Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth's surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.
Petroleum engineers generally work in offices or in research laboratories. However, they also must spend time at drilling sites, often for long periods of time.
Petroleum engineers must have a bachelor's degree in engineering, preferably in petroleum engineering. However, a bachelor's degree in mechanical or chemical engineering may also meet employer requirements. Employers also value work experience, so cooperative engineering programs, in which students earn academic credit and job experience, are valuable as well.
The median annual wage for petroleum engineers was $129,990 in May 2015.
Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Oil prices will be a major determinant of employment growth. As higher prices lead to increasing complexity of oil companies' operations, more engineers may be required for each drilling operation.
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