Despite economy, Petroleum Technology program continues to thrive

by Darin Allred | Jan 06, 2016

The oil and gas industry in the United States has suffered in recent months, but many experts are predicting a recovery within the next year, meaning companies will be looking for highly-skilled workers.

North Central Texas College's Petroleum Technology program has been training workers for high-paying careers for several years. The Petroleum Technology program covers the fundamentals of the petroleum industry with emphasis on technical knowledge, hands-on skills, teamwork, and computer skills.

Despite the downturn in the industry due to low oil prices, NCTC Petroleum Technology Department Chairman Malea Clarke says students are still eager to get a degree in this exciting field.

"The oil and gas industry is cyclical in nature and we are confident that the industry will bounce back from this downturn as it has in the past," Clarke said. "Many of our students believe this is an ideal time to be completing a Petroleum Technology degree in order to be prepared when the oil and gas economy improves and hiring picks up."

Students come from all over North Texas to take classes in Petroleum Technology at NCTC's Bowie campus, some driving up to two hours. NCTC has designed their class schedule in this program to accommodate commuters. Students can complete six courses each semester and only come to campus two days a week.

Since the inception of the Petroleum Technology program at NCTC, students have benefitted from the hands-on training they receive, turning that training and their degree into high-paying jobs.

"We've had students that have gone to work with Chevron and started at $20 per hour, then went through their training program and got a raise after about six months," Clarke said. "Students have gone out and become a salesman and are making around $80,000 a year after just a few years. Some have become safety coordinators, which is a job where you don't have to do a lot of manual labor but it pays as well as many of the standard jobs that people think about like drilling."

And the jobs are not just in Texas. Students who graduate from the NCTC program have received job offers in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Alaska, among others.

NCTC offers both a Certificate and an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree (AAS) in Petroleum Technology. Additionally, students who complete the AAS Degree at NCTC have the option of transferring those credits into the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) Program at the University of North Texas in Denton, and completing a 4-year BAAS degree with only two more years of school. One of the BAAS degree options is almost entirely online.

Petroleum Technology classes begin Jan. 19 at the NCTC Bowie campus. Registration is currently underway. For more information about the program, contact Malea Clarke by email at or by phone at 940-872-4002.

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