A person who wants to become a mud engineer at oil and gas drilling sites might work up through the ranks or go to college for a degree in this field. These oil and gas workers control the drilling fluid, also known as mud, that plays a key role in the drilling process. Both career paths can take four years or more to complete. People who are considering this career might want to look at current job openings to see what kinds of qualifications employers want, because this can help them decide which course they want to pursue to work as a mud engineer.
The first option is to start out on oil and gas sites in entry-level positions, working up to a job on the mud logging team that tracks the use of mud. With experience in this area, a staff member who wants to become a mud engineer can start to learn about the different kinds of mud, their characteristics and how to adjust them to meet the specific needs of a work site. More time on the job can lead to increased autonomy and might allow the worker to take over a mud engineer position when it becomes available.
Mud engineers also might be college-educated. An undergraduate degree in a field related to oil and gas engineering generally is necessary, although employers might accept graduates who have chemistry degrees as well. In college, students have an opportunity to learn about the complex chemistry and geology at play on oil and gas fields. They can use this information to make decisions about the most appropriate mud formulation to use on the job.
While in school to become a mud engineer, it might be helpful to seek internships within the oil and gas industry. Summer jobs can provide valuable experience along with professional connections. Some companies might extend offers of employment to people who have worked as interns in the past or could pay more attention to job applications from people who have internship experience on their sites.
Some employers preferentially hire people who have graduate degrees. Someone who wants to become a mud engineer might want to consider earning a master's degree or higher degree to have access to some mud engineer jobs. Supervisors and managers of a district or region often have advanced degrees along with extensive industry experience. Some engineers start with small companies, top out at the ranks there, then transition to larger companies that usually look for personnel who have more experience.