In today’s America, veterans who are seeking a post-military career have no shortage in terms of options. Many of the best post-military jobs are those that utilize some of the skills a veteran has acquired and developed while serving.

Believe it or not, these types of employment opportunities can be found in just about every industry.

If you are a veteran who is looking to put your discipline, mathematical, and scientific skills to the test with a big payoff, you should consider a career in petroleum engineering.

This is a highly specialized career path that only requires a bachelor’s degree while relying on the many skills that promote a successful military career.

For this post, we’ll talk about the things you need to know about this career path such as the benefits, responsibilities, petroleum engineering salary, how you become one, and more.


What Does A Petroleum Engineer Do?


Petroleum engineers are in-charge of developing and designing methods for the efficient extraction of natural gas and oil deposits that are found on beneath the earth’s surface. In addition, they may also be tasked with developing new methods to extract commodities from existing wells.

Below are some of the most common duties of a petroleum engineer:

  • Designing and developing machines and equipment for the efficient extraction of gas and oil
  • Developing methods for injecting gas, water, steam, or chemicals into a reserve for oil extraction
  • Providing oversight of well sites, testing, and surveys to guarantee completion and evaluation
  • Drumming up drill plans for gas and oil recovery
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    Making use of AI-controlled fracturing or drilling methods for connecting a well to areas of a field

While these engineers tend to spend a lot of time working in research facilities or offices, they may also find themselves working on offsite locations such as drill sites.

When a petroleum engineer is deployed to the site, it can usually last for longer periods of time and might require one to travel, even outside the country.

As a petroleum engineer, you will be mainly employed by oil and gas extraction firms. However, you also find yourself employed by engineering companies, manufacturers, mining support companies, and many others.


Skills Required For The Position


Many of the skills that you have developed in the military will come in handy when working as a petroleum engineer. These include:

  • Analytical skills – The employed individual must be able to evaluate drilling plans, anticipate possible problems, and help the company anticipate issues before making any long-term financial commitments.
  • Creative thinking – One needs to be able to overcome and adapt to the challenges of drill calls which require creativity.
  • Science and mathematical skills – On top of being proficient at calculus and other advanced math, you should also have a strong grasp of chemistry and geology.
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    Problem-solving skills – As an engineer, you will need to overcome problems with plans and wells on a regular basis, and this requires strong problem-solving skills.

Reasons Why You Should Become A Petroleum Engineer

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Still not convinced? Here are the top reasons why you should take up petroleum engineering after a career in the military:

1. Less Competition

As mentioned, this type of engineering is a rather specialized career path so very few colleges and universities all over the globe offer it. On top of that, not many people are interested in going into the field.


Therefore, you are looking at less competition in the field. With lesser competition, your chances of landing a job in the field are also increased.


However, the worldwide energy demand continues to increase so this could change anytime. And speaking of that…

2. Increasing Energy Demand

Increasing energy needs is correlated with population growth. Basically, the more people on Earth, the more energy we need.


With that said, there’s no industry that doesn’t make use of petroleum products so it’s necessary for companies to get engineers on board. Even if all of the oil reserves worldwide are finished, there are still about 40 to 50 percent of oil that remains.


Thus, the industry needs better technologies and extraction methods which can be provided by petroleum engineers.

3. Wide Range Of Career Options

The main job of engineers is locate and produce hydrocarbons from the earth. This requires specialized skills that only an engineer can provide. At some point, you will find yourself working as a part of a drilling rig which usually requires a massive team.


As long as you are in the field, you will have no shortage of options for your career path.

4. Travel The World

If you love traveling, you might consider becoming a petroleum engineer.


Many petroleum companies regularly go on a global oil exploration spree. As an engineer, you will be deployed to drill sites from another country as part of the team.


As mentioned, deployment usually last for many months or even years. Sure, it’s mostly traveling for work but you get to travel nonetheless.

5. Potential Employment Even Before Completion Of Studies

Since there are not too many colleges and universities that offer the course, it’s fairly common for students to get absorbed by oil and gas companies before even completing their studies.


This only proves the growing demand for specialized engineers in the field.


Even if that’s not always the case, a graduate of petroleum engineering won’t have a difficult time finding a job due to the high demand.

6. Rapid Technology Growth

This field is usually the first field to benefit from modern technology. These advancements in technology are used to spot and locate petroleum products in the most efficient manner.


This is evident by the fact that most world-class petroleum companies are now engaged in extracting products from the sea and oceans.


A career in this industry will allow you to learn things and keeping yourself up-to-date in terms of technology.

Types Of Petroleum Engineering Jobs


Below are the types of jobs for the graduate of the course:

  • Completions Engineer – These engineers come up with a design on how to finish constructing a well for a safer and more efficient extraction of oil or gas. They also authorize which materials and systems to be used for the finishing of a well site.
  • Drilling Engineer – These engineers determine the most appropriate technique for drilling oil and gas. During the deciding process, there are several factors that must be considered such as safety, cost, and environmental impact.
  • Production Engineer – They are the ones responsible for overseeing a well site once the drilling has been completed. They also closely keep an eye on the production of gas and oil and may come up with new ways to extract more in case the well’s production falls short than expected.
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    Reservoir Engineer – They are the ones in charge of estimating just how much gas and oil can be extracted from underground deposits which are referred to as reservoirs. They make an observation about the characteristics of a reservoir so they can determine how much gas and oil should be expected after extraction.

Petroleum Engineering Salary And Outlook


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for petroleum engineers was $132,280 in May 2017.

The bureau also predicts that petroleum-related jobs are expected to grow up to 15% by 2026, a growth rate that is a lot faster than the average job.

While it’s a rapidly growing industry, there is still the fact that it’s a relatively small occupation.It’s also worth knowing that these engineers are directly influenced by oil prices.

Depending on the ups and downs of oil prices, so does the job opportunities for these engineers. In a general sense, when prices are higher, oil and gas companies will make larger investments for operations which results in increased employment opportunities.


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How Do You Become A Petroleum Engineer


As mentioned, you only need a bachelor’s degree in order to become a petroleum engineer or in any related engineering fields.

If you want to shoot for a more senior position, you need to acquire an advanced degree. A degree will most likely require you to complete lab works and shadow a person who’s working in the engineering field.

Like with most career paths, top employers will require the applicants to have actual field experience which calls for an apprenticeship or internship.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in civil, mechanical, or chemical engineering, you may also meet some employer’s requirements.


Is This The Right Career Path For You?


As someone who has served in the military, you certainly have no shortage of options when it comes to employment opportunities. The United States is home to hundreds of world-class companies that are committed to hiring veterans.

If you want a challenging career path that will allow you to utilize the skills that you’ve developed in the military, you should definitely consider becoming a petroleum engineer. It certainly doesn’t hurt that petroleum engineering salary is quite lucrative.

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