Petroleum engineers are professionals specialized in devising methods and strategies for searching out and accessing the deposits of oil and natural gas. Their duties also involve supervising the construction, the operations and the maintenance at the job site. They work in cooperation with other professionals such as the geologists and drilling operators.

Their role in quenching the world’s thirst for oil commands high salaries making the petroleum engineers among the well-paid professionals with an average salary of $147, 470 in 2012. This is excluding the benefit packages that average at a minimum of $65,238 per annum. In addition to the insurance benefits and retirement plans, many petroleum engineers also receive bonuses and housing allowances.


=> High School

Math classes such as algebra and calculus prepare one for an engineering degree as do science classes like chemistry, biology and physics. Languages like English plus a foreign language help shape up the communication skills.

=> Bachelor’s Degree

The degree takes an average of four years to complete in which a student learns basic engineering principles and practices through classwork, labs and fieldwork. The course is considered a branch of engineering and cover topics like rock properties, introduction to petroleum engineering, computer applications, natural gas engineering and well construction.

=> Optional Master’s Degree

So far, an approximate of 20 schools and universities offer the Petroleum Engineering program. Some of these schools combine the masters and degree program in five years while others run a six-year program that also includes work experience. Those completing a master’s degree may qualify for jobs in research or university teaching.


All self-employed engineers must be licensed. For this, a minimum of bachelor degree from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. One must pass the preliminary Fundamentals of Engineering exam and complete at least four years of qualifying work. They must also pass the Principle and Practice of Engineering Examination.

A license may be optional if one works under a licensed engineer.


Petroleum engineering experience during school is a great start as most college engineering programs give credit whenever working in an engineering environment. Creativity to be able to design different equipment for oil drilling in different environments, team-work spirit and good communication skills to interact with people from other professions are fundamental.

While the job is a sure intellectual challenge with long working hours that requires technical expertise and problem solving ability, the engineers enjoy the luxury of travelling all over the world even as they derive personal satisfaction from helping other through supplying energy to the nation and the world.


This is not a mandatory requirement although those having them have increased job opportunities. The Society of Petroleum Engineers offers membership with its association and certification. Getting a license can also increase job opportunities and result to higher wages. A license requires passing two exams and about four years of professional engineering experience.

Specialization in the field of Petroleum Engineering has been on the rise. This is attributed to the fact that this sector needs to develop new resources and extraction methods from the existing sources of petroleum.