Petroleum Engineering Schools Colleges & Universities

Jobs in the petroleum engineering professions are growing, with more openings projected than the number of graduates. Find bachelor, master's, and doctorate degree programs at accredited petroleum engineering schools.

Petroleum Engineering Colleges and Universities: The first drilling for rock oil petroleum began in the United States in 1859 in Titusville, PA. Earning an undergraduate or graduate degree from one of the nation's petroleum engineering schools can open up your vista upon a career with many paths and potential employers. Depending on your degree program, specializations, and experience, you may find yourself working in the oil and natural gas exploration or production field, with safety organizations and governmental agencies, for financial investment firms who need to know about prospective companies. Work may keep you in one location, or you may move across the United States or abroad.

Petroleum engineers are by nature inquisitive, problem solvers with a head for details and the desire to remain on top of emerging technologies and certifications. They have extensive knowledge in geology and drilling technology. As students they may be affiliated with the Petroleum Engineering Technology Student Association and, as professionals, become a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Degrees in Petroleum Engineering: Petroleum engineering colleges offer bachelor degree programs that satisfy the minimum educational requirements to land entry level jobs in the petroleum research and production industry. But even some basic research positions may require candidates to hold a master's degree.

Admissions requirements for a bachelor degree program at petroleum engineering schools around the country include a strong mathematics background in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus--with some training in sciences, including biology, chemistry, and physics. Bachelor degree programs may take four to five years to complete. A master's degree in petroleum engineering takes an additional three years, with a PhD taking up to five years beyond the bachelor's degree.

Working as a Petroleum Engineer: Salaries and Job Projections: Every state in the country requires petroleum engineers who provide services to the public to hold a license. To qualify for licensing, students need to complete degrees in petroleum engineering from schools that are accredited by The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), four years of engineering work experience, and to pass the state exam. Upon graduation, you can sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination that will speed up your licensing.

Nearly 23,000 petroleum engineers are employed in the United States. The median annual wage in 2009 was $108,910; however, at the top tier of the pay scale, petroleum engineers earned $150,310. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) foresees an 18 percent growth in jobs for qualified petroleum engineers during the 2008-2018 decade. Openings, the BLS says, should exceed the number of graduates from petroleum engineering colleges. Many jobs will be abroad.

Petroleum Engineering Schools and Your Career: Are you called to your career in petroleum engineering? Personal attributes of successful engineers include the desire for:

  • • Independence
  • • Hands-on Inquiry
  • • Achievement and Recognition

If you're drawn to extensive, long-term research and development at the university level, you may want to pursue the top degree at the doctoral level. To qualify for entry into a PhD program at accredited petroleum engineering colleges, you need to already hold your master's degree.

If you love finding natural gas and oil, helping others to coax it from the earth, and maximize production efficiency, earning your degree in petroleum engineering can open the doors to success.

The writer Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network, Microsoft Encarta, and other websites and print magazines around the world. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.

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