Petroleum engineers develop methods for extracting oil and natural gas from the earth, and they design, modify, and improve the equipment that makes this possible. Petroleum engineers often work as part of a team that includes professionals, such as sub-surface surveyors and geologists, to search for oil and gas deposits below the surface of the earth. Once a deposit is found, the team will analyze the ground that must be drilled, determine the best methods for safely and efficiently extracting the oil or gas, and decide on or design the proper equipment for the task.
If this sounds like a career that you might be interested in, you may want to consider an online degree in petroleum engineering. Earning your degree will equip you with the skills needed to develop safe methods for extraction, design equipment, and maximize profit for the organization you are representing.
Classes and Assignments for a Petroleum Engineering Major
Online petroleum engineering programs will cover everything that is related to extracting oil and natural gas from the earth with courses including petroleum drilling systems, reservoir fluids, thermodynamics, geostatistics, oil, gas, and environmental law, and subsurface production engineering. All of your courses will familiarize you with techniques and equipment used in the field, as well as the laws and regulations that apply to your future career.
Some of the assignments you might have while earning your degree can include writing technical reports about extraction methods and equipment, working through equations dealing with the flow of different types of reservoir fluids, and working through simulations in which you must develop a plan of extraction.
Degree Levels for a Petroleum Engineering Major
- Bachelor's. Online associate petroleum engineering degrees are rare, but online bachelors petroleum engineering degrees will cover all of the fundamental and introductory courses related to petroleum engineer. The program will prepare you to start your career and qualify you for an entry-level position, in most cases. The majority of petroleum engineers begin with a bachelor's degree.
- Master's. Online masters petroleum engineering degrees will include advanced courses, such as subsurface engineering and tunneling, well test analysis, and petroleum project evaluation. This degree will prepare you for a career as a petroleum engineer, and, depending on the company you work for, you may be qualified for more responsibilities and higher positions than those with lesser degrees.
- Doctoral. A doctoral degree in petroleum engineering will focus more on the research side of the field. Some of your courses may include advanced reservoir engineering, seismic reservoir modeling, and enhanced oil recovery. Many individuals holding a doctoral degree in perform research with organizations or universities to develop new methods, policies, procedures, and equipment for drilling and extracting oil and natural gas.
A Future as a Petroleum Engineering Major
As a petroleum engineer, your time will most likely be divided between an office, a drilling site, and a laboratory. And this is a relatively good time to pursue this career because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is expecting to see an 11% growth in employment. The BLS also states that the average annual income for a petroleum engineer is $108,020, which is considerable more than all other engineering professions. However, this amount can vary depending on where you work, who you work for, the amount of experience you have, and your degree level.