Main Navigation

Related Resources

Community Colleges


Petroleum Engineers

Prospects are gushing for petroleum engineers! You can be a part of the world's future in energy!
Want to be a part of the world's future in energy?Prospects are gushing for petroleum engineers!  Petroleum engineers are in short supply and starting salaries are among the highest of any engineering occupations. Work in this field is high-tech and exciting.

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods to extract oil and natural gas from deposits or reservoirs below the surface of the Earth. In addition, old wells that seem dried up can sometimes still be mined from if a petroleum engineer can design a new method of extraction (e.g. hydraulic fracturing or fracking). Currently, the most advanced techniques are only recovering a portion of oil and gas available in the reservoirs, so petroleum engineers act as a think tank for new and improved methods of extraction.

Some factors to Consider Before Becoming a Petroleum Engineer:

  • Travel to drilling sites occurs sometimes with little notice
  • Flexible time schedules when working internationally
  • Often long days over 40 hours a week. (On site, engineers may do 84 hours on and then 84 hours off.)

Estimates show an annual job opening among Petroleum Engineers in the Gulf Coast Region of 993! 

Petroleum Engineers Annual No. of Job Openings

Petroleum Engineers start out making DOUBLE the regional average and steadily get past $200,000 annually!

Petroleum Engineers start out making double the regional average and steadily get past $200,000 annually!

Pathway to Earning a Degree In Petroleum Engineering

High School Endorsement: STEM

Start in high school by taking advanced math and science classes following the STEM Endorsement track. Bachelor's degree programs in engineering typically are designed to last four years, but many students find that it takes between four and five years to complete their studies. Strive to get good grades throughout high school and seek college preparatory and advanced
placement programs. 

After completing a B.S. in petroleum engineering, you could be assigned to an office position for orientation before being sent out for field experience. Some entry-level experiences include well-work operations, facilities productions, surveillance activities, or even drilling. Large numbers of petroleum engineers can be found in our region, as well as, Louisiana, Alaska, California, and the Rocky Mountain States. Petroleum Engineers have opportunities for work throughout the world on land, offshore and in deep water.

What would it take to be a Petroleum Engineer?*

These skills, interests, and knowledge areas are recommended for a career as a petroleum engineer. The numbers below describe the relative important of each knowledge/skill area to the occupation.


Engineering and Technology

Knowledge and interests in practical applications of engineering sciences to apply to the production of technologies to the oil & gas industry.



Knowing arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, and their theories to apply them to real world problems.



Knowing and being able to predict physical laws and relationships to understand various dynamic structures and processes


Computers & Electronics

Knowing both operations and basic programming of computers, hardware, software and other electronic equipment.

*Source: Texas Career Check

Advancement & Certification

For higher levels of occupational independence in the future, chemical engineers can obtain a Professional Engineer (PE) license. The following must be obtained to get a PE license from the State Board of Professional Engineers:

The Society of Petroleum Engineers also offers voluntary qualifications for Petroleum Engineering Certification to demonstrate recognition of the engineer's skill and professionalism.


What do Petroleum Engineers do?      Work with the latest technology     Analyze oil and gas fields to determine their size     Determine drilling methods     Monitor drilling and production of oil and gas wells     Design equipment and processes to maximize how much oil and gas is recovered  Types of petroleum engineering jobs      Drilling engineer     Production engineer     Reservoir engineer     Completion engineer     Environmental engineer     And many more!

Petroleum Engineers can also be:

  • Drilling engineers
  • Production engineers
  • Reservoir engineers
  • Completion engineers
  • Environmental engineers
  • And many more!



Petroleum Engineering Programs


Major Employers in the Gulf Coast Region


If you have questions about our Industry/Occupation Profiles or are an organization in the Gulf Coast Region, please contact

*Includes the following counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.

Return To Top