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Traditional Western Jobs in Odessa, Texas

Updated on November 13, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

The Permian Basin

Odessa and Midland are located near the Texas Panhandle and between the metro areas of El Paso on the west side and and Fort Worth on the east.

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 and gas producing leaders here.

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).

Permian Basin Studies

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 as decaying plants and animals. All that 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 in his are are

  1. Big Oil and Gas
  2. Healthcare
  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.

Sgt. David Garcia (middle), the NCOIC of physical therapy. Physical therapy has been a high demand career field for decades.
Sgt. David Garcia (middle), the NCOIC of physical therapy. Physical therapy has been a high demand career field for decades. | Source

Top 10 Job Listings for Good Jobs

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

  1. Physicians: Several specialties have listings.
  2. Nurses – RNs, LPNs, LVNs - Healthcare. These positions require anywhere from 1 year to 4-years of training beyond 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 certification 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 ARRA Stimulus Package of 2009 was 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.

Odessa was third on the "increases" list with a 5% increase in construction related jobs before the 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 completed, creating additional construction, management, and criminal science jobs.

The City of Odessa also received $3.9 million to use for improving transportation. That money purchased a dozen new city buses, support vehicles, support equipment, fare collection equipment, new route signs, new bus shelters, and communications equipment; it also paid for preventive maintenance.

Stonehenge replica on the campus of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa
Stonehenge replica on the campus of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Odessa | Source

Higher Education for Good Jobs

  1. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin - Provides curricula for earth sciences degrees and occupations near the classic petroleum basin. Dozens of undergraduate majors include Environmental Science, so important in the 21st Century; Leadership Studies, vital as well; and others. Ten graduate fields are also provided.
  2. American Commercial College
  3. Odessa College
  4. Southeastern Career Institute in nearby Midland.
  5. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - Permian Basin Campus

Teaching Hospitals and Healthcare Services

  • Medical Center Hospital
  • Ronald McDonald Mobile Care from Medical Center Hospital

    Medical clinic on wheels, the Care Mobile brings medical care and health information into local neighborhoods with unmet healthcare needs for district students, siblings and their minor children up to age 18. 31st unit in the nation, third in Texas!

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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