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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.

Salary Overview

According to Payscale.com, the mean annual salary of petroleum engineers was $101,399 as of March 2021. That's a median hourly wage of $48.86. 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 8,920 of the 33,400 petroleum engineers working in the United States in May 2020. Engineers working in this industry earned a mean wage of $154,470 a year.

Companies within the securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities were the highest-paying; the BLS reports that their yearly mean wage was $205,330. Other pipeline transportation industries, which employed 150 employees, paid a much lower mean wage of $114,490 as of May 2020. Other industries with high mean wages included, employment services.

Salaries Based on Location

The BLS reported in May 2020 that more than half of the petroleum engineers working in the United States were located in Texas. Their mean annual salary was $169,760 at that time, which makes Texas second highest-paying states for this occupation. Other states with the highest-paid engineers in this field include New Jersey, Florida, Colorado and Oklahoma.

Job Outlook

According to 2019-2029 employment projections from the BLS, petroleum job growth will be as fast as average at 3%. 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 2020, states with the highest employment levels in petroleum engineering included Texas, California, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Colorado.