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Professional Training for Drillers and Pump Installers


We are currently facing a crisis that will impact the nations groundwater in a few short years.

A collaboration between Oklahoma State University and the National Groundwater Association aims to address a projected shortfall of geoscience workers and improve access to groundwater that is essential for people around the world.


Capturing groundwater is not possible without the proper workforce of water-well drilling contractors and pump installers who access and deliver groundwater for the use of drinking water, irrigation and other industries.


NGWA and OSU are creating a series of groundwater training courses delivered online with future development of classroom and field courses. The program will offer career development opportunities for industry professionals, university students and entry-level workers, and can prepare them for rigorous certification exams or could lead to university degrees. These courses will improve the safety and skills of drilling industry members and systematically address the critical shortage of professionals in the industry.


Up to 5,000 people are expected to participate in this course in just the first two years, and it has unlimited capacity to accommodate high volumes of participants at any given time. Because it is self-paced and delivered entirely online, it is ideal for the non-drilling days of workforce employees as well as for those working at home and the currently unemployed.


OSU and NGWA are excited the initial funding for the program is in place and has been provided by private donors and industry sponsors.


NGWA and OSU have the established infrastructure for this program and have gained interested collaborators both nationally and internationally. Additional land-grant universities may deliver course content in the field, and the program may even expand internationally based on demand.


The first course in the new program is Drilling Basics Online, a series of five, eight-hour sessions developed through the collaboration of industry professionals, scientists, engineers and experts in online education. The course covers the skills and competencies tested for on groundwater drilling exams.


Drilling Basics Online

General Workplace Safety

Participants will gain an understanding of workplace safety regulations and best practices. This training module covers regulations from OSHA, DOT and EPA and helps participants navigate to the regulations critical to their professions. Training describes hazard identification, risk assessment and site assessment, as well as appropriate procedures and protocols for common safety hazards. 


Register for General Workplace Safety


Geology and Groundwater

A fundamental overview of the different lithologies and porous media to which groundwater typically resides. It explains big picture processes and subsurface structures, emphasizing key terminology and phrases often shared among the drilling profession. The movement of groundwater and barriers to flow, as well as the many characteristics of aquifers and how groundwater flow is calculated are included. 


Register for Geology and Groundwater


Hydrogeology and Fluid Mechanics

This module dives deeper into the fluids used and produced during the drilling process. The training covers well scale, water quality, sampling approaches and the hydrogeologic relationship to proper well construction. Participants receive explanations of drilling fluids, engineered mud systems, and the principal properties of drilling fluid. Challenges that arise in handling fluids as well as descriptions of proper tools and equipment used are provided. 


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Rig Types and Well Design

This training showcases commonly used drilling methods and types of drilling rigs. It covers cable tool, mud, air and dual rotary, reverse circulation and environmental drilling methods. How to create a borehole, well installation, and well development are described from industry experts. Well rehabilitation and evaluation are covered, as well as other topics such as design calculations, considerations for safety, and the importance of communication among regulators, stakeholders, and customers. 


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Drill Rig Safety

Although safety considerations are threaded among the curriculum for all five modules due to its critical importance, the specific safety concerns surrounding drilling rigs is detailed in this training. How to properly operate machinery, protect yourself and those around you from harm, and steps to prevent environmental catastrophes are all included. 


Some of these training sessions will open as early as December 2021. Click the button below and fill out our contact form, so we can let you know when trainings are available. 


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