New oil-gas certificate prepares UTSA students to enter booming industry

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(Jan. 17, 2014) -- In response to the overwhelming need for trained engineers to work for oil and gas companies exploring the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas and the Cline Shale in West Texas, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Engineering now offers an Oil/Gas Certificate for current undergraduate students.

Offered through the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Oil/Gas Certificate is designed to prepare mechanical engineering degree-seeking students with the fundamental engineering knowledge necessary to have a career in the oil and gas industry.

"This certificate will signal to employers that graduates of this program have received top-tier training and exposure to the real-world engineering challenges encountered in the oil and gas industry," said Harry Millwater, chair of the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Both UTSA mechanical engineering faculty members and local industry professionals are teaching the certificate courses.

Lyle Fouts, design engineer at Zachry Engineering Corp., taught Pressure Vessel and Piping Design at UTSA this fall.

"I believe that it is very significant for UTSA to offer this type of certificate for its students. UTSA is producing high caliber engineers," said Fouts. "This certificate program will be an additional incentive for companies like Zachry to hire graduates who have the certificate because they will have an industry edge over others."

To earn the Oil/Gas Certificate, UTSA students must complete 15 credit hours of course work, which includes required courses in Measurements and Instrumentation as well as Machine Element Design, and three electives, which could include Oil and Gas Engineering and Reservoir Geomechanics, Pressure Vessel and Piping Design, Separations Processes or Mechanical Vibration.

According to a recently released economic impact study by the UTSA Institute for Economic Development, the 16-county region of West Texas impacted by the Cline Shale supported 21,450 full-time jobs in 2012 for workers in oil and gas, drilling, support operations, pipeline construction, refineries and petrochemicals. In a study released in March 2013, the 20-county South Texas region impacted by the Eagle Ford Shale supported 116,000 jobs in 2012.

Halliburton, Valero and Exxon are among the companies that have hired UTSA students based on their achievement in college. Additionally, the College of Engineering hosts a Texas Energy Expo career fair each semester to introduce the region's leading energy companies to UTSA's high-caliber students.

>> Learn more about the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering.