A petroleum engineering salary depends on many factors, including educational background, experience, location, size of the company and advanced credentials. There are lofty responsibilities and high levels of knowledge associated with the Petroleum Engineering field. Safety of the sites, the employees, and the environment as a whole requires years of education, experience, and knowledge on the part of the incumbent, and that means fair compensation—which the best petroleum engineers earn.
The Market Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the project growth of petroleum engineers is expected to rise 26% from 2012 to 2022. They report that the lower percentile of salary is around 75k per year, the median salary is 130k per year, and the higher percentile is around 187k per year.
According to the Society of Petroleum Engineers, a drilling engineer is reported to have a salary of around 212k, a completion engineer around 197k, a production engineer around 194k, and a reservoir engineer around 187k. The Society of Petroleum Engineers also states that some starting salaries are around 75k per year.
Salary can also change according to factors such as drilling, production, completions, and reservoirs. Your total number of work hours also matters, as full-timers work well beyond the standard 40 hour work week. Additional hours may be involved in traveling time, as they may often be requested in person for assistance. When drilling begins, engineers work on an on-call rotation basis. For example it is common to be on call 84 hours and then to take off 84 hours completely. For these consistently stressful conditions, you do receive a substantial reward.
A Degree That Pays Off
A starting petroleum engineer salary is noted to be higher than average. In fact, it topped the list of the 10 top-paid majors for Class of 2013 bachelor’s degree graduates, (National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) coming in at $97,000, about $27,000 more than the closest competition, which was computer engineering. It also topped the list of “Majors That Pay You Back”, a study by PayScale, which put the salary potential of both starting salary and mid-career median pay ahead of lucrative jobs like Actuarial Mathematics and Nuclear Engineering.
Education Matters, But Work Also Matters
Ensuring the best education possible involves some research into the colleges and universities that provide the required curriculums related to the field. Some of the best schools for petroleum engineering may also provide online education for those who want to attend school while working their current job or to fit into their lifestyle.
Graduate students have the potential to earn more than bachelor degree students, considering that they have more options in the way of research and education, and can even serve as mentors to their fellow colleagues. Remember that there is greater potential in working internationally with a master’s degree since international companies may hire students that have a postgraduate degree, as this could be the minimum qualification for certain countries with high standards. Salaries are also higher for entry-level graduates who have obtained chartered status and membership of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining or the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Work experience is highly desirable for entry-level students, which is why some sources find that students with years of work experience can earn more—and that the more years of work behind them they have, the more salary they merit. Beyond work experience, the field of specialty also plays a part. Reservoir engineers typically earn far more than production engineers.
The competitiveness of the industry is something to take seriously. The growth of the industry, not to mention the publicity, has alerted students to aggressively pursue any and all opportunities. Furthermore fewer oilfield discoveries have been made in recent years, which complicates matters.
In order to separate yourself from the competition, establish yourself as an experienced engineer, while also marketing yourself as a mobile and flexible person to work with. Even if you don’t get hired immediately, there is still potential for self-employment. If you have at least five years of work experience, you can make a great case for yourself as a contractor offering state-licensed services.
Start by Going Back to School
As you can see, this is a job that rewards effort and that is only set to grow in the near future. Why not make a change and educate yourself for a rewarding career in petroleum engineering? This is a career that’s bankable and one that you are qualified to excel in. The right path is going back to school to earn a degree that actually pays well and returns investment. The ten Top Petroleum Engineering Schools are:
- University of Texas- Austin
- Texas A & M
- Colorado School of Mines
- Stanford University
- New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
- University of Southern California
- University of Oklahoma
- Texas Tech
- University of Louisiana-Lafayette
- University of Alaska
The choice to succeed is yours!