Appalachian Basin

Gas and Oil Associate Degree Students Already Getting Utica Shale Jobs

It is a testament to the tremendous growth the oil and gas industry is experiencing in the Appalachian region that some of Zane State College’s Oil and Gas Engineering Technology students are being hired with the knowledge they have gained in the program prior to graduating.

Energy in Depth had a chance to discuss these opportunities with  Paul Paslay, an instructor for the Oil and Gas Engineering Technology Associate of Science program. Already, Mr. Paslay is seeing the training pay dividends for his students.

Of course, it’s best if students complete the program, but the demand for trained employees is definitely there. We’ve had a couple of students get jobs as compressor operators. That’s going to be huge.—Paul Paslay, Instructor, Zane State College Oil and Gas Engineering Technology

In addition to compressor operators, Paslay anticipates that graduates will find work in many related fields. For example, he said well tenders will maintain large numbers of regional wells. There will also be demand for mud loggers. Paslay explained a mud logger visits a well site and writes a geological description of the soil the drill extracts.

He added that one year training certificates for oil field lease operators and compressor operators is also under consideration.

Many graduates may end up in entry level jobs, but they will move up the ladder quickly because they have experience.-Paul Paslay

The program offers internships for students to gain experience in a chosen field. These experiences will vary depending upon the students’ and employers’ needs, but may be three months during the summer or part-time during the school year.

The program is in its second year, and its first class will graduate in May. The Zane State College training prepares students for careers with major and independent oil and gas, field equipment, and well service companies, consulting firms, and state and federal agencies.

The program also offers class credit to experienced gas and oil workers who are looking to enhance their career knowledge. Many of our students are already veterans of the oil field. Real world experience usually counts for something. In most cases, students can be awarded credit for their work experience.– George Hicks, Dean of Business and Engineering Technologies

Paslay said the current class of about 36 students includes many older students who have been in the workforce and are seeking new careers, but he hopes to target the program to high school students, ready to take advantage of the regional gas and oil development. Paslay added that graduates can also take the two year degree to four year college to further their education.

As shale development continues to grow across eastern Ohio, the demand for skilled labor is growing with it.  Zane State and other institutions around the state are providing the industry with the necessary workforce to ensure the Utica Shale is developed to its full potential and provides Ohioans with well-deserved economic benefits.

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