What are the Academic Requirements to be a Petroleum Engineer?

If you are looking to become a Petroleum Engineer, there are a few personal traits as well as educational requirements that you should have to succeed in this work field. These traits will help you since Petroleum Engineering is a difficult job both onsite and in the office, you should be able to handle the demanding environment of the position. It is important to be prepared for anything that this type of employment can throw at you.

The real job of a petroleum engineer is to design new and improved ways to extract gas and oil from the earth. As the designs change, the engineer must adapt to new processes and procedures on the fly to ensure the safety of those around them. Not only can petroleum engineering be dangerous, but you must have a level head at all times and keep safety at the fore front of your mind to keep your team safe from harm.

Personal Traits & Skills
Petroleum Engineering Average Median Annual Salary

There are a few personal traits that you should ask yourself if you have to be able to handle the job as well as any situation that you face on the job. These traits include good analytical and problem solving skills, creativity, and designing innovation, as well as exceptional communication skills, the ability to adapt quickly to any changes, and extreme focus and determination. These skills are useful to have since the job may require you to travel for extended periods of time and may cause you to live away from your home for months at a time. You will need to be able to care for yourself with minimal help from your employer.

Degree Requirements and Subject Prerequisites

To succeed in the field of Petroleum Engineering you will need to have a strong background in mathematics, chemistry, physics and science (geology). This of course is a prerequisite and a Bachelor’s degree will generally include an industry internship placement. If you are more interested in a Master’s degree, additional degrees in chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering as well as earth sciences and mathematics are necessary. The skills and knowledge that you will gain from these classes and educational experiences will help you while on the job as well as when problems come your way.

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Some people, after a long period of time working for an Oil and Gas Company will choose to work as a self-employed engineer. This allows you to offer your services on a contract basis, however you will need to be properly licensed by the state you are based in and the licensing is similar to SPE certification and require an ABET certified engineering degree. However this route requires 4-years of work experience and for you to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam before you can receive your Professional Engineer license.


These are just the bare minimum requirements for petroleum engineering, and it is always better to gain as much work experience as possible after graduation. The more experience you gain, the better off you will be, and the more you will be able to succeed in this fast paced, ever changing career. You will not only be required to have your degrees and your personality traits, but also be willing to adjust to every possible situation and problem you may encounter.

The number of people in the petroleum engineering field is forecasted to increase by 14 – 19 percent by 2018. However this is merely a projection and could be more or less. If you are serious about this job you will need to know that it has a high chance of probability that you may need to stay away from home for months at a time. If you are a parent or married, you will need to keep in mind that you may need to leave them behind. This is getting easier now days due to things such as skype or the rise in cellular phone reception, but it may be hard not seeing them for long stretches of time. This job can be extremely stressful and can take you to places all over the US and the world, where ever the company may need you. Though the money may be what holds you to this career as you will be able to easily support yourself and your family.