Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface.
Petroleum engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, preferably petroleum engineering. However, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical, civil, chemical engineering may meet employer requirements. Employers also value work experience, so cooperative-education programs, in which students earn academic credit and job experience, are valuable as well.
Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. 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.
Petroleum engineers generally work in offices or at drilling and well sites. Travel is frequently required to visit these sites or to meet with other engineers, oilfield workers, and customers.