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How Do I Become a Drilling Engineer?

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  • Written By: Whitney Leigh White
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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If you decide to become a drilling engineer, you will work within the petroleum industry and carry out a multitude of job duties. These duties include planning and managing drilling operations, as well as ensuring that any oil extractions are completed in a safe and efficient manner, and more. In order to gain employment in this industry, you must meet certain post-secondary educational requirements, obtain on-the-job training and experience, and possess certain skills. In addition, most employers will require you to obtain certification as a drilling engineer.

The standard educational requirement mandated by employers to become a drilling engineer is a bachelor’s degree in engineering. When your engineering degree has a concentration in mineral, chemical, or structural engineering, or other areas, you increase your chances at acquiring a good drilling engineer job position. If you are looking to work as a drilling engineer who does not offer services to the public, most times, you will not have to acquire an engineering license.

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Courses within engineering degrees include advanced mathematics, sciences, and well testing, as well as geo-statistics. Through these courses, you will learn how to apply the knowledge gained to important issues occurring within the petroleum industry. Most engineering degree programs also requires a student to complete laboratories and internships. Skills needed to become a drilling engineer include being computer literate and having good communication abilities, as well as being good with numbers and having analytical skills. If you plan on working as a drilling engineer in areas of the world other than your home country, you will also benefit from learning other languages.

Internships are very advantageous, as they provide you with on-the-job training and experience. One of the best types of internships to obtain is working for an onshore drilling operation as a research assistant. Starting internships and gaining experience as quickly as possible is very beneficial as many employers will require you to have five years of experience in order to obtain a drilling engineer job position. Some employers will require you to hold a master’s degree in engineering in addition to experience.

After you become a drilling engineer and gain at least four years of experience, you should consider obtaining certification. The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) offers drilling engineer certification, but you must have a good track record of ethical job performance in addition to a bachelor’s degree and experience. If you meet these qualifications, you can gain membership to the organization and pass an exam to earn certification.

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