oil and gas

The oil and natural gas industries have provided jobs to tens of thousands of individuals, who have been able to support their families while advancing the transportation and energy sectors. With the introduction of a STEM based curriculum, many high school graduates and first year college students are looking into the various careers that they can study for within this industry. So, what are the top five STEM-related careers within the oil and natural gas industries?

  • Chemical Engineer
  • Drilling Operator
  • Oil And Natural Gas Landman
  • Oil Rig Roughneck
  • Geologist

Chemical Engineer

A chemical engineer is tasked with developing new or more efficient fuels for the oil and natural gas industry. They typically work in some of the highest tech labs in the world on projects such as biofuels and other revolutionary technologies that utilize oil. A typical chemical engineer has a four-year bachelor’s degree and many go on to also receive their PhD. The typical starting salary for a chemical engineer with a four-year degree is $68,000 but can go as high as $108,000 after just a few years of experience.

Drilling Operator

A drilling operator is in charge of overseeing and drilling new oil and natural gas wells. They are one of the most important parts of the operation, especially in the case of fracking, because they need to be able to drill both vertically and horizontally. Typically, drilling operators have completed a two-year associate’s degree and earn an hourly wage of around $29 per hour.

Oil And Natural Gas Landman

An oil and natural gas Landman is someone who negotiates with land owners which are sitting on oil and natural gas deposits. They work with mineral rights documents as well as assessing a fair market value to offer the land owner for the oil or natural gas beneath their land. There are many accredited oil land management degrees at a variety of four year colleges. Most recently, a Landman has been able to find great work in the Marcellus shale natural gas fields in western Pennsylvania and New York. The average salary for a Landman is roughly $100,000 per year.

Oil Rig Roughneck

Being and oil rig roughneck is a highly labor intensive career which involves connecting oil and natural gas piping, as well as other manual labor tasks around the drilling site. The only educational requirements for a roughneck are a high school degree, but up to six months of on-the-job training are also required before they can expect to see a raise in their pay. The average roughneck can expect to see an annual salary of around $42,000.


The main role of a geologist in the oil and natural gas industry is to take samples of land and determine the mineral makeup. A geologist plays a large role in determining whether or not a particular spot is suitable for drilling. To be a geologist, one must complete a four-year degree from an accredited university. The average geologist in the oil and gas industry has an average salary of around $93,000.