For students who do not follow the traditional route of pursuing a degree directly after high school, jobs in the Gulf Coast oil and gas industry are attractive options. The pay is good and employee demand is high. However, many workers find it hard to advance without a degree.

The university awards the Associate of Science degree to the student who completes course work listed below in Petroleum Services or in the Safety Technology. The curriculum is designed to accommodate persons working seven on/seven off so that they may attend classes on their days off as full time students.The curriculum contains a blend of technical and supervisory courses to prepare a person for the more complex technical and middle management positions in the drilling and production operations as well as the highly technical service and supply segment.

Click for the Associates of Safety Technology Degree Program Goals and Competencies

Click for the Associates of Safety Technology Degree Curriculum

The Nicholls Associate degree program in Petroleum Services combines work experience and academic coursework to prepare students for management positions in the drilling, production, service and supply segments of the petroleum industry.

Click for the Associates of Petroleum Services Degree Program Goals and Competencies

Click for the Associates of Petroleum Services Degree Curriculum


The Bachelor degree program in Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management combines work experience and academic coursework to prepare students for management positions in the drilling, production, service, and supply segments of the petroleum industry.

The university awards the Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Services to the student who completes the course work listed below. The curriculum is designed for personnel employed in the petroleum industry or to those seeking employment in the petroleum industry while attending school.

Students may choose a concentration in Safety Technology (PSST) or Exploration and Production (PSEP) or both by completing the 21 hours of specified concentration courses.

We educate engineering technology graduates through a unique online and rotating delivery schedule of robust instruction that prepares future leaders to safely managing complex operations in the petroleum industry which are critical to the energy needs of the world.

PETSM programs cultivate productive citizens and employees for Louisiana and the nation’s petroleum industry and its related fields in business, industry, education, and government by developing technical, supervisory, and intercultural knowledge and skills through quality teaching, research, and service.

To set up an advising appointment, please call 985.448.4739



  • 100% online instruction
  • 8 week terms, 5 terms per calendar year
  • Can take a max of 9 hours per term
  • Degree offered – Associates of Science in Safety Technology
  • Some coursework that will go toward the other two degrees can be taken through Nicholls Online, but the degree cannot fully be earned strictly online.
  • Tuition and Fees – Click here
  • Schedule of Classes – Click here
  • Courses can be extended after the 8-week term for both personal and exceptional circumstances.  The extension can be as long as 6 months.  Personal circumstances have a $100 fee per month associated with the extension.
  • Students must contact to be enrolled in classes.

For more information, click here.

  • Courses are taught in class and online – In class courses (PSET and SATC courses only) are offered in the 7/7 format (which will work for 14/14 too).  A student basically has to attend class once a week. For 14/14, the student will watch the lectures missed online while he/she is offshore. Lectures are recorded and uploaded to the internet.
  • 16 week traditional semesters, 8 week summers
  • Can take a max of 18 hours per semester
  • Tuition and Fees – Click here
  • Degrees offered – Associates of Safety Technology, Associates of Petroleum Services, Bachelors of Petroleum Services
  • Extensions are not offered. A grade of I may be given for work which could not be completed because of circumstances beyond the student’s control and will not be given to a student doing unsatisfactory work.
  • Students enroll themselves through Banner.

*Students can NOT be enrolled in Nicholls Online courses and traditional Nicholls courses in the same semester.


PETSM is uniquely designed to accommodate professionals working in the oil & gas industry.  In 1973, the program was designed to accommodate a 7 on 7 off rotation with Wednesday crew change days.  As the years have gone by, the 14 on 14 off rotational schedule has become the norm.

PETSM has adapted over the years and continues to provide access to potential students in the oil & gas industry wanting to pursue higher education.  The degrees are designed so that a student working full time on a rotational schedule can finish the associate’s degree program in 2 years and receive a bachelor’s degree with 2 more years of study.  Students have a choice to pursue an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree focusing on exploration and production or safety technology or students can pursue both.

A typical fall or spring semester will have 15 weeks and during each week the core petroleum or safety courses are taught on a Tuesday and Thursday.  Class meetings are numbered class 1 through class 15 starting with the first week (class 1) and ending on the last week (class 15) of the semester.  The instructors will teach the same class using the same content on a Tuesday and again on Thursday each week of the semester. Basically, each Tuesday class will be mirrored on Thursday and vice-versa. Students only need to attend class once a week depending on their availability (either Tuesday or Thursday).  All required general education (English, Math, Science, History, etc.) are offered online. (On campus tests may be a possibility). In addition, there are a number of core courses (petroleum and safety) taught online including independent study or classes taught with a hybrid delivery method (a combination of face to face and online material).

The bottom line here is you will miss some of the required core face to face classes but all lecture materials, quizzes and tests are managed in the course management online system called Moodle.  This allows you to still participate, complete and submit assignments, take quizzes and exams and network with classmates through email and forum postings. However, departmental standards for class participation credits require a minimum number of attendance for in class courses.  This means your final grade could be affected negatively if you can not meet the minimum established course meetings required.

The program also has a buddy system where a student that cannot make it to class every week is paired up with a student who is attending class every week.  This provides the student missing class time networking opportunities to keep up with what he/she might have missed.  The weekly class lectures are also recorded and available as a streaming video to students who might miss one of the weekly course offerings due to their work schedule.

The instructors PETSM also play a big part in the success of the program.  Many of the instructors in the program have worked offshore and are aware of the special circumstances that can arise with a 7 & 7 or 14 & 14 schedule.

PETSM currently has the safety associate 100% available through Nicholls Online and we are working to transform the petroleum associate level core courses to be offered with 100% online delivery.   At first glance, the scheduling options offered may look confusing and intimidating but once you became familiar with the layout it is a very simple and straight forward concept. To summarize the 7 & 7 scheduling: Students attend class once a week when they are back onshore and complete any required coursework online when they are not in class.


PETSM students are provided with marketable skills that greatly help them in seeking promotions and advancing to managerial positions. The program works with a host of industry companies, including major oil companies, which actively recruit graduates through on-campus interviews.

The associate degree program prepares students for the more complex technical and lower-to-middle management positions in production and drilling operations.  The bachelor’s degree program courses and work experience prepares students for middle- to upper-level management positions.  Petroleum services graduates are employed by drilling contractors, service companies and major oil and gas companies. Starting annual salaries at $60,000.

Examples of jobs held by current and former students are as follows:

DegreeJob TitleEmployer
Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum ServicesLease OperatorWood Group PSN
 Production SuperintendentEl Paso Gas Company
 Production TechValero Refinery
Bachelor’s and/or Associate’s Degree inPetroleum ServicesWire Line OperatorHalliburton
 Drilling RepresentativeExxon Mobil
 Drilling RepresentativeChevron
 Lease OperatorChevron
Associate’s Degree in Petroleum ServicesProduction Operator AHill Oil Corporation
 Production Operator AChevron
 Compliance CoordinatorBSEE
 Logistics CoordinatorHalliburton
 Port CaptainMontco Boat Company
 Lease OperatorDanos & Curole


Visit the Nicholls Career Services Web site to get job search tips and post your resume online.

View the Career Guide to the Safety Profession from the American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation and Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

Protecting America’s work force, the general public and the environment from injury and illness in today’s age of technological and scientific advancement has become one of the most challenging and rewarding career field available. The safety professional has the responsibility for studying materials, structures, codes and operations to find the best way to use resources to control hazards, those things which can lead to accidents, illness, fires, explosions, etc. Starting annual salaries $60,000.

The safety technology program prepares its students for technical- and management-oriented positions in:

  • businesses,
  • education,
  • research organizations,
  • government agencies and
  • industries, such as:
    • construction
    • energy
    • chemical
    • manufacturing
    • shipyard
    • marine transportation
    • insurance
    • marine
    • petroleum

The oil and gas industry, which drives the economic base the state and nation, embraces a culture of safe and environmentally friendly exploration, development, construction and distribution of the nation’s oil and gas supply. The protection of social and economic losses resulting from accidents in the oil and gas industry is a challenge Louisiana and the nation — a challenge being met by the safety technology program at Nicholls by providing qualified and competent safety technologists.

Students are prepared for positions as:

  • compliance officer,
  • safety engineer,
  • health and safety manager,
  • loss control specialist,
  • trainer,
  • program administrator,
  • inspector and
  • investigator.

What is Petroleum Engineering Technology and how is it different from Engineering?

Basically engineering focuses on theory and conceptual design, while engineering technology focuses on application and implementation.

Our programs will educate students on the upstream portion of the industry – drilling, production and safety.  This program will prepare students:

  • for elevated management positions in drilling, production operations, well services and completion or the service and supply component in the oil and gas industry
  • in areas safety, health and environmental segments of any industry

Our courses expose students to multi-segmented aspects of the industry in these areas:

  1. Exploration (Drilling and Completions) – the initial phase of searching of oil and gas. Next, the well is drilled and then completed. This phase has a business organizational structure and critical safety aspects which are presented in a similar way through the PETSM curriculum.
  2. Production – the next phase where oil and gas are extracted.
  3. Well Services (workover and intervention) – highly specialized and complex intervention methods performed throughout the lifecycle of a well. PETSM courses engage students in the operations required to enhance well production safely and efficiently.
  4.  Plug and Abandonment – the permanent closing of a well. PETSM courses include common regulatory requirements for safe and environmental surety of well closures.
  5.  Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) – An aspect present in all areas of the industry. Adherence to HSE guidelines is required worldwide and dictated by internal policies of most corporations.

The PETSM curriculum goes beyond compliance to personal safety requirements and prepares graduates to effectively manage safety systems. Our courses are designed to promote opportunities as professional HSE specialist, HSE consultants, and HSE engineers.

Please click on this link to find out more on the difference between Engineering and Engineering Technology.


Visit the General Education Website for requirements, click here.

Admissions, Advising, and Transfers

1.    I am interested in the PETSM program, where do I begin?

The first step to becoming a student is to apply for Admission to the University.

2.     How do I schedule my courses?

If you are a first time freshman, it is mandatory for you to attend freshman orientation where you will create your schedule.  Please see admissions for dates.  If you are a transfer student, you will meet with Lacey Melancon  in University College to create a schedule of classes.  To schedule an appointment, please call 985-448-4117.

3.     I am currently at another University and am looking to transfer to the PETSM program and NSU. Where do I start?

The first step is to apply as a transfer student to the University.  You will need to send an official transcript from your previous institute to Nicholls. Once you have been admitted, contact Mary Delaune at 985-448-4462 or regarding any questions you may have about transfer credits.

Career Opportunities and Internships

1.     What job opportunities are available after graduation?

While the PETSM Program does not ensure you a job, students are able to work with Career Services to explore jobs in their chosen field. Some students find themselves becoming:

–        Rig superintendent

–        Offshore Installation Manager

–        Safety supervisor

–        Field foreman

Many students also complete internships with companies during their time in the program.

2.     Do I have to have a job or be working to do this program?

No, you do not. The program works with students currently working, but it is not a requirement that you work while in the program.

 Class Schedule

1.     What kind of schedule does the PETSM program work with?

The program is designed to work with students who work a 7/7 or 14/14 schedule. Classes are taught on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays and through online instruction.

2.     What is best day to schedule a shift change to accommodate classes?

Wednesdays are the preferred days to have a shift change, seeing as there are seldom classes on this day.

3.     What other schedules can I work?

Students can work 28/28 schedules while taking general education courses and online classes, but they would have to set a schedule with the instructor to make up missed presentations, projects, and lab work while not on campus.

4.     What can I expect if I work something other than 14/14?

These students will be responsible for working ahead of time and working closely with their instructors. They need to be self-disciplined, excellent with time management, and must be somewhat of an independent learner.

 Degree Programs

1.     What majors/ areas of study does the PETSM program offer?

In the PETSM program, students can gain either an Associate’s Degree (60 hours), or a Bachelor’s degree (120 hours) in the following areas:

Associate in Safety Technology
Associate in Petroleum Engineering Technology
Bachelor in Safety Technology
Bachelor in Petroleum Engineering Technology

2.     About how long will it take me to finish each program?

Typically, the Associate’s Degree takes about 2 years to complete, while the Bachelor’s Degree takes about 4 years.

3.     What classes will I have to take for each degree program?

Classes vary with each program. The requirements for each are listed here:

Click for the Associates of Safety Technology Degree Program Goals and Competencies

Click for the Associates of Safety Technology Degree Curriculum

Click for the Associates of Petroleum Services Degree Program Goals and Competencies

Click for the Associates of Petroleum Services Degree Curriculum


Students may choose a concentration in Safety Technology (PSST) or Exploration and Production (PSEP) or both by completing the 21 hours of specified concentration courses.

Financial Aid, Scholarships, Tuition and Fees

1.     How do I pay for school?

Information regarding Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Tuition and Fees can be found on the following websites:



Online Courses

1.     Can I complete all of my classes online?

No – while many classes are offered online, a student cannot complete a degree program entirely online at this time. Starting in the Spring 2014 semester, 100% of the Safety Technology Associate’s degree will be available online.

2.     What classes are offered online?

100% of the general education classes are offered online, and about 80% of the associates program can be completed online. The classes will vary from semester to semester, depending on instructor availability.

3.     What is the difference between online and hybrid classes?

Online classes are completely online, while hybrid classes only have select class meeting on campus. Students complete tests, quizzes, assignments, and forums on the online system Moodle.