Online Petroleum Engineering Degrees

You need a bachelor's to work as a petroleum engineer. Online petroleum engineering programs can save you money while offering a premier education.

Updated October 18, 2023

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The oil and gas industry continues to play an important role in global energy supply. Petroleum engineers assume varied responsibilities in the energy industry, depending on their training and professional interests. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reveal a median annual salary of $137,330 for petroleum engineers, much higher than the $41,950 median salary for all workers.

Students can now pursue a petroleum engineering degree online at several accredited colleges and universities. No matter how graduates earn a degree in the field, they enter a global professional arena with high income potential.

FAQ's About Petroleum Engineering

Is a petroleum engineering degree worth it?

The BLS reports a median salary of $137,330 per year for professionals in this arena. Students with mathematical and technical abilities who enjoy working mostly outdoors may enjoy a petroleum engineering career.

How long does it take to get a degree in petroleum engineering?

An undergraduate petroleum engineering degree typically takes four years to complete. However, factors such as enrollment status and delivery format may influence actual completion time.

Is there a high demand for petroleum engineers?

Oil prices and supply usually drives the demand for petroleum engineers. The BLS projects a 3% growth rate for jobs in this sector, about as fast as average.

What degree do I need to become a petroleum engineer?

Entry-level positions in the field typically only require a bachelor's. Management jobs may require additional certification or an advanced petroleum engineering degree. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online graduate degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these online Master's or PhD programs.

Why Get a Degree in Petroleum Engineering?

A well-crafted petroleum engineering degree develops the skills and technical knowledge required in such a challenging professional field. Programs often include case studies, individual and group projects, internship opportunities, and in-depth research. Students learn how to solve a variety of engineering problems through critical analysis and technical evaluation. Enrollees study how to implement safe, viable, and ethical solutions within industry regulations.

At many schools, students pursuing an online petroleum engineer degree follow the same curriculum as on-campus enrollees. Upon completing the program, online graduates derive the same professional benefits as on-campus students.

How Much Does a Petroleum Engineering Degree Cost?

National Center for Education Statistics data show undergraduate students at in-state public schools paid an average of $20,598 for 2018-19. Bachelor's degree-seekers at private, nonprofit four-year institutions paid $47,541. Both amounts include tuition, fees, and on-campus housing. Students can expect the cost of a year's enrollment in a petroleum engineering program to approximate these figures.

Online enrollees often save significantly by not paying on-campus room and board costs. For tuition and fees alone, one year of enrollment at a public school came to $9,212 for resident students. Online students at private institutions paid an average of $34,758. Therefore, earning an online petroleum engineer degree could prove more affordable. Students should take note of schools that allow out-of-state online enrollees to pay resident tuition, bringing substantial savings.

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How Much Do Petroleum Engineering Majors Make?

Expectedly, oil and gas companies hire the most petroleum engineers, followed by general businesses, and the mining industry. Industries with the highest employment levels for any occupation usually offer opportunities for career growth and advancement. However, financial investment services companies pay the highest mean salaries for professionals in this arena, at $205,330 annually. Employment services agencies and companies offering credit intermediation and related activities follow close behind, paying $205,320 and $204,540, respectively.

The state where a petroleum engineer chooses to work also influences their professional options and income potential. The states with the highest employment levels in this industry include Texas, California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Colorado. The following states pay the highest petroleum engineering salaries: New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Oklahoma. Petroleum engineers in these locales earn mean annual wages of $184,560, $169,760, $160,710, $160,150, and $156,390, respectively.

Courses in Petroleum Engineering

Whether pursuing a petroleum engineering degree online or on campus, students gain a fundamental understanding of the basic tenets of science and engineering. Participants receive hands-on training in the latest technology and tools available today. Most colleges and universities offer similar foundation courses in calculus, chemistry, and physics. Schools with specific specialization areas offer additional classes in those arenas.

Engineering programs typically include an internship experience or a fieldwork component. Students develop the practical skills necessary for the workplace through hands-on training experiences.

Certifications and Licensure for Petroleum Engineering

Most states allow petroleum engineering degree-holders to work under the supervision of a licensed engineer. Licensure requirements vary by state. However, some states accept an out-of-state license if the licensure criteria meets or exceeds their own requirements. Petroleum engineers can earn industry-recognized certifications to expand their expertise in a specific arena and increase their career options.

This Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) program accepts candidates with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering or a closely related field such as geoscience engineering. Applicants must also show at least four years of experience or training in the field. The PCE credential enjoys global recognition. The National Petroleum Management Association administers five certification levels. The CPJ credential requires passing the initial certification test, completing 42 continuing education units, and possessing two years of experience. Candidates earn continuing education units by submitting experience, education, or training history for review. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals requires a bachelor's in any field or an associate with a focus on health, safety, or the environment. Candidates must show one year of professional experience where 50% of their duties relate directly to worksite or occupational safety.

Scholarships for Petroleum Engineering

Many colleges and universities attract and support STEM enrollees through generous financial aid packages. Petroleum engineering degree-seekers can explore additional opportunities available through state and federal agencies, private nonprofits, and professional associations with ties to engineering.

Scholarships for Petroleum Engineering
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Barry Goldwater Scholarships

Up to $7,500 The scholarship accepts applications from students in their sophomore or junior year of a STEM program. Applicants must show full-time enrollment and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Gus Archie Memorial Scholarship

$5,000 SPE administers this merit-based scholarship, giving preference to students pursuing a petroleum engineering degree. Applicants need an excellent academic record; most recipients belong to the top 3% of their graduating class.

Online Petroleum Engineering Programs

  1. Aims Community College

    Greeley, CO



    Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Aims Community College offers a 2-year program to earn an Oil & Gas Associate of Applied Science degree, which requires 37 credits for graduation. A number of mandatory classes can be completed through the Aims Online Campus. Support for these courses can be found through online tutoring, advising and technical support. Whether students take classes on-site or online, a 2.0 GPA must be maintained in order to finish a program. The Aims Foundation awards over 80 different scholarships to assist in paying for tuition.

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