Major Industries in Texas: Career Options & Education Requirements

Some of the major industries in the state of Texas include petroleum and natural gas, farming, steel, banking and tourism. Most of these industries require postsecondary training, although the amount of education needed depends on the specialization.

Overview of Industries and Requirements

Career options in the top Texas industries are numerous, with educational requirements ranging from as little as a high school diploma to as much as a master's degree. For example, customer service representatives, materials movers and farmers can find jobs with only a high school diploma, while chemists, petroleum engineers and marketing managers will need a bachelor's degree in a related subject.

Petroleum and Natural Gas

Workers in this field extract oil and gas used for heating homes, fueling cars and manufacturing products, such as plastics, medicines, fertilizers and man-made fibers. This field also encompasses oil and gas mining operations and designing the structure of mines and wells. Career options include petroleum engineer, petroleum technician, geophysicist, geologist, well-log analyst and reservoir engineer.

Educational Requirements

Educational requirements vary depending upon area of concentration. For example, most extractors learn on the job; however, because of technological advances in the field, formal training is becoming increasingly important. Many postsecondary institutions in Texas have departments or schools dedicated to oil and gas extraction. Geological and petroleum technicians usually need to have an associate's degree and receive on-the-job training. Petroleum engineers, geologists and geoscientists usually need at least a bachelor's degree.


Two major areas of the farming industry in Texas are livestock and cotton. The former accounting for $855,000,000 in export commodities while the latter brought in $1.6 billion. Livestock farmers feed and take care of domesticated animals used for food, labor and textile production. Cotton farmers are crop farmers who are responsible for planting, growing and harvesting cotton for use in the making of clothing, yarn and other cotton products. Career options include farmers, farm managers, ranchers and agricultural managers.

Educational Requirements

Most farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers usually have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training, but postsecondary training is becoming more important. These professionals usually also need some experience along with their education. Popular programs include 2-year and 4-year degrees in business with concentrations in agriculture, crop science, farm management, agronomy or animal science. Some general course topics include:

  • Crop production
  • Plant disease
  • Animal husbandry
  • Veterinary science


Steel manufacturers produce steel for a variety of products, including automobiles, bridges, buildings, pipelines and household appliances. Career options in steel manufacturing include material movers, metal casters, machine operators, millwrights, chemists and metallurgical engineers.

Educational Requirements

Educational requirements vary depending upon level of employment. Millwrights, materials movers and machine operators usually only need a high school diploma. However, because of technological advancements, many employers prefer to hire applicants with 2-year degrees in mechanical or electrical technology, military experience in steel manufacturing or apprenticeship training. Chemists and materials scientists need at least a bachelor's degree, with researchers needing graduate degrees for entry-level employment.


Savings and loans associations, credit unions and commercial banks make up the three types of banks in the United States. Texas banks employ individuals to fill a variety of roles, including financial management, administrative support, customer service, sales positions, loan counseling and accounting.

Educational Requirements

Positions in customer service usually require only a high school diploma and some on-the-job training. Positions in business, management and financial operations typically require a bachelor's degree in business administration. Coursework varies depending upon job duties, but includes topics such as:

  • Finance
  • Banking
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Economics


Workers in the field of tourism manage businesses related to travel and hospitality, including hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions. Career options include hotel manager, travel agent, convention planner, food service manager and marketing manager.

Educational Requirements

Tourism workers often obtain an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in hospitality management or business administration, depending upon job duties. Food service managers, for example, typically need an associate's degree, while managers of lodging, casinos, resorts and other travel or hospitality establishments often need a bachelor's or master's degree. Marketing managers also usually need a bachelor's degree. Some general course topics include:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Hospitality
  • Leadership
  • Business
  • Travel management

Search Degrees, Careers, or Schools