Petroleum Engineers: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Petroleum Engineers

Petroleum Engineers devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice.

Becoming One
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth


Job description

Petroleum Engineers devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice.

  • Assess costs and estimate the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
  • Develop plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment.
  • Direct and monitor the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys.
  • Analyze data to recommend placement of wells and supplementary processes to enhance production.
Read more about what does a Petroleum Engineer really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$156370 per year

Average hourly wage
$75 per hour

Petroleum Engineers with little to no experience tend to make between $74270 and $103610 while the more experienced ones can earn over $191780 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
IN $95 $198,590
NJ $93 $194,340
TX $81 $169,010
AK $78 $161,290
CO $74 $153,640

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Petroleum Engineer is to move to a higher paying state like IN. Right now, the highest paying states for Petroleum Engineers are IN, NJ, TX, AK and CO.

However, a higher pay at IN doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at IN might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Petroleum Engineer is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Bachelor’s degree

We asked other Petroleum Engineers what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Bachelor’s Degree followed by a Master’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Petroleum Engineering
Read more about how to become a Petroleum Engineer and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Petroleum Engineer.

Suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
Suitable for people who wants job security and a good working condition
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
One of the highest paid careers in the world
Not suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

80% of Petroleum Engineers said they were satisfied with their job and 66% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Thinkers and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Learn more about Petroleum Engineers

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Job Description

Related career information

Petroleum Engineers job description, Petroleum Engineers salary, Petroleum Engineers information, what is the job of a Petroleum Engineer like, pros and cons about Petroleum Engineers, colleges and universities for Petroleum Engineers, is Petroleum Engineers the right career for me, careers in Architecture and Engineering

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