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Petroleum Engineers

Petroleum Engineers
Quick Facts : Petroleum Engineers*
2010 Median Pay$114,080
Entry Level EducationBachelor's degree
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 201230,200
Job Outlook17% (About as fast as average)
Employment Change5,100

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth?s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.

What Petroleum Engineers Do

  • Design equipment to extract oil and gas in the most profitable way
  • Develop plans to drill in oil and gas fields, and then to recover the oil and gas
  • Make sure that wells, well testing, and well surveys are completed and evaluated
  • Use computer-controlled drilling or fracturing to connect a larger area of an oil and gas deposit to a single well
  • Make sure that oil field equipment is installed, operated, and maintained properly

Work Environment

Petroleum engineers generally work in offices or in research laboratories. However, they must also spend time at drilling sites, often for long periods of time.
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Job Outlook

Employment of petroleum engineers is expected to grow 17 percent from 2010 to 2020, however, oil prices will be a major determinant of employment growth.
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The average salary for petroleum engineers was $114,080 in May 2010.
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Petroleum Engineers*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Petroleum Engineers


Architecture and Engineering Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Petroleum Engineers*
Percent Change in Employment

Petroleum Engineers


Architecture and Engineering Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Petroleum Engineers

Entry-level petroleum engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree programs typically take 4 years and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies in areas such as engineering principles, geology, and thermodynamics.
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