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Avoid Ivy League Schools. Think Oil League…

In years past, it was assumed that a graduate with an Ivy League degree was assured a lucrative job and a promising future where they would easily payoff any accrued student loans in short order.

Those days are past. Ivy League grads face a tough and uncertain job market, just like their state school peers.

If I had a child headed off to college and looking for a lucrative career, I would steer them toward the Oil or Mining schools instead of the Ivy League.

Shale operators are having a lot of trouble finding workers, particularly engineers and geologists, according to a workforce survey by the Marcellus Shale Coalition. Most of the respondents in the poll cited a need for more schools to offer four-year degree programs in petroleum technology and engineering.

So what schools are in the Oil League? (One hint, they are nowhere near Harvard.) Here are few noted schools offering petroleum engineering degrees and as you can see, most are in the west.

US Petroleum Engineering Programs




University of Texas at Austin



Texas A&M

College Station


Colorado School of Mines



Stanford University



New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology


New Mexico

University of Southern California

Los Angeles


University of Oklahoma



Texas Tech



University of Louisiana at Lafayette



University of Alaska



While the arms race among universities focuses on the addition of new programs in Law, Nursing, and Pharmacy, they might have more success by adding new petroleum related programs.

Instead of starting or expanding programs focused on alternative energy sources and environmental sciences, there are a lot of opportunities in fracking, geology, and other area of natural gas and oil drilling for young graduates.

Operators in the oil and gas industry are continually trying to fill positions in engineering and construction which represent a golden opportunity for young graduates looking for a promising career in a difficult employment market and for administrators looking for new degree programs.

Americans Support Fracking and the Keystone Pipeline

Keystone Pipeline

Gauging public opinion based on what you hear and see in the news or emanating from Hollywood is always a dicey proposition. Oil pipelines and fracking are just the latest examples of how the media are often out of sync with most consumers.

While the media and Hollywood oppose expansion of fracking and the Keystone pipeline, U.S. consumers solidly support both issues.

The Robert Morris University Polling Institute found that more than half (56%) of Americans favor hydraulic fracturing even in their own community. It’s one thing to support fracking in someone else’s backyard, it’s quite another when your support it in your own community.

The lingering sluggish of the economy has taken a toll on middle income Americans and fuel costs are as important to this group as food and shelter costs. The promise of cheaper oil and natural gas is a huge selling point to struggling consumers.

Most Americans also support building more pipelines.

In a survey commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, 8 in 10 Americans are in favor of building new pipelines and other energy infrastructure. The survey also found that 7 in 10 respondents back the Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

When it comes to pocketbook issues like fuel costs, most consumers will support initiatives that would put more of their money back into their pocket, especially in an economy this tight. Opposition to fracking and Keystone are both losing propositions.