How Do I Become a Petrophysicist?

Jessica F. Black

Although a bachelor's degree may help you become a petrophysicist, most companies may prefer that you have a master's degree in physics or a similar discipline. Most of the duties of those in position are performed in laboratories and you will typically need to have previous hands-on experience. This profession is primarily based on the analysis of the chemical and physical properties of various natural resources, which can take years of study to master. You may want to search for a university that has a specified degree program in the field; most students opt to enter a geophysics program.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

There are several specific courses that you will need to take before focusing your education on geophysics. Most programs will require prerequisites that may include physical geology, structural geology, differential equations, and introduction to geophysics. These courses will prepare you for the advanced laboratory work that will accompany classes including rock physics, seismic wave and ray theory, geophysical data processing, and anisotropy. Due to the large number of courses offered in this field, you may want to consult a college adviser in order to determine which courses will best prepare you to become a petrophysicist.

Although your degree program may not be listed as petrophysics, you should be able to apply to internships at petrophysics facilities. Most companies that employ this position are oil or gas companies, which will provide you with the experience needed to become a petrophysicist. These internships are generally based on performing research tasks and companies may prefer that you have successfully complete several advanced courses before applying. Some of the topics that you may be introduced to during your internship could include hydrocarbon exploration, subsurface geoscience analysis, and reservoir evaluation.

The ability to observe the daily tasks of other professionals in the field will provide you with the research skills needed to become a petrophysicist. Internships in this field are highly competitive and most companies may require that you have an impeccable academic history and recommendations from professors. Permanent employment in this field may have similar requirements and you will need to excel in the subjects that will prepare you to become a petrophysicist. Once you have completed your initial degree program, it can be helpful to enroll in a graduate program to enhance your skills as well as your hiring potential.

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