FARMINGTON — The Farmington campus of New Mexico Highlands University is offering a new oil and gas management program to help oil field workers transition to manager positions.

This fall semester, the university, in partnership with San Juan College, started offering bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration with a concentration in oil and gas management. Students who have graduated from San Juan College with an associate degree from the School of Energy can transfer their credits and continue their education.

The program will be offered during the fall, spring and summer semesters.

The program provides an opportunity for oil field workers and other energy industry workers to move up in their company or earn a bachelor's degree online, said Margaret Young, dean of New Mexico Highlands University's School of Business Las Vegas campus.

"The whole conceptional idea started with a conversation, a need that existed in the San Juan Basin," Young said. "A lot of people in the field that don't have degrees will have an opportunity to move into management."

The program offers a number of courses covering a range of management issues and areas of business, Young said.


Courses will cover topics such as accounting, law, finance and oil and gas management, as well as courses tailored to the energy industry.

San Juan College School of Energy Dean Randy Pacheco said he was excited that New Mexico Highlands University chose to work with the local college and respond to a need in the market for continuing education for workers.

"Our goal is to help them find a career in the oil and gas or energy industry, and this is the next piece, the management part," Pacheco said.

There aren't many degrees dedicated to management, particularly for field technicians, he added.

The courses are offered on a compressed schedule designed for working people, said Donna Brooks, who worked with San Juan College to develop the program.

For eight weeks, students meet once a week in a virtual classroom. They complete classwork on their own time.

"They can just immerse themselves in one class instead of spreading time over three classes a semester," said Brooks, a visiting professor of management and the business coordinator of New Mexico Highlands University's Farmington campus.

Gilbert "Buddy" Rivera Jr., director of the university's Farmington campus, said he was surprised by the interest in the program, which focuses on the Four Corners and the San Juan Basin. He expects between 20 and 30 students to enroll in the program this semester, which would increase the school's enrollment by 10 to 15 percent.

"Business educated folks can step right back into their parent companies, and it'll help them eventually to a boardroom," Rivera said.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.