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How Do I Become a Pipeline Engineer?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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The three main steps you need to take in order to become a pipeline engineer are to earn a four-year degree, obtain relevant work experience, and then become licensed by the local regulatory agency. Your degree will need to be a bachelor's of science (BS), though you can generally pick which engineering specialty you prefer. Depending on your particular interests, you may want to focus on petroleum, mechanical or even electrical engineering. You will then need to pass an initial licensing exam and work as an intern for a certain amount of time. After you have gained the necessary work experience, you may become a pipeline engineer by passing a final licensing exam.

Pipeline engineers are largely employed by the gas and oil industry and typically work out of corporate headquarters, though they are sometimes also required to travel to work sites. They are responsible for the planning, design and implementation of gas and oil pipeline networks. Since these pipelines exist all over the world, there are many different types of pipeline engineers. You may choose to specialize in corrosion controls, subsea engineering or even facility design.

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Obtaining a four-year degree is the first step you will take to become a pipeline engineer. If you have not yet graduated from high school, you may want to focus on math and science classes in addition to fulfilling other college prerequisites such as foreign language courses. Your bachelor's degree will need to be in one of the engineering fields, though you do have some latitude here to choose a specialty. The specific degree you earn may affect your job prospects in the future, though you should be able to become a pipeline engineer with a specialty in mechanical, petroleum or structural engineering.

After you obtain the necessary degree, you will typically also need to be licensed before you can become a pipeline engineer. Local agencies are usually responsible for this process, such as provincial authorities in Canada and state governments in the United States. The process in the United States consists of two separate components, and you will first need to pass a fundamentalism of engineering (FE) exam to become an engineer in training (EIT) or engineering intern (EI). You will then need to find work as an engineering intern before you can become eligible to take another exam in practical engineering (PE). After you pass this exam, you will be able to work as a fully licensed pipeline engineer.

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