A career as a petroleum engineer is not only in a growing and sustainable field, but it also helps ensure America has the energy required to keep moving, growing and building.

Imagine a world without oil and gas. Thanks to petroleum engineers, we don't have to.

As described by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, petroleum engineers "design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth's surface" and "find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells." This might involve designing equipment, making sure well testing is completed, drilling and much more.

Becoming a petroleum engineer, the BLS states, typically requires a bachelor's degree in engineering — preferably petroleum engineering — and a license. Analytical skills, creativity, math skills and problem-solving skills are also useful. Petroleum engineering programs at schools around the country can help prepare you for a career in helping meet the nation's energy needs.

Petroleum engineer salary and career outlook

The BLS notes that higher oil and gas prices could cause companies to drill in areas that traditionally haven't been tapped, such as deeper waters and less hospitable environments. Plus, they could return to existing wells and attempt new extraction methods. Increased complexity of drilling operations requires more engineers who can discover ways to tap these energy resources, in addition to assisting companies as they comply with new drilling regulations for deep water.

Other possible explanations for job growth of petroleum engineers, according to the BLS, are open positions caused by petroleum engineers retiring or leaving the occupation, and increased demand for petroleum engineers in support activities for mining.

Here's an idea of the salary and job growth figured petroleum engineers might expect in the coming years:

CareerTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Petroleum Engineers32,620$156,780
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,


Occupational Employment and Wages: Petroleum Engineers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2019,

What Petroleum Engineers Do, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 2019,

Long-Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central,


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