The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

A Career in Oil and Natural Gas--Unprecedented Opportunity

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 30, 2009

Thinking about a career in the oil and natural gas industry? The summer 2009 Salary Survey report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that petroleum engineers are pulling in the highest starting salaries.

Why? Increasing demand for energy and current employees nearing retirement has created unprecedented opportunity. One out of four current engineers, geoscientists, multi-skilled maintenance professionals, process and production operators, and health and safety professionals in the oil and natural gas industry are eligible for retirement this year.

The oil and natural gas industry needs these skilled professionals to meet America's demand for energy. In fact--according to NACE's report--"out of the more than 1,524,000 bachelor's degrees awarded in 2007, just 450 were in petroleum engineering."

For more information, listen to an NPR segment about the report.


Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.