I get emails all the time from folks that want to be landmen, and they are mostly asking what they have to do to get a shot. Inevitably the subject of “Landman Schools’ comes up more than occasionally. Now you should take my comments with a grain of salt, because I’ve never been to a landman school — BUT I have been around the block a few times and I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Want to know what my thoughts are about these companies? Read On!
Landman schools seem to pop up whenever a new play is getting started, and there are some long-term established ones in places like Texas and Oklahoma. They have a great sales pitch to get the inexperienced:
“You don’t know how to be landman, but I do and I can teach you. I’ll show you what you need to know to get your foot in the door. Just give me $500 dollars and 3 days of your time.”
Now that’s just the normal pitch, I’ve seen classes that have been several weeks long and $5000 — all with no guarantee of a job! Now I won’t knock entrepreneurship, they are offering a service and obviously there is a demand for it. Unfortunately, if you can’t find a job without the class — it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find a job after you take it. Fortunately,the landman school also has a sales pitch for that objection as well:
“Now we can’t obviously guarantee everyone a job, that would be crazy. However, we work with several landman brokers who hire the top graduates from our class. Now I don’t know if you’ll be one of those people, only you know how dedicated you are.”
Now if you don’t know why it’s hard to get a landman job without a great network, ready my blog article on the subject, It’s a Tough World For a Lone Landman. I digress, back to the subject… the most obvious question is “How much could one actually learn in a 3 day landman school?” The answer? Not very much. They can teach you some terminology, and they can give you some very basic information on what a lease looks like and what ‘running title’ is. For those of you that do a get a landman job, your first week on the job will teach you more than 3 months of classes. It’s just a fact, you learn on the job, and field landman work isn’t something that can be taught in a class.
You’ll also hear about how their classes are “Accredited by the American Association of Professional Landmen“. Unfortunately that’s not as big of a deal as it sounds. The AAPL does grant continuing education credits for classes that companies or individuals teach. All you have to do is send them the course syllabus. “But don’t they review the course and therefore it must be at least decent?” you might ask. They answer is that the AAPL doesn’t typically review courses they approve for CE credits. They don’t endorse the programs they grant CE credits for at all! Their CE program is designed for AAPL members who need credits for renewing their certifications. Obviously you won’t have any certifications, so the ‘accreditation’ by the AAPL is useless to you.
The point I’m trying to get to in all this is that these classes are designed to sell you hope, and take your money. There are a few educational programs that I think are worthwhile for aspiring landmen who have no experience… and I’ll cover those in Part II of this blog. (COMING SOON!)
Until I get Part II written, you might consider reading a book I’m currently reviewing, Landman Lease and Title Manual (Volume 1), it’s a great primer on land work.