Lincoln Trail College Announces New Fracking Degree Program

Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois announced the development of the new Associate in Applied Science Degree in Petroleum Drilling Technology program that will make its debut at the start of the Fall 2015 semester.

A degree of this nature comes at a good time for those interested in the energy market, especially with fracking making its way to Illinois in the not so distant future. Students will garner the educational experience needed to become employed in the field in many areas like “planning, development and operation of oil and natural gas extraction and processing facilities.”

All of these job skills are expected to be learned throughout the degree program’s required credit hours focusing on courses geared towards the oil and gas arena. Students enrolled in the program will be required to participate in a capstone project, which will be used as a way to to ensure that they are prepared for a job in the petroleum industry.

“We work hard to adapt to the needs of our local industries. Through the years, we’ve added programs and classes to help make sure our students can get good jobs and to help make sure our local businesses can find the skilled people they need to fill those jobs,” LTC President Kathryn Harris said on the school’s website.

So, what exactly is fracking?

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, first made it’s way into the modern day energy world around June of 1998 as a way to retrieve natural gas and oil from shale rock. The process of fracking involves multiple steps starting off with drilling into shale rock. The drilling is followed by the rock being sprayed with a mixture of water and chemicals with loads of pressure behind it, which is necessary to free the natural gas lurking beneath. In order to keep the gas flowing, more water, chemicals and even some sand are forced into the shale rock with a good bit of pressure.

Fracking may be done vertically, but is frequently done by way of horizontal drilling to break the layer of shale rock. So, when the process is completed, frackers have either made new pathways for the natural gas to be released or pathways that have previously been drilled can be extended.

There has been some question over as to how safe fracking really is. There have been concerns raised over the negative impact it may have on the environment as the amount of water used is high, possible leakage of carcinogenic chemicals, contamination of some ground water and the occasional earthquakes caused.

Despite the controversy surrounding the method of extracting natural gas and oil, the amount of jobs in the fracking arena are growing according to the information provided on the press release from Lincoln Trail College.

The release says, “The extraction field is expected to grow over the next several years according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The IDES predicts an increase of 23.2% for oil and gas roustabouts, 23.6% for oil and gas rotary drill operators and 24.1% for oil and gas derrick operators through 2022.”

Harris also says, “Fracking is coming to Illinois soon, and that will mean good jobs. This program will help people get skills they need to find jobs in the field.”

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