University Relations and Communications

Cross-state connections allows added lab exposure for MSU Billings COT rad-tech students

September 15, 2010



Mick Ender, COT Radiological Technology Program, 247-3086,
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Radiologic technician students at Montana State University Billings spend a lot of time learning about exposure, equal parts science and experience.


Mick Ender with new radiology equipment at the MSU Billings COT

This fall, thanks to connections with Benefis Health Systems in Great Falls, rad-tech students at the MSU Billings College of Technology have exposure to an additional lab.


A Phillips X-ray machine and table now occupy a second lab space on the second floor of the COT’s Health Sciences Building. It will give the 14 students in the program the opportunity to train on both digital and analog equipment used in health care facilities across the state and region.


The new X-ray equipment is occupying a room that was waiting for the right equipment, said Mick Ender, the director of the popular two-year program at the COT.


Through his contacts at Benefis, Ender was able to get equipment worth about $20,000 for the cost of having it disconnected and moved to Billings and then reinstalled. For a little more than $9,000, the program virtually doubled its available lab space.


“I basically considered this two-thirds done without that room,” Ender said, standing in the lab area on the south end of the Health Sciences Building.


The new lab gives Ender and his students the ability to put textbook theory into practice. The rad-tech program has a healthy dose of classroom lecture combined with about three hours of required lab work. Before the arrival of the new machine, students either had to wait in line or bargain for time.


Now, students can team up and work in both labs, making their education time more efficient. And because the machine is essentially the same as those used in emergency rooms in hospitals across Montana, students can learn on the same equipment they would use in the work world.


“The electronics in this equipment is basically state-of-the-art,” Ender said.


The radiologic technology program at the COT is one of six options for students in the Nursing and Health Occupations area at the college. Students can also pursued degrees that lead to good-paying jobs in areas such as:

  • Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse
  • Medical Coding and Insurance Billing
  • Paramedic
  • Surgical Technology
  • Medical Administrative Assistant

For more information on the COT programs, call 247-3000 or go to:


PHOTO ABOVE: Mick Ender, director of Radiologic Technology program at the MSU Billings College of Technology, stands with the new X-ray machine at the college’s lab area. Through Ender’s connections with Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls, the college was able to get the equipment disassembled and re-installed. The COT program now has two X-ray labs in the Health Sciences Building at the campus.