Oil & Gas Jobs Lead the Way in Pay
There is more good news for Americans looking to start a career in the oil and natural gas industry: Petroleum engineering tops the list of highest-paid college majors in 2019, according to CNBC.
The network analyzed census data from career planning site Zippia on graduates with 174 majors, and the results are clear:
“When looking at workers between the ages of 29 and 31 who were employed the whole year and worked at least 35 hours per week … petroleum engineering stands out as the highest-paying college major — by far.
“The average annual income [of] students who graduate with a degree in petroleum engineering is about $169,680 per year, according to Zippia, while graduates of the second-highest paying major earn closer to $95,351 a year on average.” (Emphasis added)
Another benefit of the petroleum engineering degree comes from its staying power, especially with the oil and natural gas industry growing stronger as its predicted to drive the U.S. economy for years to come. More from CNBC:
“This is not the first year that petroleum engineering has been named the highest-paying college major. In 2018, salary comparison site PayScale surveyed 2.3 million graduates from over 2,700 colleges across the U.S. and found that workers with this degree earn around $94,000 at the beginning of their careers, and an occupation-wide average of $175,000 a year.”
The industry makes another appearance on the list at No. 7 with mining and mineral engineering yielding an average annual income of $83,754. But its overall reach is even greater.
The rest of the top 10 earning majors can all be found in oil and natural gas , as a college student with a degree in business, economics, actuarial science, or geosciences can uncover numerous career opportunities in the sector.
In growing oil and natural gas plays like the Utica and Marcellus Shale, industry groups are making those job connections easier. For instance, the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program recently published a career guide identifying more than 75 job opportunities in the industry.
The study from CNBC and Zippia isn’t a lone data point either. According to the Wall Street Journal, the American energy boom has led to the energy and utility sector to have the highest median salary of any industry in the S&P 500.
Median pay in the sector is $117,000, well above the average salary of $77,324 for an American with an advanced degree.