Are college petrochemical engineering students making a good choice?

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Bad timing for petrochemical engineering students?

The dramatic fall of oil prices around the world shook the oil and gas industry raising questions whether petrochemical engineering and other careers within the oil sector were a viable option for students to pursue. While concern about the drop and western nations push for greater renewable sources of energy are sources of concern there are still good careers to be made for the right student who wants to pursue jobs within the oil industry.

Until recently, it was common for a recent graduate with a bachelors in petrochemical engineering to land a job immediately out of college that had a six figure a year salary. With the weakening market is predicting that for the first time in over 10 years, the 2018 job market will shrink by 1%. A modest diminishment, but this could still make future engineers nervous.

However, the reality of our economic landscape is changing. This change is not just limited to the oil industry but across the whole spectrum of careers. While traditional jobs are still the safest route to a long and stable career, it is not uncommon to hear about major corporations laying of hundreds or thousands of employees. This is not always due to the company faltering, but that their priorities change and such flexibility is necessary for companies to survive the ever-changing world.

Nervous students might read this and be unsure of what they can do. A petrochemical engineering degree is no longer a guarantee to a lucrative and stable job, but a proactive young adult can have a profitable and long career in this field.

Above all else young adults must be committed to being the best in their field. Constantly working hard and finding a mentor who can guide them in their career choices will make the difference between listlessly wandering through a difficult economic landscape and finding high quality oil jobs. A mentor can help a young man or woman improve in the places they are deficient and keep them on track.

In addition to putting his best foot forward 100% of the time, he must be committed to always learning. Not only does this make him a more valuable hire, but allows him flexibility within a company once he is on board.  Furthermore, it will give him more opportunities when it is time for him to move on.

Signs of hope…

While The current economic outlook is rocky, there are two more factors that must be considered. Within the American landscape, the new political leadership is friendlier to the petroleum industry. Meaning there will be more freedom for oil companies to develop and explore possible explorations. Although Americans are projected to be using less oil by 2030, there is some question about what a Republican leadership will mean for the oil industry.

Additionally, as of 2011 renewable energy held roughly a mere 9% of the market share in the United States and less than 2% worldwide. While these market shares are projected to grow, oil has long been a corner stone of the energy market. American and European consumption is likely to shrink in the next 15 years, but worldwide consumption will continue to grow.

While oil usage in western nations will continue to shrink nations in Asia and Africa are projected to continue to use more. It is likely by 2030 that oil consumption in Asia will be more than double that of the United States, while worldwide demand for oil will grow nearly 20 million barrels a day from 2010 to 2030.

A degree in petrochemical engineer opens a wide variety of doors, from the exploration point of the oil industry to the production portion. The flexibility this allows for post-graduation and the new skills that can be learned by exploring new fields will be tremendously valuable.

There is no guarantee for students getting out of college, whether they major in art history or petrochemical engineering. They will face challenges in the road ahead of them. If they are flexible in where they live, what they do, and their desire to learn and grow in new knowledge they will have a good career. Petrochemical engineering degrees are no longer a promise for an immediate six figure job upon graduation but they can have a good life and find good work and have a rewarding and even lucrative career.



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