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How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

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Petroleum engineers design, create and develop strategies and machines with which oil and gas can be extracted from layers under the earth. In order words, they create tools and methods which are used to dig up the ground for the purpose of extracting natural resources such as crude oil.

Petroleum Engineers equally are responsible for creating new methods of extracting petroleum products, as well as tools to make the process easier.

How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

Basic responsibilities of Petroleum Engineers

On many occasions, oil reservoirs are found in between rocks, deep down the earth surface. So, as soon as oil or gas is discovered in an area, be it land or sea, a Petroleum engineer will have to work with a geoscientist to understand the structure of the rocks that surround the reservoir and figure out the best method and equipment to use in extracting the oil from the region.

In essence, as a Petroleum Engineer you will:

  • Build tools that can be used to dig out oil and gas from deep underground layers.
  • Develop strategies on how to drill gas fields in order to get maximum results.
  • Create plans on how to generate more oil or gas from reserves (areas that have already been dug).
  • Install and maintain oilfield equipment.
  • Conduct surveys and tests on oilfields

Qualities and skills of Petroleum Engineers

Creativity: every site to be explored will pose new challenges, you’ll need to have the ability to come up with new creative ways to drill oils.

Mathematical skills:  A lot of calculations go into the process of designing drilling solutions

Analytical skills: Since you have to deal with huge volumes of data from scientists that you work with from time to time, you’ll have to analyze the data and put them into practice. be costly. Petroleum engineers m

Problem-solving skills: Problems arise before, during, and even after drilling. Therefore a petroleum engineer has to be ready to troubleshoot problems as soon as they arise.

Related: Agricultural engineering

 Workplace for Petroleum Engineers

Companies that employ petroleum Engineers include:

  • Oil and gas Extraction organizations
  • Mining companies
  • Petroleum and coal producing companies
  • Engineering and repairs service stations

In addition, petroleum Engineers work either in offices as managers of oil drilling projects or at drilling sites as supervisors. It involves a lot of traveling and temporary relocation as some projects may take some time to wrap up. Most petroleum Engineers work for more than 40 hours weekly. Working overtime is common in the field. Although, it attracts extra pay. That would be worth it, wouldn’t it?

Education for Petroleum Engineers

Apart from the skills you need to excel in the field, it is very important to get the right education. To begin with, you must have excelled in your maths and algebra,  biology, physics and chemistry classes in secondary (High) school. Thereafter, you’ll need to study Petroleum engineering as a bachelors degree in the university. However, employers may consider other engineering courses for job placements in the field. Nonetheless, you stand a better chance of understanding everything you need to learn about the field if you earn direct bachelors degrees in it.

Some engineering-driven schools, (to be listed below) will provide a hands-on experience/ practice in drilling and other activities. These will prepare you towards your actual duties in the field. Petroleum engineering program is usually for 5 years. However, the fifth year is when you are assigned to execute different practical projects.

After earning a bachelors degree, you can progress to grab a graduate degree in the field as well. This gives you an opportunity to get managerial roles in oil companies, even though experiences matter a lot for such positions. Experience plus a graduate degree means you can get the best offers.

You can also learn about Biomedical Engineering


Educational qualifications should get you meaningful employment, but there’s absolutely no harm in acquiring a professional certification as well. This helps to further polish your authority as a Petroleum Engineer. A passing score in the Professional Engineering Exam (PE) should be just enough.

Petroleum Engineers


The highest annual income for Petroleum Engineers is about $208,000(US), while the lowest income you can get within the same time frame is about $73,000.  This means that the average income in the field is $128,000 on a yearly basis.

Average Salary in Canada: $78,831

Average Salary in the United Kingdom: £33,691

Source: Glassdoor

These figures, however, differs, depending on the organization and the employer.

Job Outlook for Petroleum Engineers

Job Opportunities in this field will grow by 15% within the next ten years. This level of growth is quite unusual, so, that’s one very good reason to build a career in the field if you genuinely think it is the right choice for you.

Careers related to Petroleum Engineering

Civil engineers,  Mechanical Engineers, Mining and Geological Engineers, Chemical Engineers, Geoscientists, Industrial engineers, etc.

Schools to Study Petroleum Engineering

Canada hosts a good number of schools that pay particular attention to engineering studies and that is partly because of the country’s interest in the oil sector. Students get to practice and experience whatever they must have been taught in class. Check some of these schools below. Meanwhile, you can send me an email if you need further counseling and assistance on how to successfully secure admission into any of the schools.

University of Alberta

Dalhousie University

University of Calgary

University of Regina

For guidance on how to get admission into these schools, you send me an email or click on the chat button below this page.

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