How To Become A Petroleum Engineer

As a petroleum engineer, you will be designing and developing methods for extracting oil from the Earth. You will work at drilling sites. You will develop new methods for extracting oil and gas in the most effective, efficient and profitable way. If you are good at being analytical and thinking of new, innovative ways of solving complex problems, you will succeed in this position. You must have a bachelor’s degree in order to become a petroleum engineer.

Why Become A Petroleum Engineer

Our world runs on natural gas and oil. It is one of the most important raw materials we have. From using our cars to our ovens to heating our homes, oil and gas is important in our lives. Oil companies drill offshore, trying to tap into our Earth’s oil reserves.

Petroleum engineers help find oil and gas for everybody’s energy needs. They look at older wells that have been in use, and find new ways to extract oil and gas from them. They design equipment used at the drilling sites. They develop new methods used in the oil and gas extraction process. They also will go through quality control, tests and surveys, to make sure that the oil and gas extractions are meeting their standards. They will make sure equipment is installed and functioning properly.

Petroleum engineers are responsible for coming up with innovative solutions to complex problems. In a world where environmentalism and sustainability are current concerns, petroleum engineers need to learn how to drill for oil and gas, in the most effective and efficient way possible, while taking environmental impact into consideration. This is a good position for anybody who is able to think outside of the box, who enjoys hands-on projects, who is good at being analytical, and wants to be inventive.

Petroleum Engineers should possess the following qualities and skills:

Petroleum Engineer Work Environment

Petroleum engineers work at drilling sites. They often work for long periods of time at drilling sites. When at a site, it is common for engineers to work in rotation: on the site for 84 hours, then off duty for 84 hours. There is quite a bit of traveling involved with this work. Petroleum engineers may even travel internationally in order to access drilling sites, since many places where oil is found are overseas. When they are not at a drilling site, petroleum engineers are working in a research laboratory or back in an office setting.

Petroleum Engineer Salary

The median salary for petroleum engineers was $128,230 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Petroleum engineers are highly specialized in their field, and this leads them to have a more lucrative salary than many other positions. Salary will be dependent on many different factors. Somebody who has had several years of experience in their field is going to earn a higher salary. Petroleum engineers earn different salaries depending on which field they work in, with those in management earning the highest salaries. These are just some of the factors that go into determining salary.

Average Petroleum Engineer Annual Salary


The average annual salary for petroleum engineers is $154,780 a year. Salaries start at $74,400 a year and go up to $208,000 a year.

Average Petroleum Engineer Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a petroleum engineer is $74.41. Hourly wages are between $35.77 and $100 an hour.

Stats were based out of 32,010 employed petroleum engineers in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Petroleum Engineers

Top Paying Cities For Petroleum Engineers

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Petroleum Engineer Career Outlook

Employment for petroleum engineers is expected to increase by 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is slightly faster than average growth compared to other occupations.

Petroleum engineers depend on gas and oil prices to drive the economy behind their jobs. Oil prices will become a detriment to employment growth. Higher oil prices will require petroleum engineering companies to drill in more risky places in search of oil. Still, many engineers are expected to retire in upcoming years, leading to potential job openings.

Petroleum Engineer Degree

If you are interested in becoming a petroleum engineer, read below to find out how.

Step 1: Undergraduate education. A bachelor’s degree is necessary in order to become a petroleum engineer. There are many programs that will help you in this career path. You can choose from engineering, geology, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and many more programs. Classes with a strong emphasis in math and science will benefit you. It takes four years to receive a bachelor’s degree.

Step 2: Licensure. Licensure is not required to start working as a petroleum engineer. This means that a person can earn an entry-level job right out of college. Later on in your career, you can qualify for your professional engineering (PE) license. This is achieved by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, the Professional Engineering (PE) exam, and you must have at least four years of work experience.

Step 3: Consider advancement. You may move on to manage a group of team members at your petroleum engineering company. Many petroleum engineers eventually move on to sales, to influence the buying and installation of a particular product for their company. There are many opportunities for advancement and growth.

Leave A Comment