Petroleum Engineer Salaries

The median annual wage for petroleum engineers is $128,230. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $73,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

The median annual wages for petroleum engineers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises$153,320
Engineering services140,510
Oil and gas extraction134,440
Petroleum and coal products manufacturing123,580
Support activities for mining106,340

Petroleum engineers typically work full time. However, about 1 in 3 work more than 40 hours a week. Overtime may be necessary when traveling to and from drilling and well sites to help in their operation or respond to problems when they arise.

Job Outlook for Petroleum Engineers

Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 15 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 4,900 new jobs over the 10-year period.

Oil prices will be a major determinant of employment growth. Because many petroleum engineers work in oil and gas extraction, any changes in oil prices will likely affect employment levels. Higher prices can cause oil and gas companies to increase capital investment in new facilities and expand existing production operations. Typically, companies also expand exploration for new reserves of oil and gas when prices are high.

Demand for petroleum engineers in support activities for mining also should be strong, as large oil and gas companies find it convenient and cost effective to contract production and drilling work to these firms on an as-needed basis.

Job Prospects for Petroleum Engineers

Job prospects are expected to be good because of projected growth and because many petroleum engineers may retire or leave the occupation for other reasons over the next decade.

Employment projections data for Petroleum Engineers, 2016-26
Occupational TitleEmployment, 2016Projected Employment, 2026Change, 2016-26
Petroleum engineers33,70038,600154,900

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