How to Become an Oil Industry Systems Technologist

Learn how to become an oil industry systems technologist. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in oil industry systems technology. View article »

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  • 0:03 Oil Industry Systems…
  • 0:35 Career Requirements
  • 0:57 Career Steps

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Video Transcript

Oil Industry Systems Technologists

Oil industry systems technologists, also known as process control technologists, analyze and implement various types of programs, systems, and technologies within the oil or bio-fuels industries. They work outside in all types of weather, often in remote locations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual salary of $55,610 for geological andr petroleum technicians in May 2015.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Many employers seek those who have completed several years of postsecondary training or an associate's degree in a related field
Training Some skills can be learned on the job
Key Skills Mechanical inclination and familiarity with some tools, ability to work out of doors (sometimes in remote places), computer knowledge

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (May, 2014)

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Career Steps

Let's see what steps you'll need to follow to become an oil industry systems technologist.

Step One: Gain Basic Computer, Science and Math Knowledge

As early as high school, students can become proficient in areas that will aid them in pursuing a career in the oil industry. Chemistry, physics, math, and computer skills will serve them well. Knowledge of various tools and being mechanically inclined are also big pluses. Students who enjoy being outdoors and have good communication skills may be well suited for this career.

Step Two: Earn a Degree or Certificate

Many community colleges and technical schools offer associate's degree and certificate programs in process technology. These programs typically take two years to complete and include coursework in process equipment, instrumentation, and physics. Many schools partner with local oil processing plants and offer internship or co-op programs for students who are in the final semesters of their education programs. In addition, some oil or petroleum companies offer scholarships for students that qualify.

Step Three: Take the PTEX-CR Exam

The Process Technology Examination for Chemical and Refining (PTEX-CR) offered by the Center for the Advancement of Process Technology (CAPT) is a voluntary skills assessment exam. The PTEX-CR exam ensures employers that newly hired technologists have been sufficiently trained in the various aspects of process technology, such as operations, industrial processes, safety, health, instrumentation and unit operations. Many schools offer CAPT-approved degree programs that focus on preparing students for the PTEX-CR exam. Students can also take the exams and find study aids via the CAPT website.

Step Four: Obtain Employment

Many colleges and technical schools may offer job placement services to graduates of their programs. Given the geographical nature of the oil industry, certain states have more employment opportunities than others. Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Louisiana are the largest areas of employment but the future is bright for energy-related careers everywhere. New technologies, especially 'fracking' (hydraulic fracturing) are opening vast new supplies of energy resources and job opportunities in many other areas of the country.

Step Five: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A technologist seeking career advancement might pursue a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering. Earning a bachelor's degree is often required in order to become a professional engineer.

To become an oil industry systems technologist, you'll need some basic math, science, and computer skills, and should earn at least an associate's degree.

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