Today's complex oil and gas industry and the increased workload caused by strains on the talent base leave little room for error in ensuring the technical competence of the workforce. And while the US, the UK, and some other countries have registration programs for engineers, many countries do not. In response, SPE has developed a certification program for engineers that allows them to demonstrate their technical knowledge.

Part of SPE's mission is to help members further their technical and professional competence and skills. The certification program defines required knowledge in different areas of engineering and offers members an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through examination.

SPE Petroleum Engineering Certification offers an international credential recognizing petroleum engineering expertise. The certification is obtained by applying for and passing the SPE certification exam. Prerequisites to taking the exam include an undergraduate engineering degree and 4 years engineering experience.

"The certification exam is targeted to areas of the world that do not have governmental licensing bodies to regulate the practice of engineering in that country," said Byron Haynes Jr., development planning team leader for Petroleum Development Oman, and chairperson of the SPE Engineering Professionalism Committee. "Engineers working in these parts of the world can take this exam to show that they possess engineering skills that can be verified through examination by an international body such as SPE.

"By taking the exam, people show their employers that they have engineering skills and experience that is recognized by an international standard—this metric has been used for internal promotions," said Haynes. "This exam is useful when applying for jobs to show prospective employers that they are qualified and that they have basic petroleum engineering skills that are recognized internationally."

Employer Support

Many employers support their employees taking the exam and offer incentives for doing so. "There are in many cases incentives such as the company paying for the exam, giving the employee time off to sit for the exam, and some companies are actually giving raises to engineers who sit and take the exam successfully," Haynes said. "This sends a message to the engineering community that these companies are supporting the establishment of an engineering certification program. These companies also use this exam as a training tool to verify engineering competence within the company and placement for other engineering assignments."

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