BY Amanda Sotelo

Richard Ruiz, a Biomedical Equipment Technology student at Texas State Technical College is expected to graduate next month with his associate degree, but already finds himself working in the field.

“It all happened so quickly,” he said. “I was only looking for an internship, but ended up with so much more.”

The La Feria native is completing his internship work and has a permanent position at XOtech, LLC, a Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business federal contracting company in Utah that focuses on providing services to the Department of Defense.

The 28-year-old is contracted by the Medical Equipment Concentration Site 88th area as a Biomedical Electronic Technician 1 overseeing the maintenance and repair of medical equipment in the healthcare setting.

“I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity,” said Ruiz. “This is a huge stepping stone for me.”

Prior to pursuing a career path in Biomedical Equipment Technology, Ruiz enrolled at TSTC as a Dental Hygiene student, but realized it was not the path he wanted to follow.

So, he applied to TSTC’s Vocational Nursing program and unfortunately did not get accepted.

“I’ve always loved the medical field and anatomy and physiology, but I was lost,” he said. “I had no idea what to do.”

Ruiz ended up taking a summer semester off to work and earn money, and then stayed out longer than expected.

“I lost momentum and enjoyed the money I was making, but when my fiancé and I learned we were expecting a baby everything shifted,” he said.

The jobs he was working at places such as Peter Piper Pizza, Dollar General and in the oil field suddenly were not enough for Ruiz.

“I needed to do more for my family and I knew I could only do that with an education. And that’s when I found TSTC’s biomed program. I immediately fell in love,” he said.

He credits God and all of the instructors in the Biomedical Equipment Technology program for his success and doubled income.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without God, TSTC and the training I have received,” he said. “Everything got me ready for something amazing.”

Ray Longoria, TSTC Biomedical Equipment Technology instructor, said he was not surprised when he learned about Ruiz’s placement.

“Richard is an excellent student always demonstrating great initiative, leadership and teamwork,” said Longoria. “He has a bright future and I see him becoming a lead technician and even opening his own business one day.”

Longoria said when students like Ruiz move on, which they rightfully should, it’s a bittersweet moment.

“Ruiz did so much for us. He always helped other students, helped us around the lab and even with recruiting,” he said. “We’re so proud of him, but we’re going to miss him.”

Students like Ruiz get extensive hands-on training during their time in the program with the latest technology and equipment being used in the healthcare field.

The program currently works closely with TSTC’s Allied Health and Emergency Medical Technician departments, Culture of Life Ministries’ free health clinic, Loaves and Fishes and Ace Medical, maintaining and repairing their medical equipment.

As for Ruiz, who now lives in Utah with his family, he said it is this training that prepared him for his new career and gave him the confidence to pursue it and dream big.

Ruiz hopes to one day open his own biomedical business.

For more information on Biomedical Equipment Technology at TSTC’s Harlingen and Waco campuses, visit tstc.edu.

Registration for Summer and Fall 2018 begins April 2.