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Petroleum Technology Program provides hands-on learning in Graham

by Julianne Murrah, NCTC Graham Campus | Jan 13, 2015 <p> </p>
North Central Texas College is beginning its third year of offering a full schedule of Petroleum Technology classes at its Graham Campus.

"The coursework focuses on basic knowledge and skills specific to the oil and gas industry as well as computer and communication skills, and teamwork," said Malea Clarke, head of the Graham Petroleum Technology Program. "The program includes courses on drilling, oil and gas production, well completion, oilfield safety, gas processing, electricity, hydraulics, construction, instrumentation and others. Our goal is not to train the students as experts in any specific area, but to provide them with basic knowledge and skills related to common oilfield processes and equipment to prepare them for work in a variety of areas of the industry. "

The campus features two Petroleum Technology labs that expose students to common oilfield equipment and tools, enabling them to learn various skills valuable in the industry. The Petroleum Technology Program is unique in that it brings in students not only from Graham, but from neighboring communities including Jacksboro, Bryson, Newcastle, Olney and even a few international students.

"We've received very positive feedback from our students about the opportunities to get hands-on experience with a variety of equipment and tools," Clarke said, adding that nearly 50 percent of the program's coursework involves hands-on activities. "We have an outdoor lab set up as a production site and an indoor lab with a variety of training equipment including actual tools used in the industry and simulations that demonstrate key concepts in the industry.

The program also features guest speakers from the industry who share experiences with students and provide first-hand descriptions of work in different jobs in the oil and gas industry.

Additionally, class field trips expose students to actual oil and gas equipment. During the fall semester, students visited production sites to observe common production equipment in operation and a well work-over. They also visited a local oilfield supply store which helped students to get better acquainted with the wide variety of supplies that are used in the industry.

"In the spring, when we teach the Drilling class, there is usually an opportunity to visit a drilling operation," Clarke said.

The college offers a one-year certificate and a two-year associate degree in Petroleum Technology which offers the possibility of going on to complete a four-year degree with only two additional years of college. NCTC has an agreement with the University of North Texas in Denton that allows students who complete NCTC's two-year Petroleum Technology degree to use those courses as the first two years in the bachelor of applied arts and sciences program at UNT.

"A student who completes NCTC's two year degree can go on to UNT and complete a 4-year degree in only two more years," Clarke said. "One of the BAAS options can be completed almost entirely online."

Registration is open for Spring semester. Classes start Tuesday, January 20. Petroleum Technology classes will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays during the Spring semester. Day courses will be offered from 11 a.m. to 5:20 p.m., and night courses will begin at 6 p.m.
For more information about the program, contact Clarke at 940-521-0720, visit the campus at 928 Cherry Street, or visit http://www.nctc.edu/PetroleumTechnologyHome.aspx.

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Petroleum Technology students, from left, Tyler Mays, Tanya Lewis, Donavan Sylva, Lance Carson and Daikon Blaylock, learn about common oilfield equipment and tools with hands-on activities in NCTC Petroleum Technology Program. (Photo courtesy of Malea Clarke, NCTC)