petroleum engineering salary houston

Last Updated on November 25, 2021

What is a petroleum engineer? What kind of job opportunities could you get in this field? Petroleum engineers are members of the well-known earth science – geology. In general, they are doing research in oil and gas exploration or extraction.

The petroleum engineering industry is highly lucrative. It is no wonder that the career has become one of the most desired careers for engineering majors. However, it does come with several restrictions and challenges, especially for first-time engineers especially those who are interested in learning more about what does a petroleum engineer do. Here are some basic facts about petroleum engineering you can find on infolearners!

Petroleum Engineering Salary Houston

What are Top 5 Best Paying Related Petroleum Engineer Jobs in Houston

We found at least 5 jobs related to the Petroleum Engineer job category that pay more per year than a typical Petroleum Engineer salary in Houston, TX. Top examples of these roles include: Senior Petroleum Engineer, Remote Petroleum Engineer, and Exempt Petroleum Engineer.

Importantly, all of these jobs are paid between $2,390 (2.1%) and $43,181 (37.8%) more than the average Petroleum Engineer salary of $114,168. If you’re qualified, getting hired for one of these related Petroleum Engineer jobs may help you make more money than that of the average Petroleum Engineer position.

Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Senior Petroleum Engineer$157,350$13,112$3,026$75.65
Remote Petroleum Engineer$121,973$10,164$2,346$58.64
Exempt Petroleum Engineer$119,241$9,937$2,293$57.33
Petroleum Drilling Engineer$119,104$9,925$2,290$57.26
Director Petroleum Engineer$116,558$9,713$2,242$56.04

How much does a Petroleum Engineer make in Dallas, Texas?

As of Jun 24, 2021, the average annual pay for a Petroleum Engineer in Dallas is $110,908 an year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $53.32 an hour. This is the equivalent of $2,133/week or $9,242/month.

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $271,142 and as low as $29,015, the majority of Petroleum Engineer salaries currently range between $72,538 (25th percentile) to $167,087 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $238,625 annually in Dallas.

The average pay range for a Petroleum Engineer varies greatly (as much as $94,549), which suggests there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location and years of experience.

Based on recent job postings on ZipRecruiter, the Petroleum Engineer job market in both Dallas, TX and the surrounding area is very active.

To estimate the most accurate annual salary range for Petroleum Engineer jobs, ZipRecruiter continuously scans its database of millions of active jobs published locally throughout America.

What are Top 5 Best Paying Related Petroleum Engineer Jobs in Dallas

We found at least 5 jobs related to the Petroleum Engineer job category that pay more per year than a typical Petroleum Engineer salary in Dallas, TX. Top examples of these roles include: Senior Petroleum Engineer, Reservoir Petroleum Engineer, and Intermediate Petroleum Engineer.

Importantly, all of these jobs are paid between $8,294 (7.5%) and $32,771 (29.5%) more than the average Petroleum Engineer salary of $110,908. If you’re qualified, getting hired for one of these related Petroleum Engineer jobs may help you make more money than that of the average Petroleum Engineer position.

Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Senior Petroleum Engineer$143,678$11,973$2,763$69.08
Reservoir Petroleum Engineer$122,482$10,207$2,355$58.89
Intermediate Petroleum Engineer$121,873$10,156$2,344$58.59
Petroleum Reservoir Engineer$121,635$10,136$2,339$58.48
Professional Petroleum Engineer$119,201$9,933$2,292$57.31

Petroleum Engineering Salary Houston

How much do Petroleum Engineers make starting out?

The average salary for an entry level Petroleum Engineer is $77,546. An experienced Petroleum Engineer makes about $135,190 per year. Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface.

What petroleum engineering pays the most?Highest Paying States for Petroleum Engineering

RankStatesAnnual Salary

what does a petroleum engineer do

What is a Petroleum Engineer?

A petroleum engineer is someone who locates reservoirs of natural gas and crude oil beneath the earth’s surface, and then determines if the effort of extracting the product will be worth the time and money for the company he/she works for. After the decision has been made to drill, it is the job of the petroleum engineer to find the best and most cost efficient way to extract the product. Basically, petroleum engineers are concerned with four main areas: finding oil, evaluating whether it has potential, recovering the oil, and transporting/storing it.

What does a Petroleum Engineer do?

A petroleum engineer helps to keep our world running by providing manufacturers the oil and gas needed to produce more than three hundred products we use everyday – from cosmetics, medicines, plastics and textiles. Examples of products that are derived from petroleum are: kerosene, propane, heating oil, diesel fuel, jet fuel, gasoline, plastic, clothing fibres, car tires, and food wrap, just to name a few.

A petroleum engineer will study the engineering and geological data to determine the most likely areas that oil can be sourced. They often have to travel to foreign countries and reside there for a time, as a petroleum engineer is involved in nearly all phases of production, from finding the oil or natural gas, right through to refining and distributing it.

There are two primary ways of getting oil and gas to the surface – by ‘drilling’ (creating a tunnel down to the reservoir and creating a system of pipes to bring it up to the surface), and by ‘producing’ (coaxing reservoirs that are already under pressure to emerge above ground).

A petroleum engineer’s role will vary depending on the company worked for, and whether the engineer will be working on land or offshore. There are several specialties:

Reservoir Engineers –
will conduct studies in order to determine development plans for gas and oil reservoirs, which may include well placement, field development, oil recovery techniques, and proper production and injection rates. They often work in conjunction with the production engineer.

Drilling and Completion Engineers –
will plan, design and implement drilling and completion programs for all types of wells, keeping economics and safety in mind at all times.

Production Engineers –
will evaluate artificial lift methods and develop surface equipment systems to separate water, oil, and gas. They will also analyze and optimize the performance of individual wells.

Subsurface Engineers –
will select equipment that will be the most suitable for the subsurface environment. Once the hardware is selected, the engineer will monitor and adjust the equipment, ensuring the reservoir and well are producing under ideal circumstances.

How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, preferably petroleum engineering. However, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering may meet employer requirements. Employers also value work experience, so college cooperative-education programs, in which students earn academic credit and job experience, are valuable as well.

Education for Petroleum Engineers

Students interested in studying petroleum engineering will benefit from taking high school courses in math, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; and in science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

Entry-level petroleum engineering jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs include classes, laboratory work, and field studies in areas such as engineering principles, geology, and thermodynamics. Most colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs in chemical or mechanical engineering that lead to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Some employers prefer applicants who have earned a graduate degree. A graduate degree also allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some universities or in research and development.

ABET accredits programs in petroleum engineering.

Important Qualities for Petroleum Engineers

Analytical skills. Petroleum engineers must be able to compile and make sense of large amounts of technical information and data in order to ensure that facilities operate safely and effectively.

Creativity. Because each new drill site is unique and therefore presents new challenges, petroleum engineers must be able to come up with creative designs to extract oil and gas.

Interpersonal skills. Petroleum engineers must work with others on projects that require highly complex machinery, equipment, and infrastructure. Communicating and working well with other engineers and oil and gas workers is crucial to ensuring that projects meet customer needs and run safely and efficiently.

Math skills. Petroleum engineers use the principles of calculus and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Identifying problems in drilling plans is critical for petroleum engineers because these problems can be costly. Petroleum engineers must be careful not to overlook any potential issues and must quickly address those which do occur.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Petroleum Engineers

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a petroleum engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE).

Several states require engineers to take continuing education courses in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. The Society of Petroleum Engineers offers certification. To be certified, petroleum engineers must be members of the Society, pass an exam, and meet other qualifications.

Advancement for Petroleum Engineers

Entry-level engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training. As engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move to more difficult projects on which they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, petroleum engineers may advance to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Some become engineering managers or move into other managerial positions.

Petroleum engineers also may go into sales and use their engineering background to inform the discussion of a product’s technical aspects with potential buyers and to help in product planning, installation, and use. 

petroleum engineering starting salary

What Is the Average Petroleum Engineer Salary by State

StateAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
New York$126,167$10,514$2,426$60.66
New Hampshire$121,918$10,160$2,345$58.61
South Carolina$119,126$9,927$2,291$57.27
Rhode Island$110,544$9,212$2,126$53.15
West Virginia$109,659$9,138$2,109$52.72
North Dakota$109,036$9,086$2,097$52.42
New Jersey$108,033$9,003$2,078$51.94
South Dakota$105,852$8,821$2,036$50.89
North Carolina$101,513$8,459$1,952$48.80
New Mexico$99,657$8,305$1,916$47.91

Top 50 Highest Paying States for Petroleum Engineer Jobs in the U.S.

We’ve identified seven states where the typical salary for a Petroleum Engineer job is above the national average. Topping the list is Massachusetts, with Alaska and Nevada close behind in second and third. Nevada beats the national average by 7.3%, and Massachusetts furthers that trend with another $17,947 (14.6%) above the $122,847.

Significantly, Massachusetts has a very active Petroleum Engineer job market as there are several companies currently hiring for this type of role.

With only a handful of states paying above the national average, the opportunities for economic advancement by moving to a new locationas a Petroleum Engineer is a decision to make with some caution. Factoring in cost of living expenses should be considered as well.

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