How To Become a Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering or a related field, such as mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering. Cooperative-education programs, in which students gain practical experience while earning academic credit, may be beneficial.

A career as a petroleum engineer can be both financially and personally rewarding. Petroleum engineers have the opportunity to use their knowledge and skills to make an impact in the world of energy, helping to shape the future by developing new technologies and methods of harnessing the energy within oil and gas fields. As a petroleum engineer, you will be responsible for designing, constructing, and testing the processes and equipment that are used to extract oil and gas from the ground, as well as managing the development of new and existing wells. Becoming a petroleum engineer requires a combination of education, experience, and technical skills to ensure you have the necessary knowledge and abilities to excel in this field. This blog post will provide an overview of the steps you need to take to become a petroleum engineer. We will outline the educational requirements, key skills and knowledge, and the experience needed to break into the industry. We will also provide you with advice and tips to help you maximize your success as a petroleum engineer.

Become a Petroleum Engineer in 2021? – Salary, Jobs, Major

Types of petroleum engineers

To help distinguish focus and expertise, petroleum engineers can be categorized into a few different groups. As a result, multiple engineers may work on the same project, each serving a different function. The different types of petroleum engineers are usually:

What does a petroleum engineer do?

Petroleum engineers create strategies for obtaining natural gas and oil from the earth. They create new tools and methods for protecting the extraction of these natural resources. Additionally, they are in charge of choosing the proper drills and materials to use in various locations when extracting from both old and new wells. Petroleum engineers concentrate on particular aspects of the drilling process due to the wide range of their responsibilities. Common responsibilities include:

The average salary of a petroleum engineer

These jobs typically pay more because they require more responsibility and education. Salary varies according to background, training, specialization, and type of engineer. This estimate is based on data anonymously provided by roughly 117 salaries reported to Indeed and gathered from previous and current job postings within a 36-month period.

How to become a petroleum engineer

In order to practice, petroleum engineers must complete at least four years of education. Here are the basic steps to becoming a petroleum engineer:

1. Earn a high school diploma

Obtaining a high school diploma or GED is the first requirement for becoming a petroleum engineer. To get ready for college, try taking chemistry, biology, calculus, and other math and science courses.

2. Get a bachelors degree

An engineering or petroleum engineering bachelor’s degree typically requires four years to complete. A thorough foundation will be provided in the first two years, and advanced work in the final two years will cover various geological courses to comprehend rock formations. You can also enroll in classes in environmental science, fundamental computer application systems, and engineering.

Take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam close to the conclusion of your undergraduate program. You must pass a 6-hour computer-based exam with 110 questions in order to receive the designation of Engineer-in-Training. Being an EIT demonstrates that you are on the right track to obtaining the professional engineer license that many employers seek.

3. Consider a graduate degree

Even though a graduate degree isn’t always necessary, it’s preferred by many employers and could boost your earning potential. Some colleges allow students to pursue both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree simultaneously. This option frequently includes paid work and fieldwork, which could help you qualify for leadership or teaching positions.

4. Get experience

Four years of engineering experience under the supervision of a licensed engineer are required to obtain an engineering license. Placement assistance is frequently provided by your college or university, and the National Society of Professional Engineers regularly posts job openings on their website.

5. Gain licensure

Every state requires independently-employed or contracted engineers to be licensed. It validates your expertise and qualifications to employers and clients. State-specific requirements vary, but you’ll likely need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a college or university that has been approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Additionally, you need to be successful on the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam. You can submit an application to become a Professional Engineer once you fulfill the requirements. You will need to renew your license, but state-specific deadlines and requirements may apply.

6. Earn certifications

The Society of Petroleum Engineers offers certification for petroleum engineers. You will be ready for leadership positions in the field of petroleum engineering thanks to this. Similar to what is needed for a state license in terms of educational background and other requirements, membership in the society adds an additional 16 hours of continuing education each year.

Frequently asked questions

Following are some frequently asked queries regarding a career as a petroleum engineer:

Do petroleum engineers travel?

Petroleum engineers may be required to travel to research or development sites in order to drill wells, depending on the assignment. To make sure that equipment is maintained in accordance with standards and reservoirs are operating at capacity, some may be given a region to monitor for an extended period of time.

How is the pace of work on a daily basis for a petroleum engineer?

A petroleum engineer’s work pace varies based on need, assignment, and support. The pace of project planning and implementation can occasionally be challenging, and working long hours to meet deadlines may be necessary. Additionally, some engineers might need to be on call in case of an emergency if problems arise on-site.

How do petroleum engineering and chemical engineering differ?

A broader field of study, chemical engineering, is concerned with the creation and processing of biomedical products, food, electronics, and the environment. More specifically, petroleum engineering manages the extraction and gathering of oil and gas.

What skills do petroleum engineers need?

The following skills can be helpful to a petroleum engineer:


How long does it take to become a petroleum engineer?

The Society of Petroleum Engineers offers a widely recognized certification for this profession in petroleum engineering. A Bachelor’s degree, four years of engineering experience, and a passing exam score are requirements for this certification.

What qualifications do I need to be a petroleum engineer?

You will need a degree in a relevant field, such as petroleum, mechanical, or chemical engineering, to become a petroleum engineer. You can find a list of accredited programs on the Engineering Council website.

Is it hard to become a petroleum engineer?

Being required to maintain a high GPA in order to work for major oil companies like Shell or Chevron makes petroleum engineering challenging. Being an average student and earning a degree in petroleum engineering is very different from finishing it with a high GPA.

How do I get started in petroleum engineering?

Petroleum engineers must be Society members, hold an undergraduate engineering degree, have at least four years of work experience, and pass an exam to become certified. Members must complete sixteen hours of professional development education each year to keep their certification.

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