Fast-track to a new career offered to Junction City area residents

Natural gas student Tina Schmitt is using the Barton Natural Gas program to change careers. She said the accelerated-format coursework (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) will get her started in the industry in a fraction of the time as traditional classes.

July 10, 2014
Story and photo by Brandon Steinert

Those looking for the fast-track to a high-paying career will soon be able to take advantage of a three-month natural gas measurement training program in Junction City offered by Barton Community College.

The coursework is taught from 8-5 p.m., five days per week for 11 weeks. Barton will offer the series of six courses beginning August 4, with the last day of the final class set for October 17.

Natural gas student Tina Schmitt, who is using the program to change careers, said the intense pace helps students reach goals quickly.

“I’ve loved going to school eight to five,” she said. “We get through a massive amount of information that way, and we (students) develop a network of people. We all help each other get through it. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Schmitt said the challenging part was overcoming concerns about being the only female in her class, and being the second oldest student. However, the concerns turned out to be moot.

“I was just worried about how I would fit in,” she said. “It’s been excellent. The guys were great right from the beginning. They included me and by the end I was just one of the guys. Everybody treated me so well. I have nothing but positives to say about the experience and the program so far.”

Schmitt will be finishing her Natural Gas education with the offerings in Junction City starting in August.

“I look forward to taking the next step beyond education,” she said. “I will be able to go back to the workforce with confidence, knowing I can do the job and be an asset to the company.”

The total program cost is $2,730, and the average wage for a natural gas professional is $46,000.

Demand for oil and gas is increasing and industry professionals are working hard to take better care of natural resources. This creates an inviting and challenging environment that will test this generation’s ingenuity and expertise.

Schmitt said she can speak from experience that Barton’s program is top notch.

“I am very impressed with the quality of instructors,” she said. “They all bring real-field experience. This is a specialized program, not academia. I looked at other programs, but this one was the best fit for me. I want to be hirable; that’s the goal.”