What Is the Typical Salary of a Petroleum Engineer?

Petroleum engineers explore new and more cost-efficient ways to remove oil and natural gas from reservoirs, whether by designing new drilling equipment or developing new extraction techniques. Read on to learn about how your salary can vary based upon factors like your location and the type of company you work for. Schools offering Nuclear Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Salary Overview

According to Payscale.com, the median annual salary of petroleum engineers was $99,546 as of September 2015. That's a median hourly wage of $42.00. Salaries can vary based upon what kind of company you work for and where your job is located.

Important Facts About Petroleum Engineers

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Work Environment Office, research laboratory, drilling site
Similar Occupations Aerospace engineer, architectural manager, chemist
Key Skills Analytical skills, creativity, mathematics, problem solving

Salaries Based on Industry

Chances are, if you work as a petroleum engineer, you'll be employed by a company that extracts crude oil and gas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), these companies employed 15,310 of the 33,740 petroleum engineers working in the United States in May 2014. Engineers working in this industry earned the third highest mean wage at $157,790 a year.

Companies within the scientific and technical services industry were the highest-paying; the BLS reports that their yearly mean wage was $230,230. Mining support activities, which employed 5,360 employees, paid a much lower mean wage of $118,550 as of May 2014. Other industries with high mean wages included, company and enterprise management, natural gas pipeline transportation, and financial investment. However, employment levels were much lower in these industries.

Salaries Based on Location

According to a 2015 report published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Eagleville field in Texas produced the most oil in the United States as of 2013 (www.eia.doe.gov). Located in the same state, the Spraberry Trend Area took second place that year. The BLS reported in May 2014 that more than half of the petroleum engineers working in the United States were located in Texas. Their mean annual salary was $158,770 at that time, which makes Texas the highest-paying state for this occupation. Other states with the highest-paid engineers in this field include Virgina, New Jersey, Alaska, and Colorado.

Job Outlook

According to 2012-2022 employment projections from the BLS, petroleum job growth will be much faster than average at 26%. The BLS expects favorable job prospects due to increased demand for oil and gas extraction, as well as the retirement of those in the field. As of May 2014, states with the highest employment levels in petroleum engineering included Texas, Oklahoma, California, Colorado, and Louisiana.

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