Schools for Oil Careers

Students who want to prepare for a career in the oil industry have many options, from technical and trade schools, to four-year universities, to online programs. While the quality of the curriculum may vary, each type of program has both advantages and disadvantages.

Most vocational schools offer associate’s degrees. Because many of these graduates go on to study at another college, it is important that the trade school is accredited or else the course credits will not count toward a bachelor’s or higher-level degree. When the trade school is not accredited, students are often forced to repeat some of the same coursework at the new school, wasting both time and money.

Colleges tend to be smaller than universities and to offer general degrees such as liberal arts or business—but again, it is vital that they are accredited. Most public and private colleges offer associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, but many also have graduate programs for master’s degrees and doctorates. Universities typically contain various colleges, such as a College of Business, College of Sciences, and College of Humanities.

Choosing a School

It is important for students to find the right educational programs to meet their needs. First, they need to decide what type of degree is needed for the type of career they plan to pursue, whether in the oil industry or another field. They should ask themselves how much time they have to study and whether they will need to work part or full time while in school. For example, working students will need to find a university that offers plenty of evening and weekend classes. Second, students need to find out how much the degree program will cost in terms of not only tuition but also incidentals like books, parking, or transportation. It is helpful to visit the financial aid office to learn about financial aid programs and the application process. Third, students must consider where they will live while attending school: Can they share housing with friends? Or, to save money, perhaps they might consider living at home with their parents. If they wish to attend a school in another state, they need to investigate whether the tuition is lower for residents and plan accordingly, perhaps establishing residency there first.

Whenever possible, it is important for students to visit their new campus to get a feel for the school environment. Another good idea is to ask friends and family members about the schools they attended and get their feedback and perspective. High school students can turn to their guidance counselor for recommendations as well as details like the size of the student population or the teacher-student ratio. Students can also find much of this information on the school’s Web site.

These Web sites also provide descriptions of course offerings and degree requirements, thereby allowing students to ensure that the courses they need are available. Still other Web sites offer ratings and critiques on specific courses, as well as different types of programs and their offerings. Students interested in online or distance learning should obtain feedback from friends who have taken online courses as well as check Internet reviews.

Schools for Oil Careers

Tips for Applying

Many schools now allow applicant to complete much of the application online, up to and including paying fees by credit card. For example, Texas has a single Web site (www.applytexas.org) that enables each person to apply to one or more schools in the state. Some sites also provide an option to print the forms and then submit them.

First, prospective students must carefully review the application and gather the necessary information to complete it, such as dates when any diplomas or degrees were earned and their employment history. Although some questions seem obvious, applicants must fill out the forms accurately and completely. Many colleges require applicants to submit an admissions essay on a specific topic. If this is the case, applicants must read the question and make sure they properly address it. Topics might relate to which type of oil career appeals to you or why you are interested in the oil industry. If the question pertains to why students wish to attend this particular school, then they need to research the school. In either case, students should check their spelling and grammar and avoid using slang, abbreviations, or the shorthand often used in texting or e-mail.

Before submitting their application, people must review each and every part of it and perhaps solicit a second set of eyes, such as that of a parent or friend. When applying online, people often have the option of saving the application and reviewing it again the next day before the final submission.

School Accreditation

The most important piece of information applicants should find out before applying to any school is whether it is accredited by a recognized agency. Accreditation simply means that an agency that establishes standards for a quality education has reviewed the curriculum, instruction, and other programs to ensure that they provide an appropriate level of education. Such accreditation is especially important when pursuing an oil career.

However, even if a school is accredited, sometimes the accreditation may not mean much. Some organizations provide accreditation for schools that are known as “diploma mills,” or schools that provide diplomas without providing a proper education. The United States Department of Education (USDE) recognizes approved accrediting organizations and provides a comprehensive list at www2.ed.gov/admins. When prospective students consider online programs, they should make sure that the accreditation claimed by the school is recognized by the USDE .

USDE recognition is critical for students who need financial aid in order to attend school, as federal programs will not pay for programs at unaccredited schools. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a voluntary self-regulatory organization that reviews and recognizes accreditation agencies that meet quality standards related not only to the education itself but also the school’s administration, recruitment, and admissions practices. Applicants are advised to check the CHEA database (www.chea.org) to ensure that a particular accreditation agency is reliable.

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