Posts tagged ‘Petroleum engineering’

May 13, 2015

Times are ‘rough’ for new petroleum engineering grads

by Grace

What should the flood of petroleum engineering graduates do now that the oil slump has made jobs scarce?

The price of oil is down by more than 40% since June, closing Friday at $59.39 a barrel. Employment at U.S. energy companies has dropped by 6,800 jobs so far this year, according to federal data released Friday, but jobs at energy-services companies have fallen far more, by perhaps 30,000. Graves & Co., a Houston consulting company, says energy employers have announced 120,000 layoffs around the world.

So jobs are scarce for the nearly 1,800 students in the U.S. expected to graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering.

Some are going back to school for an MBA and some are taking non-engineering jobs just to get their foot in the door.

One recommendation is to try to get a job as a roughneck.  But that’s not an easy job.

20150511.COCDrilling_Roughnecks1

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Erin Ailworth, “Who Will Hire a Petroleum Engineer Now?”, Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2015.

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July 9, 2013

Petroleum engineer tops the list of highest paid majors

by Grace

Among graduates of four-year colleges, engineers dominate the list of top earners according to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers survey.  Petroleum engineers are at the top.

Here’s the list of top 10 majors, with starting salaries:

  • Petroleum Engineering: $93,500
  • Computer Engineering: $71,700
  • Chemical Engineering: $67,600
  • Computer Science: $64,800
  • Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering: $64,400
  • Mechanical Engineering: $64,000
  • Electrical/Electronics and Communications Engineering: $63,400
  • Management Information Systems/Business: $63,100
  • Engineering Technology: $62,200
  • Finance: $57,400

Engineering technology is different from engineering.

Engineering and engineering technology are separate but closely related professional areas….

Engineering programs often focus on theory and conceptual design, while engineering technology programs usually focus on application and implementation.

Also, engineering programs typically require additional, higher-level mathematics, including multiple semesters of calculus and calculus-based theoretical science courses. Engineering technology programs typically focus on algebra, trigonometry, applied calculus, and other courses that are more practical than theoretical in nature.

Average starting salary for college graduates is up from last year.

The average starting salary for a member of the class of 2013 is $44,928, up 5.3% from the previous year, driven by big gains in fields such as health sciences and business.

But these figures are relevant only for those grads lucky enough to find a job during college-recruiting season or soon after. A recent report from the Department of Labor looked at data from 2007 to 2011 and found that 13.5% of bachelor’s degree holders were unemployed a few months after their 2011 graduations (Bleak, but far better than the 17.6% unemployment rate among that group in 2009).

Be careful about picking a college major based on today’s hot jobs.

“In the wake of a one-year jump of 55% in the number of U.S. petroleum engineering freshman students”, students should “be realistic about future job growth“.

February 19, 2013

A warning to petroleum engineering students

by Grace

In the wake of a one-year jump of 55% in the number of U.S. petroleum engineering freshman students, it was reported that Texas A&M sent a letter to incoming students advising them to be realistic about future job growth.

Dear Admitted Aggie PETE Applicant,

The Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, Texas A&M University, is pleased that you applied and were admitted to our top ranked petroleum engineering program. If you pursue a degree in petroleum engineering, our program is committed to providing the highest quality education available.

Recent data suggests that some concern about the sustainability of the entry level job market during a time of explosive growth in the number of students studying petroleum engineering in U.S. universities may be prudent.

Our advice is that you become aware of graduation projections and petroleum industry employment outlook for people with petroleum engineering degrees. For example, between fall 2011 and fall 2012, the number of freshmen in petroleum engineering programs in the U.S. increased from 1,388 to 2,153, a 55% jump in one year. Based on the many inquiries and applications TAMU is receiving for the petroleum engineering major, the number of U.S. students in petroleum engineering will probably continue a strong upward trend, as long as the employment market remains stable. These days, a very large number of people are already studying in petroleum engineering programs (see attachment, showing data made available through the Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE), at a time when: the number of recent graduates, who began their studies several years ago, is already at about historical highs and growing rapidly (see attachment); our program’s board of industry advisors are recommending that we “do not grow” our undergraduate program at this time; and oil and natural gas price projections and expectations of U.S. governmental policy influences are viewed as not particularly encouraging by the U.S. petroleum industry.

We are not trying to discourage you from a career that we think is among the most fascinating, dynamic, challenging careers that exist. However, we also want you to know that the Aggie PETE program is doing the right thing by providing you with information that could end up being important to your future.

Sincerely,
Xxxxxxxxx

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 annual median pay for a petroleum engineer was $114,080, while the number of jobs in the ten-year period ending 2020 is expected to grow 17%.

Rig count numbers track oil well activity and serve as an indication of petroleum industry jobs.

20130215.COCRigCount1

I graduated with a degree in geology in 1977, which turned out to be accidentally fortuitous timing.  And it’s no surprise that I left the business around 1986, as did many geologists, petroleum engineers, and other industry workers.

Related:  Don’t pick a college major based on today’s hot jobs (Cost of College)

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