Drilling Engineer

Create drilling plans for pipelines to harvest natural gas from the earth.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$86,000 – $159,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Drilling Engineers do?

A Drilling Engineer makes holes. These holes often become pipelines that bring natural gas or oil from deep in the earth to the surface, where it can be harvested. This is a job with a significant amount of responsibility, as you have to design a well that will keep workers, equipment, and the environment safe. Your projects must also be completed on time, and within budget, if you want to succeed.

As a Drilling Engineer, you develop a drilling plan using computer modeling. You pick out the equipment the team will use on the project, and figure out how to dig the well without causing a blowout or other problems. You’ll need a thorough understanding of the drilling rules and regulations of both your company and the country you’re working in, as it’s your job to demonstrate that you’re in compliance with both sets of rules.

You may spend time at the site of the well, answering questions from Contractors and dealing with any unexpected problems. This problem solving is crucial, as you never truly know what’s beneath the ground until you start digging. If problems develop and the project becomes more expensive than originally planned, you may be required to answer for this and suggest solutions.

Your Drilling Engineer career will mean travel—a lot of it—especially if you work for an oil company. The wells can’t be delivered to your office, so you’ll have to go to them to supervise the work. If you love traveling to exotic locations, and learning the ins and outs of each location, you’ll love your career!


Should I be a Drilling Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • Also known as: Chief Engineer, Drilling and Recovery, Engineering Consultant, Logging Engineer, Oil Drilling Engineer See More

    How to become a Drilling Engineer

    Most Drilling Engineers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaa9ea&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2893%25%29|master%27s+%287%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,93
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