According to a Georgetown University report, college graduates make on average 84 percent more money than those with just a high school degree. This is based on income derived throughout one’s career. In the oil and gas business, even though those in the trades make on average more than some college graduates, petroleum engineers make even more. Petroleum engineering is one of the highest paying careers in America today.
The average starting salary for a petroleum engineer in the US today is $93,500, this according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The numbers break down to $73,8000 for the bottom 25 percent of graduates with the top 25 percent coming in at $110,000 or more.
The report also goes on to say that petroleum engineering is the highest paying of all undergraduate degrees. This covers both engineering and non-engineering disciplines. The NACE report included more than 50 different types of degrees including business, health sciences, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences.
Right now there are an estimated 37,000 petroleum engineers working in the United States. The average salary for petroleum engineers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is just below $150,000 per year. Of those, the lower 25 percent earns on average $98,000 per year with the top 25 percent earning $185,000.
More than half of all petroleum engineers in the country work for oil and gas extraction companies. Of those nearly 20,000 petroleum engineers, the average was $161,000 per year. A little more than 5000 such engineers work in the mining industry with an average salary of $115,000 per year.
Where the best jobs are by industry
The highest paying salaries for petroleum engineers are in the oil and gas extraction business. Engineers in management positions in other industries did come in a close second at $160,000 per year. Other top-paying employers include basic chemical manufacturing, where salaries averaged $146,270 per year, and scientific research and development, where annual incomes averaged $145,780.
Where the best jobs are by location
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the place with the highest average salaries is Oklahoma, coming in at just above $160,000 per year. Engineers in Alaska come in a close second with an average of $159,040 per year. In Virginia, wages averaged $154,810 annually, and in Texas, they averaged $154,160.
Jobs for petroleum engineers are most plentiful in Texas, which provides more than half of all the jobs in America at 22,000. Among top metropolitan areas, Dallas/Ft. Worth comes in on top with an average salary of $165,000. At the managerial level, those average incomes go as high as $250,000 per year.
Of course, pay is relative to education levels and those with master’s degrees make more than those with just their bachelor’s. Job growth for the discipline is expected to grow by 17 percent over the next ten years, this compared to gains of 14 percent for the average job. Petroleum engineering is a hot prospect for now and for the foreseeable future.