HOUSTON – Oil field jobs are going begging due to the fact there is a shortage of workers, experts said.

The industry has bounced back but lots of workers either changed careers or have retired since the last big downturn, Lone Star College System officials said.

The college offers an eight-week certification program that is the only one of its kind in the world, college officials said. The program uses a real rig in Tomball to train students at Baker Hughes, a G.E. Company. The program has such a good reputation for preparing workers that employers sometimes try to hire students before they finish the course, said Linda Head, Associate Vice Chancellor of Lone Star College System.

The course costs less than $5,000 and there is lots of financial aid available, Head said.

Good candidates for oil industry jobs include men and women, from high school age to past middle age, said James Ward, Lead Instructor for Oil and Gas at the college.

They need to have "want to," Ward said, an ability to follow instructions, stay alert on the job, be physically capable and able to work two week on-two week off shifts.

Starting salaries are easily $40,000 but can rise quickly due to overtime and advancement opportunities, both Head and Ward said.

For more info, contact:

Debbie Holmes, Divisional Operations Specialist at Lone Star College System at 281-290-5057.

And visit: http://www.lonestar.edu/floor-hand-certificate.htm