It could be a good time to get into petroleum engineering. Officials say companies are scrambling for recruits to keep up with a booming worldwide energy market.
At the University of Texas, the number of petroleum engineering
students has doubled since the late 1990s as demand for young
engineers pushes salaries up.
Tim Taylor of UT's Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering says summer internship typically pay $5,000 a month. Annual salaries for top graduates start at $75,000 -- plus a $20,000 signing bonus. And it's common for graduates to have six or seven job offers.
Taylor says, "The companies are stumbling all over themselves. It's gotten to where students during their internships are making more than their parents."
An aging workforce also contributes to the demand for young
engineers. A spokesperson for the Society of Petroleum Engineers says average age of the group's members is 48.