Petroleum Engineering Jobs In Highest Demand

A beautiful sunset view of an offshore oil rig surrounded by glistening waves.

Choosing the right career can often feel like a daunting task, especially in specialized sectors like oil and gas. The median annual wage for petroleum engineers was an impressive $131,800 as of May 2022, hinting at the field’s lucrative nature.

If you’re curious about tapping into this high-demand industry, this article is your roadmap to understanding what jobs are out there and how to secure them.

The industry’s highest demand for petroleum engineers are for drilling engineers, production engineers, and completion engineers. The jobs have many openings, and are some of the best paying jobs. Many unfilled jobs exist in Alaska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Keep reading – your future might just be glistening with oil!

Key Takeaways

  • To work as a petroleum engineer, you need a bachelor’s degree in that field or something related. You also have to get a special license called a Professional Engineering (PE) license.
  • Jobs for petroleum engineers are growing and pay well. As of May 2022, these engineers make about $131,800 every year.
  • Places like Texas and Alaska have lots of jobs for people who know about oil and gas. But states like Delaware pay the most money for this kind of work.
  • If you become a petroleum engineer, you might be a drilling engineer, production engineer, or completion engineer. These jobs are some of the best-paying ones when working with oil and gas.
  • Big companies that hire petroleum engineers include ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, Schlumberger, Halliburton, ConocoPhillips, BP p.l.c., and Royal Dutch Shell plc. They all look for smart people who can help them find and get oil and natural gas from the ground.

What are Petroleum Engineers and What They Do

Close-up of drilling equipment and rocks in an oil field.

Petroleum engineers are the whiz kids of oil and gas production. They figure out how to take oil and natural gas out of the Earth. These experts design tools and methods to get these resources safely and cleanly.

Think about them as detectives; they study rocks, plan drilling equipment, and solve puzzles underground to find the best spots for wells.

Their work doesn’t stop there. After finding oil or gas, they work their magic to draw it up in a way that’s good for both people and nature. You’ll see them using big words like “hydrocarbons” but really, they’re talking about getting fuel from deep under our feet so we can use it up here where we live.

Now that you know what petroleum engineers do, let’s dig into how one becomes a part of this high-paying field ..

How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

A drilling rig in the desert landscape with a bustling atmosphere.

To become a petroleum engineer, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering or a related field. Additionally, gaining practical experience through internships or cooperative programs can be beneficial in securing job opportunities in this competitive field.

Education and Training

You’ll need a strong education to be a petroleum engineer. Start by getting a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. In school, focus on math and science classes because they’re super important for this job.

Some colleges even have special programs just for future oil and gas pros like you.

After your degree, think about extra training or even a master’s degree if you want to learn more cool stuff and maybe earn more money later on. Stay curious, keep learning new things, and always look for ways to get better at what you do!

Important Skills and Qualities

To be a good petroleum engineer, you need strong math and science skills. Understand how to use these subjects to solve tough problems. Also, being creative helps you find new ways to get oil and gas from the earth.

Teamwork is key because you work with all kinds of people on big projects.

Good communication means explaining your ideas clearly and listening well. You must also stay calm when things don’t go as planned. This job needs someone who can make quick, smart choices.

It helps if you like learning because there’s always something new in this field. Plus, pay attention to detail—small mistakes can cause big issues when dealing with oil and gas production!

Licenses and Certifications

To practice as a petroleum engineer, you must obtain a Professional Engineering (PE) license. This credential demonstrates your expertise and ability to meet industry standards. Additionally, earning certifications from organizations like the Society of Petroleum Engineers can enhance your qualifications, making you more competitive in the job market.

Keep in mind that obtaining these licenses and certifications requires meeting specific education and experience requirements, so be sure to plan your career path accordingly to fulfill these criteria before applying for licensure or certification.

Remember, pursuing these credentials can significantly increase your employment opportunities and earning potential in the field of petroleum engineering.

Advancement Opportunities

To advance in petroleum engineering, consider pursuing a master’s degree to specialize and broaden your knowledge. Acquiring relevant licenses and certifications will enhance your professional credentials, opening up higher-level job prospects.

Additionally, gaining extensive hands-on experience in the field will help you climb the career ladder. Stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies by attending workshops or enrolling in continuing education programs.

Networking with experienced professionals can also provide valuable insights and potential advancement opportunities within the petroleum engineering sector.

Employing practical strategies such as showcasing leadership skills on projects and demonstrating problem-solving abilities can position you for promotions to managerial roles or even executive positions within petroleum companies.

Job Outlook and Employment Opportunities

The job outlook for petroleum engineers is favorable, with a projected 3% growth in employment from 2019 to 2029. Petroleum engineers can find opportunities in various states and areas, especially in oil and gas extraction industries.

Additionally, there are similar occupations within the field which also offer promising career prospects.

State and Area Data

Understanding where the demand for petroleum engineering jobs is highest can help you target your job search effectively. Let’s take a look at the state and area data for this field.

State/AreaEmployment NumbersMedian WageJob Concentration
TexasHighest Employment$158,370Houston metropolitan area
AlaskaHighly Paid$130,220Anchorage area
DelawareTop Paying State$186,250Low Employment
CaliforniaSignificant Employment$142,430Los Angeles metropolitan area
LouisianaNotable Employment$124,610New Orleans metropolitan area

With this data, you can visualize where your petroleum engineering skills are in high demand. Texas leads in employment numbers, especially in the Houston area, known as the world’s energy capital. Delaware, despite having fewer jobs, offers some of the highest median wages for petroleum engineers – a factor worth considering. Job seekers often eye Alaska for the substantial salaries and the unique challenges of working in remote areas. States like California and Louisiana also offer significant opportunities, owing to their oil-rich regions. Keep these locations in mind as you plan your educational and career path in petroleum engineering.

Similar Occupations

If you’re considering a career in petroleum engineering but want to explore related options, there are several occupations that share similarities. Geoscientists, for example, study the Earth’s composition and structure to locate oil and gas reserves.

They often work closely with petroleum engineers to analyze data and provide valuable insights for exploration projects. Another similar occupation is environmental engineers who design systems to protect the environment during drilling and extraction processes.

Their work ensures that operations comply with regulations while minimizing ecological impact. Additionally, chemical engineers play a vital role in the energy sector by developing methods to extract and process raw materials into fuel products.

These occupations offer diverse opportunities within the energy industry and might align with your interests if you’re exploring alternative pathways related to petroleum engineering.

Job Market Trends

Petroleum engineering is a field with promising job market trends. Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow by 2 percent from 2022, offering about 1,700 openings each year on average.

From 2016 to 2026, the employment of petroleum engineers is anticipated to surge by 15 percent, much faster than other occupations. The median annual wage for petroleum engineers stands at $131,800 as of May 2022 – making it one of the highest-paid jobs globally due to its association with the huge revenue-generating petroleum sector.

Furthermore, metropolitan areas such as Houston, Texas have the highest concentration of jobs in petroleum engineering. This profession’s high demand and potential are evident not just in terms of salary but also in its growth prospects over the years.

Top 3 Highest Paying Jobs in Petroleum Engineering

– The top three highest paying jobs in petroleum engineering include completion engineers, drilling engineers, and production engineers. Each of these roles plays a crucial part in the oil and gas production process, requiring specialized skills and knowledge to ensure efficient operations.

Completion Engineers

Completion engineers play a crucial role in the oil and gas industry. They are responsible for designing and overseeing the installation of equipment and procedures to prepare wells for production.

With a focus on safety and efficiency, completion engineers ensure that wells are completed in a way that maximizes productivity while minimizing environmental impact. Their work involves collaborating with drilling engineers to understand the unique geological formations and conditions of each well, determining the most effective completion techniques, and managing the implementation process.

As a student aspiring to become a petroleum engineer, understanding the responsibilities of completion engineers is essential. These professionals contribute directly to the successful extraction of oil and gas, making their expertise highly valuable in meeting energy demands globally.

Drilling Engineers

Drilling engineers are vital in the process of extracting oil and gas from beneath the earth’s surface. They design and supervise the drilling operations, ensuring that wells are safely and efficiently constructed.

As a drilling engineer, you’ll work closely with geologists to determine the best location for drilling and coordinate with equipment suppliers to ensure that everything needed is available on-site.

Your role also involves monitoring the progress of drilling operations to make real-time adjustments as necessary, ultimately contributing to successful oil and gas extraction.

The median annual wage for petroleum engineers was $131,800 in May 2022, making it one of the highest-paying jobs globally due to its vital role in revenue generation within the petroleum sector.

Production Engineers

Petroleum production engineers play a crucial role in maximizing the extraction of oil and gas from underground reservoirs. They analyze well data, monitor production rates, and collaborate with drilling and completion engineers to optimize resource recovery.

With a median annual wage of $131,800 in May 2022, this career offers substantial financial rewards. Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow by 2 percent from 2022, indicating steady demand for their expertise.

By applying advanced technologies and innovative strategies, production engineers ensure efficient extraction processes while adhering to safety and environmental regulations.

The work of production engineers contributes significantly to the petroleum industry’s sustainability and profitability. Their vital responsibilities include designing production equipment, conducting well performance evaluations, and resolving operational challenges.

Best States for Petroleum Engineers

Delaware, Texas, Nevada, Alaska, and Washington are among the best states for petroleum engineers based on job opportunities and salary potential. To find out more about these top states for petroleum engineering jobs, keep reading!


As a student interested in petroleum engineering jobs, Delaware offers opportunities in the oil and gas industry. With its strategic location along the East Coast, Delaware is home to refineries and chemical plants, providing employment prospects for petroleum engineers.

The state’s proximity to major urban centers like Philadelphia and Baltimore also contributes to job opportunities in energy production and distribution. Additionally, Delaware’s focus on sustainable energy initiatives opens avenues for aspiring petroleum engineers to explore alternative energy projects within the state.

Considering these factors, Delaware presents an appealing environment for students pursuing careers in petroleum engineering.

The median annual wage for petroleum engineers was $131,800 as of May 2022. Furthermore, with about 1,700 openings projected each year on average over the decade, there is substantial demand for qualified professionals entering the field of petroleum engineering.


Texas is one of the best states for petroleum engineers, offering abundant job opportunities in the oil and gas industry. With its strong presence in energy production, Texas provides a favorable environment for petroleum engineering careers.

The state boasts numerous companies hiring petroleum engineers, particularly in metropolitan areas like Houston. Additionally, Texas offers competitive salaries for petroleum engineers and significant growth potential due to its thriving energy sector.

Petroleum engineering positions in Texas can provide valuable hands-on experience and exposure to cutting-edge technologies within the oil and gas field. As a student aspiring to become a petroleum engineer, exploring opportunities in Texas can be an attractive option due to the state’s prominent role in this industry.


Nevada, known for its desert landscape and entertainment hub Las Vegas, also offers opportunities for petroleum engineers. The state’s oil and gas industry is expanding, creating demand for skilled professionals.

With the increasing focus on energy production in the region, Nevada provides a promising environment for budding petroleum engineers to contribute to the sector’s growth. Several major companies are investing in oil exploration and production activities in Nevada, thereby opening doors for employment and career advancement in the field of petroleum engineering.

As a student exploring potential career paths, it’s important to stay informed about such emerging opportunities. Keep an eye on Nevada as a prospective location offering promising avenues to kickstart your journey as a petroleum engineer.


Now, let’s talk about Alaska. In the land of vast natural resources and pristine landscapes, petroleum engineering holds significant importance. Alaska’s oil and gas industry has been a crucial contributor to the state’s economy for decades.

With its abundance of untapped natural resources, including potential offshore drilling sites in the Arctic Ocean, Alaska presents promising opportunities for petroleum engineers. The state offers not only high-paying jobs but also an environment that intrigues many aspiring professionals due to its unique challenges and rewards.

The demand for skilled petroleum engineers in Alaska is driven by ongoing exploration activities across various regions of the state. As companies continue to invest in exploring new oil fields both onshore and offshore, there is a growing need for talented individuals who possess the expertise required to navigate this dynamic field.


Moving on to Washington, this state also offers promising opportunities for petroleum engineers. With its growing oil and gas industry, there is a demand for skilled professionals in various engineering roles.

The metropolitan areas in Washington provide access to job prospects within the petroleum sector at different companies. As an aspiring petroleum engineer, exploring employment options in Washington can open doors to lucrative career paths and substantial growth potential due to the state’s focus on energy development and innovation.

Delaware has been discussed as one of the best states, followed by Texas – let’s see what Nevada has to offer!

Finding Petroleum Engineering Jobs

Discovering petroleum engineering jobs can be exciting and challenging, especially with the diverse opportunities available in this field. If you’re ready to explore career prospects and learn about the top companies hiring, keep reading for valuable insights and tips on how to land that dream job.

Top Companies Hiring

Looking for a job in petroleum engineering? Check out the top companies that are hiring in the industry:

  1. ExxonMobil: As one of the largest publicly traded international oil and gas companies, ExxonMobil offers various opportunities for petroleum engineering professionals.
  2. Chevron Corporation: A leading integrated energy company, Chevron Corporation provides diverse roles for petroleum engineers, including exploration and production positions.
  3. Schlumberger: This global provider of technology for reservoir characterization, drilling, production, and processing to the oil and gas industry seeks skilled petroleum engineers.
  4. Halliburton: With a focus on delivering value to its customers through innovative technology and service offerings, Halliburton is always in search of talented professionals in the field of petroleum engineering.
  5. ConocoPhillips: An independent exploration and production company engaging in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas seeks skilled petroleum engineers to join their team.
  6. BP p.l.c.: Operating at every stage of the energy lifecycle from oil fields to refineries, BP p.l.c remains an appealing employer for aspiring and experienced petroleum engineers alike.
  7. Royal Dutch Shell plc: Known for its commitment to responsible energy solutions, Shell offers various roles within its downstream business that may interest those pursuing a career in petroleum engineering.
  8. Weatherford International: As a leading provider of equipment and services used in the drilling, evaluation, completion, production, and intervention of oil wells, Weatherford International continually looks for qualified petroleum engineers.

Job Search Tips

When looking for petroleum engineering jobs, it’s important to employ effective strategies to secure the right opportunity. Here are some tips to help you in your job search:

  1. Utilize Industry Resources: Stay updated with industry publications, websites, and forums. Engage with professional organizations and attend networking events to stay connected with the latest job openings.
  2. Tailor Your Resume: Customize your resume for each application by highlighting relevant skills and experiences that match the job requirements. This can significantly improve your chances of getting noticed by employers.
  3. Leverage Online Platforms: Make use of online job portals, company websites, and social media platforms to explore job postings and connect with recruiters or professionals in the field.
  4. Network Effectively: Build professional relationships within the industry by leveraging connections from internships, alumni networks, or industry events. Networking can often lead to unadvertised job opportunities.
  5. Prepare for Interviews: Research about the company and position before an interview. Practice answering common interview questions related to petroleum engineering roles and showcase your enthusiasm for the field during interviews.
  6. Show Initiative: Proactively reach out to companies you are interested in working for, even if they do not have current job vacancies listed. Expressing genuine interest can leave a positive impression on potential employers.
  7. Gain Practical Experience: Consider internships or co-op programs during your education as they provide valuable hands-on experience and often serve as pipelines into full-time positions after graduation.
  8. Stay Persistent and Positive: Job searching can be challenging at times, but remaining persistent and maintaining a positive attitude is crucial in securing a position in petroleum engineering.

Best States for Related Jobs

As a student aspiring to enter the field of petroleum engineering, it’s essential to be aware of the best states for related jobs. Here are the top states where you can find promising opportunities in the petroleum engineering sector:

  1. Texas: Known as the heart of the oil and gas industry, Texas offers abundant job prospects for petroleum engineers. The state is home to numerous oil and gas companies, providing a multitude of employment options.
  2. Alaska: Renowned for its rich oil reserves, Alaska presents an attractive destination for petroleum engineers. The state’s thriving energy sector creates a demand for skilled professionals in this field.
  3. North Dakota: With its significant presence in shale oil production, North Dakota has emerged as a favorable location for petroleum engineering careers. The state’s ongoing exploration and extraction activities contribute to the demand for qualified professionals.
  4. California: As a hub for technological innovation in the energy sector, California offers diverse opportunities for petroleum engineers. The state’s focus on sustainable energy solutions broadens the scope for career advancement in this field.
  5. Oklahoma: Recognized as a prominent contributor to national oil production, Oklahoma provides a conducive environment for pursuing a career in petroleum engineering. The state’s robust energy infrastructure supports employment growth in this industry.
  6. Louisiana: Boasting extensive offshore drilling operations and petrochemical facilities, Louisiana stands out as a prime location for petroleum engineering jobs. Its strategic position within the Gulf Coast enhances employment prospects within the sector.
  7. Colorado: With its burgeoning oil and gas developments, Colorado presents promising avenues for aspiring petroleum engineers. The state’s evolving energy landscape fosters an environment conducive to professional growth and innovation.
  8. New Mexico: Home to flourishing oil and gas reserves, New Mexico offers compelling prospects for individuals seeking employment in petroleum engineering. Its dynamic energy initiatives create diverse career pathways within the sector.

Conclusion and Summary of Top Paying Jobs in Oil & Gas Production

In conclusion, petroleum engineering offers lucrative career opportunities with high demand and potential for growth. The top paying jobs in oil and gas production include completion engineers, drilling engineers, and production engineers.

These roles provide competitive salaries and advancement prospects in the industry. By obtaining the necessary education, skills, and certifications, you can position yourself for success in this field.

Embrace the practical benefits of pursuing a career in petroleum engineering while considering the impact it can have on your professional development and financial stability. Explore further resources to deepen your understanding of this dynamic and rewarding profession as you embark on an exciting journey towards a fulfilling career in petroleum engineering.

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