Posted at: 09/04/2013 5:53 PM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Oil and gas production is a way of life in the Four Corners and other parts of the state.
Now, two New Mexico colleges are offering a degree program to help more students develop their careers.
San Juan College and New Mexico Highlands University have teamed up to offer the first bachelor's program in oil and gas management.
"We believe it one of the first degrees of its kind in the United States,” said Randy Pacheco, Dean of the School of Energy at San Juan College.
The schools have been designing this program for about a year.
Officials at San Juan College say this is an opportunity for people who work in the field to take their career to the next level from field work to management.
"I think when they're searching for bachelor’s degree they want something specific for their industry something they can really relate to that they can use in their everyday job," said Pacheco.
Students at the School of Energy said they’re excited about the new program.
Matthew Burt wants to take what he's learned in natural gas compression a step further.
"In order to someday be an expert, I really need to learn all the basics and that's critical in this course," he said.
Cody Watson hopes this new degree will help him and other students develop their careers in the four corners.
"Oil and gas is the lifeblood of San Juan Basin so if we can put students out there with a good knowledge base then they can develop themselves better as employees," Watson said.
Highlands University says the program is all online and they are already seeing a lot of interest. They expect to have 20 to 30 bachelor's and master's students enrolled in the spring.