How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

Projected Job Growth: 17%
Projected Employment Change: 5,100

It’s no secret that oil and gas is big business, as it is our primary source of energy. Petroleum engineers help to make sure it is never in short supply by developing plans for oil and gas field drilling and designing equipment that extracts it. Working closely with geologists and other types of specialists, they examine reservoirs, identify the best drilling methods and equipment, and monitor drilling operations. They also evaluate well testing and surveys and check on oil field equipment to make sure that it is operating properly. Employment in this occupation is expected to increase about as fast as average for all occupations, as indicated in the above projections provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although it is still among the faster-growing careers in engineering.

Why Petroleum Engineering?

Petroleum engineering is a great field for those looking for adventure, as these types of engineers not only get to travel to different drilling sites around the country, but also around the world. Petroleum engineering is a good field to work in because of its favorable job prospects. According to the BLS, as drilling operations become more complex, the number of engineers needed to work on each drilling operation will increase and therefore create a greater demand. The employment of petroleum engineers will also grow due to the number of current engineers expected to retire. Advancement opportunities are possible for experienced petroleum engineers or those who have furthered their education in traditional or online graduate degree programs. They may qualify for supervisory or managerial positions, go into equipment sales, or start their own companies that provide services to oil and gas companies.

Getting Into Petroleum Engineering

To enter the petroleum engineering field, one must earn at least a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. Traditional and online bachelor’s degree programs in petroleum engineering educate students about engineering principles, thermodynamics, geology, petroleum fluid properties, geomechanics, drilling engineering, and more. For those who are looking to obtain a higher level of education, there are on campus or online degree programs in petroleum engineering that allow students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degree within a five-year period. In addition, those who offer their services directly to the public must obtain a professional engineer license.