The oil and gas industry is booming in North America. This presents a solid opportunity for veterans. Below are a number of career possibilities in which the skills veterans developed and honed in the military may provide them with an employment edge.
|Job Title||Annual Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*||Applicable Military Skills and Traits|
|Geological and Petroleum Technicians||$56,470||16%||Discipline and technical experience|
|Petroleum Engineers||$128,230||15%||Critical thinking skills, technical training|
|Geoscientists||$89,780||14%||Analytical skills and strategic thinking|
|Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers||$67,400||3%||Experience with highly technical systems and equipment|
|Roustabouts, Oil and Gas||$37,340||25%||Discipline to follow instructions in a demanding environment|
|Wellhead Pumpers||$49,610||22%||Ability to monitor operations|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Oil and Gas Industry Careers for Veterans
Careers in the oil and gas industry vary widely. Some are highly scientific and require advanced education while others tackle the hands-on task of building wells and pipelines and running refineries. In this competitive and demanding industry, veterans can do particularly well because of their critical thinking skills and their ability to follow procedures when dealing with heavy equipment and volatile products.
Geological and Petroleum Technicians
Veterans with an interest in applied sciences, particularly earth sciences or chemical science, may find a career as a petroleum technician appealing. Veterans may make prime candidates for the position because of their ability to follow procedures and analyze details both in the office and in the field.
Technicians in the oil industry provide support for the scientists and engineers in the field. They gather samples from the ground, water, pipelines and refining facilities. They also conduct tests and report to scientists and engineers. It is a vital position in the industry and the results of their work help to inform decisions about where to drill, how to protect the environment, and quality control. A two-year degree is required.
Veterans are an ideal fit for this position due to their ability to work in teams and follow through with long-term planning. Petroleum engineers often work overseas or in remote locations, another factor that favors veterans.
Petroleum engineers are responsible for planning the extraction process. They design the systems that will be used and oversee the development of the project. This is one of the more lucrative careers in the industry. It generally requires a bachelor's degree or higher in order to excel.
Like petroleum engineers, travel is often required for this position. Veterans are ideally suited to coping with the conditions found in the regions where oil fields may be developed. Their comfort with adapting to demanding lifestyle and cultural situations makes them ideal candidates.
Geoscientists study the earth, how the plates move, different types of rock strata, water, and even the atmosphere. In the oil industry they are called on to seek out new oil fields and assess physical characteristics of the earth above and below the oil. This information is used to make decisions on extraction opportunities. The work consists of a mix of in-office work, researching, writing, reporting, as well as field work. A bachelor's degree is required.
Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
This position requires extraordinary attention to procedures and details. Mistakes can lead to expensive damages to the plant and equipment and even loss of life. As such, military discipline may be highly valued, giving veterans a decided edge in the job market.
Many of those who work as petroleum pump system operators may work in the refinery and manufacturing facilities. Others work at the wellheads and on pipelines. They oversee and control the pumping systems and manifolds, insuring the oil and other products flow within designated ranges. It is a highly technical hands-on position that requires detail and attention. A degree is not generally required.
Roustabouts, Oil and Gas
Roustabouts are the can-do hands in the oil fields. They perform a variety of tasks in a demanding environment. A veteran's training and experience in proactive thinking and physical fitness make ideal an roustabout.
The roustabouts take care of the physical equipment in the oil field. They are responsible for placing and installing equipment, hauling and clearing equipment, as well as construction and maintenance. There is high demand in this field as oil and gas extraction has increased dramatically in the North America. This position does not require a college degree.
Those who follow this career track will be required to live life on the go in places that are often remote. Veterans who have experience in operations monitoring and control can do particularly well in this career.
Wellhead pumpers monitor and control the flow of oil and gas as it is extracted from the well. The jobs requires the ability to be comfortable with heavy equipment in an industrial environment. It also requires strict attention and alertness at all times, to monitor flows and insure success. This career does not require a college degree; a high school diploma is sufficient.