Since the peak of employment in the domestic oil and gas industry in 1982, employment in this industry has declined by 51% from 708,000 to 345,000 workers in 2007. Prices for oil and natural gas have generally increased since 2000 with increasing worldwide demand. While the state of hiring for professionals and engineers is well known, there has also been a critical shortage of qualified field personnel who drill for and extract the oil and gas. In some regions this has led to limits on the growth of domestic drilling and production. Safety and environmental records have also been impacted due to the lack of experienced operators and well trained new hires. Additionally, the level of skills required for field personnel has increased due to technological advances in the oil and gas industry.
To address this need there has been an effort by some two year post secondary institutions to develop programs that will lead to well prepared entry level employees. The following paper will discuss curriculum development for a two year program offered through a community college. The program was designed such that graduates would have a broad background suitable for many facets of field work in the oil and gas industry.