families and those of laid off workers survive.

Comanche Nation Gave Way to Cattle

The Comanche Nation lived in the Permian Basin for many years until American railroads began to come through in 1881. In fact, the Texas and Pacific Railway built across the Odessa area because of the water resources needed for its steam engines.

In the late 1870s - early 1880s, land around Odessa was very inexpensive and settlers began to arrive. Ranching began in earnest in 1885 and the Texas and Pacific railroad assisted with transporting ranchers' cattle in place of the old "trail drives" featured in old TV shows like Rawhide with Clint Eastwood, 1959 - 1966. Today, some trail drives are still sponsored as a tourist experience, but are real drives taking cattle to market.

Even though the 3,000 head of cattle on TV's Rawhide started out east of Odessa at San Antonio, the show gives a pretty fair picture of the trail drive of the Old West.

Native North American footpaths were followed by cattle drives and wagon trains. After that, the American railroads followed the same routes, some rail lines replaced by major interstate highways after the 1950s.

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Top 10 Job Listings - Actual Jobs Available

The following list make up the top job listings in Odessa Texas on Internet Search engines, company HR webpages, and websites of employment recruiters.

  1. Phsycians/Doctors
  2. Nurses – RNs, LPNs, LVNs - Healthcare. Can require anywhere from 1 year to 4-years of training beyind high school, and graduate school for MSNs and PhD Nurses.
  3. Truck Drivers
  4. Dispatchers
  5. Physical Therapists
  6. Assistant Managers
  7. Automotive Technicians
  8. Wireless Technician III
  9. Independent Sales Representatives
  10. Occupational Therapists

Several of the Top 10 Job Listings are in Healthcare. All five require advanced training and certifcation beyond high school. Some require professional school after the 4-year bachelors degree.

Further top job listings include:

  1. Retail Store Managers
  2. Team Members – Casual Dining
  3. Sales Representatives

Job Titles Expected to Add Most Openings by 2024

  1. Personal and Home Care Aides
  2. Mainstream Elementary School Teachers
  3. Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food
  4. Retail Salespersons
  5. Roustabouts, Oil and Gas
  6. Registered Nurses (RNs): Always appearing in lists of open jobs in the 2010s.
  7. Customer Service Representatives
  8. Child Care Workers
  9. Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer
  10. Office Clerks, General
  11. Waitstaff - Casual and Fine Dining
  12. Janitors/Cleaners, except Housekeepers
  13. Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining
  14. Mainstream Secondary School Teachers
  15. Mainstream Middle School Teachers
  16. Construction Laborers
  17. Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Forecast to Increase Most Quickly to 2024

  1. Personal and Home Care Aides
  2. Mainstream Elem. Teachers
  3. Mainstream Mid. Sch. Teachers
  4. Industrial Machinery Mechanics
  5. Computer Systems Analysts
  6. Derrick, Oil/Gas Rotary Drill jobs
  7. Oil & Gas Engineers
  8. Mainstream Pre-Sch Teachers
  9. Mainstream Secondary Teachers
  10. Roustabouts, Oil and Gas

Long Term Impact of Stimulus Funding

Before the Stimulus Package of 2009 was compiled and distributed, Odessa was one out of only 9 of a total 311 metro areas with existing data that showed a yearly jobs gain in construction and related positions. In fact, Odessa was 3rd on the list with a 5% increase in such jobs before the ARRA Stimulus Package was available.

Stimulus funds boosted a continuing jobs and business increase, higher from 2009 - 2012 and again in 2015 - 2016. A new Forensic Center is among the ventures planned, creating additional construction, management, and criminal science jobs.

The City of Odessa also received $3.9 Million to use for improving transportation. It was targeted successfully to purchase a dozen new city buses, support vehicles, support equipment, fare collection equipment, new route signs, new bus shelters, communications equipment; and to pay for preventive maintenance.

Higher Education for Good Jobs

Teaching Hospitals and Healthcare Services


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      dohn121 - That;s really interesting about the moveiw and the show. I;ve seen it on TV a couple of times. Now you;ve given me the background!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Very interesting Hub.

    • melshomecorner profile image

      Melinda Winner 8 years ago from Mississippi

      very interesting hub !

      Melinda Winner

    • Jenny30 profile image

      Jennifer 8 years ago from Canada

      Nice article. Very interesting! You did a lot of research I can see! Awesome work! Look forward to more of your hubs!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      One of my favorite movies of all time is Friday Night Lights starring Billy Bob Thornton and Lucas Black. The movie which was based off of the Permian Panters of Odessa and their championship run in the mid to late 1980s and as you may know, it was turned into a TV show recently. The strong message that it conveyed was that football there wasn't a sport. It was a religion! With that being said, the football coach (Thorton) was making more than the high school's principal and all anyone cared about was winning a state title as it would provide the football players a ticket out of Odessa. Awesome movie, awesome informative hub. Thanks.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks for the encouraing words, Gypsy Willow. I'd like to visit the Permian Basin, but it's probably very very hot in summer. The Ronald McDonald Mobile Unit healthcare service is pretty encouraging, I think.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Brilliantly researched hub, I found it really interesting even though I am not job hunting in that area. Feel as if I just paid a visit, thanks.