Petroleum Engineering Major: Which Option Pays More Than Others In 2022?

Apart from passion, another most important factor to consider when choosing a petroleum engineering major is Marketability.

In selecting any petroleum engineering major, you need to learn about their roles, pay, and responsibilities to know which area you can fit in. While most students go for options that attract higher pay others focus on the roles and responsibilities attached to these subdisciplines.

We have highlighted in this article a few majors that are available in the petroleum engineering field. You will also learn about the roles, salary, and job prospects attached to these majors. This will create a smooth journey for your career in this field.

Petroleum engineering overlaps with many engineering disciplines like mechanical, aerospace, and civil engineering. It is a broad discipline that contains subdivisions also known as majors.

According to reports from Payscale and Glassdoor, individuals in Petroleum Engineering major earn the highest salary which ranges within six figures per year. One of the biggest factors responsible for their high pay are the experience level.

Maybe you want to enroll in the petroleum engineering discipline but you don’t which option will benefit you the most. Well, It is important you learn about it in other to increase your chances of getting a job that aligns with your career path. 

The table below will give you an overview if what to expect.

What Is Petroleum Engineering?

Petroleum engineering deals with the exploration, extraction, and production of crude oil or natural gas.

A petroleum engineer or gas engineer determines the most efficient way to drill and evaluate oil and gas reservoirs to determine their profitability.

To become a Petroleum engineer, you need a broad knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, heat transfer, mass transfer, electricity, manufacturing processes, and economics.

Why Choose Petroleum Engineering Majors?

The primary role of a Petroleum Engineer is to oversee how production is carried out, what methods are used for retrieving natural gas and oil from various types of resources, including underground sources.

Petroleum engineering is very broad and therefore is broken into a subdivision called majors. However, choosing a major in this field is simply seeking an area of specialization.

For instance, you can choose to work in the drilling sites as a petroleum engineer, to function effectively, you have to select drilling engineering and major at it. This will enable you to learn all the skills required for you to work at the sea specializing in drilling ships.

Generally, choosing a Petroleum Engineering major will enable you to contribute to solving the global challenge of meeting the increased demand in the oil and gas industry.

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Petroleum Engineering Major?

Petroleum engineering schools offer a wide range of programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. To choose a major in petroleum engineering, you must first, gain admission into an accredited institution.

You will be exposed to basic petroleum engineering courses in your first year. Undergraduate coursework typically takes four years to complete, while the postgraduate curriculum takes a year or two years to complete.

The training begins with a solid foundation in science and engineering. For 2 years, you can expect to take lectures and basic engineering classes where you are exposed to basic electrical & electronics engineering, mechanical engineering, ICT, and other content relevant to the field of engineering.

Graduates of this program will gain knowledge on how to Evaluate potential oil and gas reservoirs, oversee drilling activities, Design surface collection, and treatment facilities.

Furthermore, a master’s in petroleum engineering opens up many potential career paths for individuals in this field. They go into deeper research and gain a broad understanding of the oil and gas formation.

How Much Does It Cost To enroll In Petroleum engineering Majors?

The cost of getting a degree whether an undergraduate or advanced degree in petroleum engineering is dependent on quite a number of factors. First is the school and degree option.

Most Petroleum engineering schools charge higher tuition for out-of-state students. However, some schools charge flat tuition regardless of residency.

Another key factor is the number of programs. A school that offers a greater number of programs is bound to charge more compared to that with a lesser number of programs.

In summary, per-credit costs for petroleum engineering graduate programs typically range from $8,206 and $21,661 per year for students in a standard or full-time program.

If you worried about how to fund your program, you can access 401+ Scholarships for Engineering students.

What Are The Various Petroleum Engineering Majors?

The elective courses required for Petroleum Engineering majors vary considerably among institutions. The Courses we’ve have listed here are typically found in top petroleum engineering schools across the world.

In most cases, you may need more than just a bachelor’s degree to choose a major in this field that is why a lot of people seek a master’s degree in petroleum engineering to qualify for positions in technical or managerial areas.

Our criteria for ranking of these majors are based on their salaries, job outlook, and many other relevant factors. We got our data from the popular BLS and other reliable sources.

  • Completion Engineering
  • Drilling Engineering
  • Reservoir Engineering
  • Facility Engineering
  • Production Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Energy Economics
  • Ocean Engineering

Completion Engineering

Average Salary: $196,000

Completion Engineers according to data from BLS, are the highest-paid majors in petroleum engineering. These professionals are responsible for optimizing workover design and operations.

They develop horizontal and multilateral well, determining primary and remedial cementing procedures together with the development and installation of tubes, packers, subsurface control and surveillance equipment, and preparing cost estimates and risk study.

Their role also includes overseeing work to complete the building of wells, which might involve the use of tubing, hydraulic fracturing, or pressure-control techniques.

In fact, they decide the best way to finish building wells so that oil or gas will flow up from the underground.

Drilling Engineering

 Average Salary: $132,280

Drilling engineering is one of the most popular petroleum engineering majors. Professionals in this major design, manage and implement procedures to drill wells.

They work closely with the drilling contractor, service contractors, and compliance personnel, as well as with geologists and other technical specialists.

Their role is to determine the best way to drill oil or gas wells, taking into account a number of factors, including cost. They also ensure that the drilling process is safe, efficient, and minimally disruptive to the environment.

To major in this discipline, you must have an undergraduate engineering degree, four years of work experience, and a track record of ethical job performance.

Once you meet the above criteria, you write an exam to meet the conditions of SPE membership, including continuing education.

Reservoir Engineering

Average Salary: $145,825

Reservoir engineers apply scientific principles to the fluid flow through a porous medium during the development and production of oil and gas reservoirs so as to obtain a high economic recovery.

These professionals use their knowledge of fluid mechanics to determine the location and amount of oil in the underground reservoirs. They work with advanced equipment such as computer modeling and imaging programs to locate reserves of oil and natural gas.

Their job is to estimate how much oil or gas can be recovered from underground deposits, known as reservoirs. They study reservoirs’ characteristics and determine which methods will get the most oil or gas out of them. They also monitor operations to ensure that the optimal levels of these resources are being recovered.

To function well as a reservoir engineer, you need an understanding of mathematics, economics, physics, and mechanical engineering.

Facility Engineering

Average Salary: $126,742 

The job of a Facility Engineer is to collect and review data concerning facilities and equipment. They thoroughly analyze the cost of a facility. The role also includes overseeing the need of a project and develop a management control strategy that will reduce the cost.

A facility engineer must be observant, possess a good mathematical and analytical skills.

Production Engineering

Average Salary: $110,000 

Production engineering is another popular petroleum engineering major. Individuals in this field select equipment for surface facilities that separate and measure the produced fluids, prepare the oil and gas for transportation to market, and handle disposal of any water and impurities.

Production engineers also recommend modifications to maximize the efficiency of oil and gas recovery.

They typically monitor wells’ oil and gas production. If wells are not producing as much as expected, production engineers figure out ways to increase the amount being extracted. In fact, they take over wells after drilling is completed.

Nuclear Engineer

Average Salary: $86,706

Nuclear engineering is an interesting major in the petroleum engineering field. Nuclear engineers apply mathematical and scientific principles to design, develop, operate, and evaluate systems for controlling and manipulating nuclear energy.

Energy Economics

Average Salary: $77,270

Energy or Petroleum Economists apply economic techniques analysis in the development of oil and gas exploration and production projects. They analyze business conditions and develop financial strategies that are critical to a company’s success.

Ocean Engineering

Average Salary: $69,673

Ocean engineers design systems to monitor, control, and operate within coastal or ocean environments, such as underwater platforms, flood control systems, dikes, hydroelectric power systems, tide, and current control and warning systems, and communications.

To become an ocean engineer you have the ability to work well as a team member and adeptness in the usage of a computer and its various applications and program.

Which Are The Best School For Petroleum Engineering Majors?

Below is a list of best schools you can offer petroleum engineering majors. These schools offer top-quality programs and are well recognized globally.

They also rank in annual publications such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Monthly, and many others.

Our selection criteria of these schools are based on their academic reputation, employability rate, accreditation and several other ranking factors.

  • University of Tulsa
  • University of Aberdeen
  • Montanuniversität Leoben
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Polytechnic University of Turin
  • Texas A&M University

You can see more details about the best petroleum engineering school in the world right here

What is the Job Outlook For Petroleum Engineers Generally?

Data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics shows that the Overall employment of petroleum engineers( Including Production engineer, Facility engineer, Nuclear engineer among others) is projected to 3 percent from 2018 to 2028, slower than the average for all occupations.

However, oil prices will be a major determinant of employment growth. Higher prices can cause oil and gas companies to increase capital investment in new facilities and expand existing production operations, along with exploration.

What Kind of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Petroleum Engineers Have?

Do you know being a part of a professional association can be beneficial for you as a petroleum engineer? This is very necessary especially if you are a fresh graduate or enrolled in a graduate program.

These associations offer not only continuing education opportunities but connect you to online publications, invitations to networking events, and information about job openings.

Furthermore, if you want to work in any oil and gas industry as a petroleum engineer, you must get licensure. So, to qualify, you will be required to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.

Usually, petroleum engineering students take the FE exam upon graduation. With your passing grade on the FE, you are called engineers-in-training (EITs). When you finally pass the Professional Engineer (PE) exam you now claim the Engineer title.

To qualify for the Professional Engineer (PE) exam, EITs must have four years of relevant work experience. 

Here are the professional organizations you can identify yourself with as a petroleum engineer.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers 

The society of petroleum engineers(SPE) is an organizational body dedicated to spreading technical knowledge about petroleum engineering and improving the skills of members through professional development.

The National Society of Professional Engineers

This is the authority that is responsible for licensure, ethics, and practice in the engineering profession. Through NSPE, you can have access to the job board, salary information, a mentoring program, and resume writing services.

NSPE also organizes six interest groups for construction, government, higher education, industry, private practice, and young engineers.

After high school, before you choose a college with a petroleum engineering major, you have to learn about what is obtainable in these subdisciplines. The information provided on our page will guide you on how to choose the best majors for you.

Frequently Asked Questions On Petroleum Engineering Major

The average annual salary for a drilling engineer is $132,280.

Completion Engineering
Drilling Engineering
Reservoir Engineering
Facility Engineering
Production Engineering
Nuclear Engineering
Energy Economist
Ocean Engineer

The average annual salary is $110,000 per year.


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