How to become a Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers plan and manage the recovery of oil and gas from petroleum reservoirs. The petroleum engineering profession offers a number of specialisations, with the major areas including drilling engineering, formation evaluation, production engineering and reservoir engineering.

Personal requirements of a Petroleum Engineer

  • Enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • Willing to contribute and adhere to the safety requirements of an operation
  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Aptitude for computing and design
  • Practical and creative
  • Able to work without supervision
  • Able to accept responsibility

Education & Training for a Petroleum Engineer

To become a petroleum engineer you usually have to study engineering at university with a major in petroleum engineering. You may also consider related specialisations such as chemical, civil, mechanical or mining engineering. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry and physics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For further details, visit

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 0%

NSW 11.7%

NT 0%

QLD 21.4%

SA 5.2%

TAS 1.1%

VIC 11.4%

WA 49.2%

Hours worked:




Gender split:

Male 89.5%

Female 10.5%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 0%

Not completed Year 12: 0%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 0%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 12.9%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 0%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 57.8%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 29.3%

Age bracket:

Below 35 years: 52%

Above 35 years: 47.2%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
Graduates may be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia. Visit their website for more details. Registration or licensing may be required. Contact the Society of Petroleum Engineers for further information.
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