Petroleum Engineers design, test and implement efficient methods to extract petroleum products from the earth and sea floor. They are involved in locating the dig site and design and build the machines needed to extract the oil and gas beneath. Petroleum engineers also man the operations of the removal and processing of the petroleum.
With such a complicated job, no wonder petroleum engineer is the highest paid engineering job, according to the evaluation of US News. Petroleum engineers are listed at #12 in the Best Paying Jobs across all industries, #8 in the Overall Best Engineering Jobs and #83 in the 100 Best Jobs. In 2015, petroleum engineers earned a median salary of $129,990. Petroleum engineers in the metropolitan areas of Houston, Denver and Dallas are the most compensated, at least in the US.
Big changes might shake up the oil and gas industry because of the recent drastic changes in energy source preferences. But for now, petroleum engineers still hold the highest paid engineering job.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the petroleum engineering profession is growing rapidly. From 2014 to 2024, the BLS expects the profession to grow at a rate of 10 percent, which should shake out to 3,400 new petroleum engineering jobs. Fueling this growth are the large amount of current petroleum engineers who are expecting to retire across the decade.