Types of Degrees Petroleum Engineering Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many petroleum engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Petroleum Engineering Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to petroleum engineering and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Petroleum Engineering Majors
Petroleum Engineering majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Skills for Petroleum Engineering Majors
When studying petroleum engineering, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Abilities for Petroleum Engineering Majors
As you progress with your petroleum engineering degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
What Can You Do With a Petroleum Engineering Major?
People with a petroleum engineering degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||5.5%||$140,760|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of petroleum engineering majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||56|
|Hispanic or Latino||194|
Students from other countries are interested in Petroleum Engineering, too. About 27.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- Saudi Arabia
How Much Do Petroleum Engineering Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering have a median salary of $65,500 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $60,350 (25th percentile) and $73,250 (75th percentile).
One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to petroleum engineering.
Salaries According to BLS
Petroleum Engineering majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $113,680 to $156,370 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Petroleum Engineering
Some degrees associated with petroleum engineering may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to petroleum engineering have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||0.7%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||5.4%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||3.0%|
Online Petroleum Engineering Programs
In 2018-2019, 30 schools offered a petroleum engineering program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||1||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||0||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||15||1|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||1||0|
Is a Degree in Petroleum Engineering Worth It?
The median salary for a petroleum engineering grad is $148,970 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 273% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $2,181,400 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Petroleum Engineering
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to petroleum engineering.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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