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Correction to my academic plan to become a Drilling engineer

  1. Dec 8, 2013 #1
    I am currently a transfer student doing a BA in physics and two minors in business. At this time I cannot change my major unless it is advisable to go back and complete a BS in physics instead of completing a BA. I want to be able to secure my chances of landing a entry level Drilling engineering job when I graduate. Unfortunately my school doesn't have a petroleum engineering program so there are no advisors I can go to which is why I created this thread. To those of you in the forum who know how I should change my academic plan to best fulfill the needs of employers please respond back to this thread. In particular some questions I have are:
    1.) Should I change my major back to a BS?
    2.) Would a FE License help me get an entry level job or should just focus on completing the major?
    3.) Besides internships, what else would I need to do to secure employment?
    4.) If I successfully pass the FE Exam for Drilling Engineering after completing my B.A Physics and two minors in business, would this alone secure a job for me? In other words would a FE license alone be enough for me to get a job as a Drilling Engineer job regardless of my academic background?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2013 #2
    Mechanical is probably the best discipline to study if you want to go into drilling. But it's pretty unlikely that you'll go straight into drilling; you'll probably have to spend some time with a services company like Schlumberger or Halliburton becoming a specialist in a certain area, e.g. cementing, wireline, whatever, before you make the transition to a drilling engineer.
  4. Dec 9, 2013 #3
    Well I cant change into mechanical unfortunately, would I need to complete a BS instead of a BA?
  5. Dec 9, 2013 #4

    D H

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    Switching from a BA in physics to a BS in physics is not going to help. Your degree will still say physics, not petroleum engineering.
  6. Dec 9, 2013 #5
    What about the FE license? how will this change my approach to the industry? Can I even take this exam by having a BA in physics?
  7. Dec 10, 2013 #6

    D H

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    First off, what's the difference between the arts baccalaureate‎ versus the sciences at your school? Why do you think switching would make a difference? If neither program is ABET-accredited you have an uphill battle either way.

    You may not even be able to take the FE test with your physics degree. Some states let anyone take the FE test, other states only let those who graduated from ABET-accredited programs take the test, yet others are somewhere between these two extremes. You need to check how engineer certification works in your state.

    Even if you do take and pass the test, what makes you think this is a good approach to attaining your goal? Prospective employers in this field are going to prefer to hire engineers. Your physics degree will have you studying subjects such as quantum mechanics and E&M that are largely irrelevant to petroleum engineering.

    You said your school does not have a petroleum engineering program. Does it offer degrees in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science, or geology? Those are much closer to petroleum engineering than is your physics degree.

    We get these "I am majoring in ABC but I want to be an XYZ" kinds of questions with great regularity at this site. Changing degrees at the undergraduate level might cost you an extra year or so. Correcting the mismatch after graduating will cost even more time. The sooner you can correct the mismatch, the better.
  8. Dec 10, 2013 #7
    Thank you for your response. To change my major to Mechanical Engineering at this point would be a waste of time. I am two semesters away from graduating, I could however go to graduate school and study drilling engineering there, what do you think about this plan?
  9. Dec 10, 2013 #8
    Considering your goals, it seems more like spending two more semesters on physics at this point would be a waste of time...
  10. Dec 10, 2013 #9

    D H

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    I think you are mistaken. No matter how you cut it, you are going to have to fill in some gaps in your education so that you can be employable as a drilling engineer. What is a waste of time is continuing to take classes in physics when you now know that physics is not what you want to do.

    When you say you are two semesters away from graduating, I'm assuming you mean you are graduating a year from now. You can switch majors now (spring semester) and graduate in three or four semesters with a much more applicable degree. You'll have wasted just one or two semesters pursuing that physics degree and you will be employable right out of college. Many employers will assist you getting a masters degree once you are employed. They will not assist you before you get the job.

    Your new plan is to finish your physics undergraduate program and then go to grad school to study petroleum engineering. Your physics degree is a year away, you'll have to take at least two solid semesters of catch-up classes to qualify for a petroleum engineering masters program, and then you'll have to spend another two years in school to get that masters degree. That's five more years of school, and you are the one who is going to have to pay for the tuition for those five years.

    It's best to rectify these "I chose the wrong degree program" problems sooner rather than later. Don't put it off.
  11. Dec 10, 2013 #10
    I see your valid point. I will have to look into changing my major then. God I wish I could go back in time did what my instincts had told me, DON'T GO TO COLLEGE FRESH OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!!! But on another note, just out of curiosity what jobs are out there in the petroleum industry for physics majors that is similar to the work of a drilling engineer?
  12. Dec 10, 2013 #11
    How far along are you, junior or senior?
  13. Dec 10, 2013 #12
  14. Dec 13, 2013 #13
    Probably too late to change majors but you could still pick up a minor in engineering. Not sure what possessed you to go with physics over engineering in the first place.
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