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Drilling Fluids Continued

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How to get started

To become a Drilling Fluids Specialist you must complete a certification program through an accredited Mud School. 

One option for attending Mud School is being hired on through a big mud company or oilfield services company that has their own private Mud School; in that case your education would be free and would be part of your new-hire training.

Another option to train and certify is through independent Mud Schools that are usually available for anyone to sign up and apply to. The average costs for attending Mud School ranges between $5,000 to $12,000 and the duration of each program varies between 7 to 12 weeks. Upon hire, junior mud engineers will shadow under a senior engineer until they are able to manage and monitor mud operations on a well site alone.

Drilling Fluid Engineers (mud engineers) make between $75,000 to $140,000 per year; offshore drilling sites tend to pay more. Common schedules, or better known as hitches, are usually about  2 weeks on / 2 weeks off as well as 1 month on / 1 month off. 

Some companies also offer a 1 week Drilling Fluids overview course to give prospective mud customers and students a look into their company's service. 

Salary Analysis

Senior Level

$140K - $200K+ per year

$80K - $90K per year

Associate Level

1 to 3 years experience

7+ years experience


Entry Level

Mid Level

Senior Level

$65,000 or less per year (bottom 10%)

$108,000 per year (US average)

$193,000 or more per year (top 10%)


Bureau of Labor Statistics


Becoming a drilling fluids specialist (mud engineer) is great career for someone looking to work in the oil & gas industry and doesn't have a petroleum engineering degree. If you enjoy traveling for work and the idea of working closely with drilling operations gets you excited then this may be a career you want to consider. The pay is well above the average US salary, you will get to work directly on the well site, and it only requires a medium-to-low amount of physical labor.


Be aware that the oil & gas industry can be a volatile market with fluctuating employment demands. 

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Drilling Fluid Training Links

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