“Online” and “Engineering Degree” aren’t two phrases you’d normally expect to hear together, but we’re here to tell you that yes, it is possible to obtain an online petroleum engineering degree and begin your career without ever having to step foot on campus. Of course, not every job in the oil and gas industry requires a college degree, but if the engineering aspect of the industry intrigues you, looking into getting an online petroleum engineering degree may be a favorable option.

First Things First: What Is Petroleum Engineering?

Petroleum engineering is a specific field of engineering concerned with activities related to the production of crude oil and/or natural gas. What Do Petroleum Engineers Do? This job of a petroleum engineer spans a variety of tasks, but their main goal is to design, test, and implement different methods of extracting petroleum products from within the earth or under the ocean floor. The tasks they execute in order to do this involve working with other professionals to design and build the machines necessary to make the extractions, locating dig sites, operating specialized software, supervising or overseeing extraction projects, etc. For those with years of experience and perhaps some additional educational training, this field of work can expand even more to include positions such as scientific research, consulting, or teaching, rather than fieldwork.

Where Can They Work?

The typical work environment for petroleum engineers is a combination of being in-office conducting research and developing products and being on-site at the wells overseeing projects. In geographical terms, petroleum engineers are needed all across North America, but demand is higher in oil-rich areas such as Western Canada or Texas, for example. It is quite common that the job, like many jobs in the industry, may involve temporary or permanent relocation, depending on where their skills, equipment, or supervision is needed.

What Is The Job Market Like?

The job outlook for petroleum engineers is a positive one – in fact, employment in the field is projected to grow an above average 15% by the year 2026. Of course, the job outlook is quite closely tied with the price of oil, as increases in the price of oil generally lead companies to expand and increase capital investments, which often creates more positions that need filling. With the recent recession over and the price of oil once again stabilizing and even increasing, it should come as no surprise that more positions are becoming available. In addition to being in growing demand, Petroleum engineers are also currently some of the highest paid individuals in the oil and gas industry. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how valuable they are to the progress and therefore the overall success of the industry.

Getting Your Petroleum Engineering Degree Online

If the above interests you and you wish to look further into how you can start your career as a petroleum engineer, why not consider getting your petroleum engineering degree online? Earning your petroleum engineering degree online has become widely accessible over the last few years, and quite surprisingly, there are only minimal differences between this option and the traditional campus-based option. Typically the admission requirements, course calendar, and even the assignments and exams are the same or very similar to one another, meaning that whichever delivery method you choose you are still receiving a top-quality education that will prepare you with the knowledge necessary to excel as a petroleum engineer.

What To Expect?

Due to the fact that there are really no significant differences in course material and requirements between the online delivery and the campus-based delivery, you should not consider taking the online degree as an “easy” option. In fact, the lack of support and structure and the heavy reliance on self-accountability may even make the online program the more difficult (albeit oftentimes more convenient) option. With the online program you should still expect to have due dates (although perhaps less frequently), regularly graded assignments, exams, etc. As the course outlines are quite similar, you should also expect to take around the same amount of time to complete the online program as it takes to complete the traditional program – unless you are working within a self-paced program and choose to (and are able to) complete the work in a quicker timeframe. The types of courses you will have to take include general sciences, math, English, and even writing, alongside the more specific and advanced courses such as physics, geology, and engineering related material.

Where To Start

Across North America, there are a number of universities and colleges all over that are offering the Petroleum Engineering degree online. Your first step should be to research the programs available near you, and do some comparing between them, i.e.: how long is the program, what are the entrance requirements, how is the program structured, etc. After choosing a program, or maybe a couple, that you are interested in applying to, you'll need to find the applications, which are typically done via online forms.

Why Choose Online Delivery?

The most appealing aspect to the online-delivery education system is the convenience that it offers to those who may not be able to afford, in terms of time and/or money, the traditional campus-based education, or even those who have social constraints, such as anxiety. It is great for those who live far away from campus, those who have to work full or part-time even as they study, and even those who are already in the workforce and wish simply to further their career by obtaining a relative education. Online delivery gives the students much more flexibility in regards to location, allows students to work self-paced (whether that be slower or quicker than the campus-curriculum), and gives students the freedom to tailor their education around an already existing schedule. While there is no teacher to turn to in-person, online courses often offer a variety of support systems for students who need them, such as video-calling, email, or even in-person appointments that can be scheduled. Online learning is quickly becoming the most convenient and inclusive system for post-secondary education programs, making education available for more potential students than ever before.

Your Future Starts Today!

Choosing a career path can be intimidating, and choosing your post-secondary path afterwards can be just as such. If you are looking for a high-demand, well-paid, and diverse career in the oil and gas industry but you are, for any number of reasons, unable to or not interested in attending a traditionally structured program, look into getting your petroleum engineering degree online – you’ll be one step closer to your future without having to step foot on campus!