Competency Matrices

Competency matrices are guidelines used in determining the minimum aptitude levels for petroleum engineers and to establish future industry standards.


This system is structured to assess the minimal competency levels required at various stages of your career.

After reviewing the matrices, you will:

  • Discover areas where you need development
  • Seek educational opportunities or project experience
  • Gain relevant skills

The matrix guidelines can:

  • Help companies evaluate personnel
  • Protect public through minimum competency standards
  • Create quality professionals
  • Increase the levels of trust and credibility for engineers



The SPE Task Force on Minimal Competency was established by T. Scott Hickman, former SPE president, who recruited top experts from both industry and academia. These selected professionals began reviewing the practices used to set competency levels in various organizations. The group also looked at methods used by industries such as medicine, law and accounting. The Task Force defined the appropriate skill set to meet and exceed minimum competency requirements and created a series of specific matrices for the industry.

Graduating Engineers

In order to define specific skills that graduates should possess, the SPE Talent Council studied university curricula and industrial expectations regarding the technical knowledge of recent graduates. This (PDF) serves as a reference tool for industry, academia, and students and is not meant to be definitive with reference to curriculum criteria, entry-level hiring requirements, or student self-assessment — nor should the matrix is be seen as any component of the accreditation process for assessing university programs in Petroleum Engineering.