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How Much Do Petroleum Engineers Make?

A quick guide for those who want to become petroleum engineers.

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While most of you already know that petroleum engineers earn the most among all engineers, do you know what exactly do they do? Do they get greased up with all the oil in their jobs or do they get to work in laboratories and corporate offices instead? Let this article be a quick guide for you to understand what exactly petroleum engineers do.

Let’s start with the requirements to become one.

Petroleum engineers obtain their bachelor’s degree in engineering (petroleum engineering to be exact). Other fields of engineering that can be applied to the field are mechanical and chemical engineering. In order to get the job, the applicant must meet the requirements of the job.

If you’re a high school student interested to become a petroleum engineer in the future, take high school courses in math, biology, chemistry and physics. Now that’s a lot of science and technology studies but they’re actually fun to learn (definitely no sarcasm there). Then check which universities and colleges offer good petroleum engineering programs.


Important skills that need to be developed include problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Since a petroleum engineer needs to work with others a lot so developing interpersonal skills is a must. For licenses, one does not require a license to practice the profession during entry level. As one gets promoted to have more responsibilities, duties and perks of the job, a professional license is needed.

What exactly do petroleum engineers do?

They find ways to extract oil and gas from the earth’s surfaces in the most efficient way there is. Since oil is found beneath the surface, petroleum engineers figure out a way to develop machineries, inject the right chemicals to pump out the oils enough to supply the demand of costumers. There are different types of petroleum engineers with different jobs on the field: reservoirs engineers, production engineers, completion engineers and drilling engineers.

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Petroleum engineers usually work in research laboratories or in corporate offices. They go to drilling sites often as well to check on progresses in the project, which usually means they work overtime there.

How much exactly do petroleum engineers make annually?

According to the US Department of Labor, they earn between $100,000 to $160,000 depending on the field they’re in.

If you’re asking if there will be jobs available for petroleum engineers in the future, job demand is set to increase 10 percent from 2014 to 2024. Employment also depends on the oil prices since higher prices can cause a demand in more engineers for new projects

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Hina Sapra

Content Writer, South Asia. Hina is a former news correspondent at Times of India


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