Is Oil and Gas Production a Good Career Path? List of Best Jobs

Oil and gas industry is a popular choice for those seeking a career in the technical field. For such individuals, the question – is oil and gas production a good career path – arises frequently. Due to its potential for high income and job security, one can surely agree. In this article, we will inform you about the types of jobs in oil and gas industry.

What is Oil and Gas Production?

The process of extraction of oil and gas from wells and converting them into finished petroleum products for the usage of customers is called oil and gas production. It is one of the biggest industries worldwide and a significant contributor to the economy in the world.

This is a complex process that requires expertise at every step; it starts with site investigation, then actual extraction and lastly, distribution and transportation of the finished products to businesses and consumers.

Therefore, in this industry, you can get different types of jobs, from production and operations to marketing and finance; different job roles are available in this dynamic field.

Is Oil and Gas Production a Good Career Path? List of Best Jobs

Oil and gas platform

If you are still thinking is oil and gas production a good career path, don’t worry; these career options will clear all your doubts. Here are some of the best jobs available in this sector.

1. Petroleum Geologist

The main role of a geologist is to search for new oil and gas sources and extract the maximum oil or gas from already existing fields. They study the earth’s surface and search for areas that are rich in minerals and oil. To apply for this job, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in geology.

Most of the jobs in this profile are travelling or on the field, as your job is to visit the drilling sites, research the new ones, and make reports as per your research. It is one of the highest-paid jobs in this sector as here you can get an average salary of around $80,000 to $85,000 as per your qualification and experience.

2. Engineering Geologist

Their major role is to take care of the scientific and technical analysis of groundwater, soil, rocks and various other elements and factors that can cause problems for engineering processes. The average salary of an engineering geologist ranges from $50,000 to $60,000.

3. Chemical Engineer

This is yet again a great job in this sector that pays you well but also comes with various tasks and responsibilities. They have to take care of numerous tasks, work with different types of chemicals and do a lot of testing.

In addition, they analyze chemicals to ensure that companies use the right chemicals while converting crude oil and petroleum into a usable form.

Many people opt for this as their career choice because they can work in different industries, not just in the oil and gas business. Various skills required to work in this job profile are analytical skills, the ability to work under pressure, skills for problem-solving, communication and teamwork.

The average salary of a chemical engineer is around $60,000 to $65,000 annually. Now you know is oil and gas production a good career path.

4. Rotary Drill Operator

They are also known as “roughnecks.” The role of a rotary drill operator is to install drills and maintain their operation over time. It is one of the best entry-level jobs in this industry to start your career.

The additional job role includes operating the equipment that drills the holes for oil and gas well, rotary cutting and controlling drilling machines.

The major benefit is that various companies provide prior training to the operators before they start the fieldwork. There are various skills required to work for this job profile, such as the ability to work safely on day and night shifts, good communication skills and the stamina to work for hours. The average salary of a rotary drill operator is around $55,000 to $60,000 annually.

5. Roustabout

Oil workers checking oil pump

If you are new to this industry, then this can be the best career option for you as it does not require any experience or qualification in the oil and gas industry.

Roustabouts do various manual moving tasks such as moving supplies, cleaning and maintaining equipment, cleaning oil spills, inspecting and maintaining pipes and helping other workers.

It is an entry-level job and a great way to get your foot in the door, as you might learn to work while working and get promoted to a higher position.

Various skills that would help you in this job include excellent mechanical skills, good judgment and monitoring situations to ensure safety. The average annual salary of a roustabout is around $40,000 to $45,000.

Also Read: Best Weekend Side Jobs to Earn Extra Income

6. Petroleum Engineer

The job of a petroleum engineer is quite challenging as they need to create ways that allow people to obtain oil and gas, even from extremely deep layers of the earth.

They are involved in almost all oil and gas production phases, from exploring the place to examination, development, extraction and production.

To become a petroleum engineer, it is a mandate for you to have at least a bachelor’s degree; it is even better if you have a master’s degree. Other important work of a petroleum engineer includes.

  • Testing new equipment
  • Improving current methods of extracting oil and gas
  • Overseeing drilling operations
  • Analyzing reservoirs to see if the company can profitably exploit them.

The average salary of a petroleum engineer ranges from $1,00,000 to $1,10,000. Now you know is oil and gas production a good career path.

7. HR Adviser

Every industry has an HR department that requires people for recruiting, training and onboarding; the same goes for the oil and gas industry.

The role of an HR adviser is to advise and support members on numerous topics, such as hiring, interpersonal interactions, employee investigation and performance review.

An HR adviser’s additional tasks are supervising grievance procedures and dispute settlement to improve the relations between management and employees.

The minimum qualification to apply for this position includes a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field. Other skills required to become an HR adviser are excellent communication, empathy, time management and interpersonal skills. The average salary of an HR Adviser ranges from $45,000 to $50,000 annually.

8. Mud Logger

If you are confused about the types of jobs in oil and gas industry and which one to opt for, here is the answer. You can opt for a mud logger profile as the salary is good, plus the growth prospects are also high.

The primary role of a mud logger is to oversee the drilling activities. In addition, he is responsible for checking the well’s status when the extraction process occurs.

The mud logger needs to be present when the extraction process happens. The working hours of a mud logger change often; also, usually, they stay away from home for every alternate two weeks. This is an on-site job, and you might need to work 12 hours a day as per the requirements of the company or project.

Various skills required to become a mud logger are decision-making skills, analytical and critical thinking, strong mathematical skills and most importantly you need a bachelor’s degree in geology, geoscience, petroleum engineering, or any related field. The average salary of a mud logger ranges from $40,000 to $50,000 annually.

9. Geoscientist

This is an important job role in the oil and gas industry as they are responsible for determining where to drill. They are hired to interpret geochemical, geophysical and geological data to create models for finding commercially viable reserves of natural resources like oil, gas, minerals and water. Now you know is oil and gas production a good career path.

They utilize scientific studies to estimate the amount of gas or oil available at a specific site and its environmental impact. To become a geoscientist, you need to have good observation skills, a systematic approach, scientific and technical skills and strong spoken and written communication skills. The average salary of a geoscientist ranges from $55,000 to $65,000.

10. Marketing Coordinator

Person holding a file

If you are thinking is oil and gas production a good career path or not, then don’t be confused as this can be an excellent profile with high salary and good growth prospects.

The leading role of a marketing coordinator is to keep a check on the marketing and supply operations. Their additional responsibility is to do market research to determine the likelihood of sales in different locations.

They must work closely with the client services to ensure a seamless supply chain and develop marketing campaigns. Also, they need to manage the supply and marketing operations which is pretty time-consuming and strenuous work.

The skills required to become a marketing coordinator are good communication skills, analyzing sales data, creating promotional/marketing material, setting marketing goals and conducting market research. The average salary of a marketing coordinator is around $75,000 to $80,000 annually.

Also Read: Is Consumer Services a Good Career Path?

11. Hydrographic Surveyor

This is a pretty different job as compared to others on the list. They work from survey platforms and ships; here, they need to measure, map and analyze underwater surfaces and the morphology of the bottom.

In addition, they have to do investigations that foster marine research into ocean currents and the impact of climate shifts and industrialization on the marine surroundings.

They are specialists in data acquisition, positioning and processing in both onshore and offshore marine environments. Various skills required to become a hydrographic surveyor are logical thinking, good knowledge of navigation systems, problem-solving skills, teamwork skills and resilience. The average salary of a hydrographic surveyor is around $50,000 to $55,000 annually.

12. Commercial Analyst

This can be an excellent career choice for you if you have exceptional analytical abilities. Also, to apply for this job, you need to have a minimum bachelor’s degree in finance, engineering or finance.

The significant role of the commercial analyst is to create a business plan for development; to do this, the need to comprehend forecasting, supply and demand. To collect all the data and make a development plan, they need to work in collaboration with different teams.

They also conduct meetings to make agendas for marketing the products worldwide. Also, they are responsible for ensuring that the development activities are created per the new regulations.

Skills required to become a commercial analyst are commercial awareness, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, confidence in working with complex data and systems and the ability to work with people at all levels of the organization. The average salary of a commercial analyst ranges from $85,000 to $95,000. Now you know is oil and gas production a good career path.

13. Energy Engineer

You can opt for the role of an energy engineer as well, the primary role will be to take care of the production of energy by natural resources. For example, extraction of oil and gas or from renewable sources of energy like hydro, wind, biofuels, etc. Their additional role involves designing renewable energy technologies and offering efficient and innovative methods to provide energy.

To become an energy engineer, you need to have a degree in mechanical engineering or a scientific subject. Along with this, you should have the critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamworking skills.

The job of an energy engineer is to work on-site, which is strenuous as they sometimes have to work 7 days a week. The average salary of an energy engineer is around $70,000 to $80,000 annually.

14. Mining Engineer

A mining engineer’s role is to ensure that the development of mines and other surfaces is done efficiently. In fact, they are involved in every step of the mining process, starting from discovery, development, production and reclamation.

Additionally, it is their responsibility to ensure that the methods that are used for developing mines and other operations are safe and efficient.

Most of their work is before the development of the new site, i.e. assessing the viability of the new site. The additional role includes closure and rehabilitation of the mining site; in short, they ensure that the mining process goes efficiently.

Various skills required to become a mining engineer are managerial skills, technical aptitude to understand to apprehend the impact of mining on the environment, teamworking, problem-solving and analytical skills. The average salary of a mining engineer ranges from $71,000 to $94,000.

15. Natural Gas Trader

Engineer using laptop

This job is pretty different from the ones mentioned in the list, as a natural gas trader’s primary role is to sell natural gas supplies. They purchase it from the producer and sell it to the end users.

To do this, they need to arrange transportation and take care of the logistics and storage. Their job is not dealing with the production of gas; instead, they just need to sell it.

They need to watch the commodities market and based on that, they make trades as per the production and expected demand. They may also work as a commodities broker or with any financial institution to trade natural gas stocks, futures and funds.

The major skills required to become a natural gas trader are analytical skills, customer service skills, and one should possess the basics of the energy markets. The average salary of a natural gas trader ranges from $1,00,000 to $1,10,000. Now you know is oil and gas production a good career path.

Also Read: Is Finance a Good Career Path? Things you should know

16. Petroleum Analyst

After looking at the perks and benefits of this role, your confusion on is oil and gas production a good career path will be clear. As a petroleum analyst, you will have to check, approve, interpret and report sample analysis data of all oils and fuels.

Their job is based on numbers, as they work more on this industry’s business side, which includes determining pricing and production cost.

It is their job to collect and analyze data, and based on that they create a report on major oil companies’ strategies, plans, operations, performance and investment. Although it is an excellent job profile, the skills required to become a petroleum analyst are critical thinking, communication, listening, presentation and leadership skills. The average salary of a petroleum analyst ranges from $1,25,000 to $1,30,000.

17. Sales Representative

You can also become a sales representative if you have good marketing skills. The primary duties include selling the final product to companies and retailers on behalf of the wholesalers and manufacturers.

The additional role includes creating new businesses and managing the existing accounts within the oil and gas industry. Like sales representatives in other industries, you will have to generate leads, meet sales goals, prepare weekly and monthly goals, give sales presentations to a range of prospective clients and negotiate contracts with prospective clients.

The basic skills required to become a sales representative in the oil and gas production industry are interpersonal skills, strong communication, problem-solving abilities, product knowledge and active listening. The average salary of a sales representative is approximately $1,10,000 to $1,15,000.

18. Director of Safety

This is a pretty interesting role where your job would be to design and implement safety procedures for the process or company by using the standards and regulations laid down by the respective employers or state.

Their major responsibility is to ensure a safe work environment for all workers. Apart from health and safety regulations, they also need to provide professional training to employees related to the industry and safety standards.

Additionally, they need to seek opportunities to reduce workplace injuries, accidents and health issues. They also need to analyze the safety training and procedures and based on that, they recommend revisions, improvements and updates. Now you know is oil and gas production a good career path.

The basic skills required to become a director of safety are a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or a related field, in-depth knowledge of legislation and procedures, experience in writing reports and policies for health and safety and familiarity with conducting data analysis and reporting statistics. The average salary of a director of safety is around $1,40,000 to $1,50,000.

19. Technical Director

There are various types of jobs in oil and gas industry, but this is one of the best when it comes to job roles and salary. As a technical director, you would offer strategic guidance and operational advice to consultants, engineers, project managers, and drilling team leads. As a result, they understand the project goals and accordingly make plans and work schedules that will help achieve them.

They are the technical point of contact for the team members, represent the organization’s interests, and guide them on how to achieve them effectively and efficiently. Other responsibilities include researching and recommending new technologies to enhance the productivity and revenue of the organization.

Various skills required to become a technical director are team management, project management and expert-level skills in technology management. The average salary of a technical director ranges from $3,40,000 to 3,50,000.

20. Process Engineer

Process Engineer

You can also become a process engineer if you have technical knowledge of the industry, as it involves creating, configuring and optimizing industrial processes from the start till certification.

Their job is not just limited to oil and gas but is more associated with general manufacturing. Their main role is to make the manufacturing process better and more efficient. Therefore, they must possess in-depth industry knowledge and processing techniques.

They are also responsible for assessing the entire process, taking measurements and interpreting data. In addition, they create, run, test and upgrade systems and techniques.

The basic skills needed to become a process engineer are an excellent knowledge of math, stats, data analysis and technical skills. Other soft skills that can help you perform better in this role are good communication, collaboration, interpersonal and problem-solving skills. The average salary of a process engineer ranges from $80,000 to $90,000.

Also Read: Is Basic Industries a Good Career Path? Answered

21. Environmental Compliance Specialist

If you wish to apply for this job, your role will be to ensure that the organization meets the rules and regulations associated with environmental requirements.

You will have to ensure compliance at petroleum and hazardous substance storage site and transportation facilities. Furthermore, they also need to offer technical help and assistance on oil pollution issues.

They need to do environmental audits and advise the organization on compliance with state, local and federal environmental regulations. Skills required to become an environmental compliance specialist are problem-solving, communication and analytical skills.

If you possess all these skills, it just takes around 6 to 12 months of job training to become a skilled environmental compliance specialist. The average salary of this position ranges from $65,000 to $75,000 annually.

These were different types of jobs in oil and gas industry; you can choose any as per your qualification, interest and experience. However, let us know some of the important things that one should be aware of when applying for any job role in this sector.

Educational Requirements for a Career in Oil and Gas Production

Many job roles require a minimum GED, but some need a higher or specialized degree to apply for the position. Here are the details for you.

  • Petroleum Engineering: You should know that as a petroleum or natural gas engineer, you need a degree in petroleum engineering.
  • Chemical Engineering: Possessing this degree opens up all sorts of prospects.
  • Mechanical Engineering: If you wish to become an operation and maintenance engineer, equipment engineer, design engineer or quality control engineer, it is a must for you to possess a mechanical engineering degree.
  • Environmental Health Engineering: If you possess this degree, it becomes easier for you to get a job in departments like public safety, pollution control, recycling efforts, proper waste disposal and recycling.

Benefits of Pursuing a Career in Oil and Gas Production

workers in oil rig platform

Here are various benefits of pursuing a career in the oil and gas production industry.

  • Money: This industry pays a pretty good amount in terms of salary plus various other perks. Oil and gas industries usually make a high profit, eventually trickling down to their employees. A lot of people opt for this career path because of the high salaries, plus it offers opportunities to work in various countries. Also, the salaries in this sector are higher than average because of the required educational background.
  • Skills: There are a lot of skills that you will learn while working in this industry, and those skills can be applied in various other sectors. Learning constantly occurs in this industry as it is persistently evolving where you can expect to develop professionally alongside working. Thus, the skills you learn here are valuable and can help you get a good job in other industries as well.
  • Adventure: This is an exciting career field that is dynamic and comes with numerous job opportunities to travel. In this job type, travel possibilities are common because the demand for oil and gas is global. The growing need for skilled professionals in this industry provides you with a chance to work anywhere in the world. Also, depending on your job role, you might have to work from different sites, which means that you will have to travel as the project location changes.
  • Opportunities: There are different types of jobs in oil and gas industry, making it a vast sector wherein you can choose a job as per your interest, skill set and qualification. You could grow in this sector very soon if you are ready to put in hard work.

Cons of Working in the Oil and Production Field

Let us look at some of the disadvantages involved in working in this sector.

  • Hard on the Family: There is no denying that your family gets hampered when you stay away from them for weeks. Also, at times you might need to work for long hours that too cuts down the time you can spend with your family. Apart from the emotional toll, your spouse will have to handle everything, from household chores to taking care of the children.
  • Health Hazards: There are a lot of people who do not prefer working in this sector because of the numerous health hazards associated with it. You will be exposed to numerous harmful chemicals, which can lead to respiratory problems or other health-related issues.
  • Work in inclement weather: Various people search for jobs that allow them to work outside than opting for traditional desk jobs. When the weather is pleasant, working outside is pleasant and satisfying, but when it is cold outside, the wind is blowing, or it is pretty hot, it becomes pretty tough to use the tools and work in such unpleasant conditions.

Also Read: 18 Best Paying Jobs in Major Banks

Things to Know

wind sock

Every industry has advantages and disadvantages. Let us also check out a few things about the oil and gas industry to see where it stands.

  • Workplace Safety: In the oil and gas industry, workplace safety is always a concern, but a lot of companies have taken significant steps to minimize these risks. There are a lot of new safety protocols that have been introduced to lessen the incident rate. Over the last 10 years, safety incidents have reduced by 41%. Before the new norms, worker safety was a significant concern but you need not worry about workplace safety anymore.
  • Salary: As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a worker in the oil and gas industry is around $1,00,000 annually, which is relatively higher than the national average salary. It is an excellent field to work in as there are a lot of job opportunities with handsome pay and allow you to work abroad.
  • Working Conditions: Many people prefer field jobs, and some like jobs wherein they can sit in the cabin. For example, engineers spend most of their time in the office, whereas mud loggers spend most of their time in the field, wherein they will have to work offshore even in the most extreme conditions. Working conditions rely on job location and position as well, thus, you will have to check and do a close inspection before you apply for the job.
  • Travel: The good thing about this sector is that there are many travel possibilities because of the global demand for these resources. As the need for skilled professionals in this sector increases, it offers you real geographic versatility. This means that you’ll get a lot of chances as a professional to travel and explore different parts of the world.
  • Skills: Working in this field will help you learn a lot of skills that can be used in other career paths as well. Some of the skills that you will become well-versed in are petroleum economics, oil and gas exploration management, refinery management, operations material management and excellent communication skills.
  • Instability: This industry is relatively unstable because oil and gas prices are volatile, making it challenging for companies to plan for the future. This instability causes job losses. This instability is a big factor in why a lot of employees do not join this field, as finding a job instantly can be challenging if you don’t have connections.
  • Challenging: The job in this sector is very demanding and strenuous as you might have to extend your shifts and work in dangerous conditions. Another thing to keep in mind is that you might have to stay away from your family, which might also affect your personal life.

After reading the article, you might have got the answer to all your questions, including is oil and gas production a good career path. After looking at all the job prospects, their advantages and growth prospects, it can be clearly said that if you have interest and the right qualification, this can be the best field for you to work in.

There are more than 9.8 million jobs in the US alone, which state how high its demand is – the choice is yours. There are plenty of oil and gas production jobs worldwide, starting from entry-level to administrative position jobs. These jobs may vary from pay to growth as per the location and company size, so choose accordingly. Good Luck!

Peter Benson
Peter Benson is an experienced business writer covering all aspects of entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and management. He is a skilled researcher and takes pride in providing accurate and up-to-date information in his writing. In addition to his writing work, Peter is an avid reader and enjoys staying up-to-date with the latest business news and trends.


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