SEE Careers: Oil and Gas Field Inspector 

Knowing all of your options is critical when deciding what career to pursue. A college degree has been the obvious student choice for many years. However, increasing tuition rates and potential debt have made students take a step back. Attitudes surrounding college degrees are beginning to shift. Alternative career paths are not only available but in high demand. For those in high school searching for a great career, steady salary, an outdoor work environment, and a chance to make a positive impact, consider pursuing a career in the energy sector as an oil and gas field inspector. With the recent federal funding of the REGROW (Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells) Act, oil and gas field inspectors are in high demand to solve both the energy and environmental challenges of the country. A government job in regulatory oversight could provide a stable and well-paying position that could turn into a long-term career path. 

What is an oil and gas field inspector? 

Oil and gas field inspectors work for the government agency with primary regulatory jurisdiction over the oil and natural gas industry in their region (state, federal, tribal). The inspector exercises their agency’s statutory responsibilities under state and federal laws for regulation and enforcement of the region’s energy industries. A field inspector’s goal is to ensure that energy companies follow all regulations to ensure that hydrocarbons are extracted, produced and distributed in a manner to protect the health and safety of the public and the natural environment.  

How do oil and gas field inspectors make a positive impact? 

Because field inspectors are charged with enforcing government laws pertaining to the oil and gas industry, they are the first line of defense to protect the public and the environment. In addition, oil and gas field inspectors are promoting best practices within their region to ensure that the economic resources under their jurisdiction are utilized to benefit the energy needs of the country. Their position is critical for upholding safe standards for drilling, operation and permanent closure of energy resource wells.

How much education do I need?

The specific responsibilities of an oil and gas field inspector vary. Depending on the type of job, you may need more or less education and experience. As a result, educational requirements to become a field inspector can range from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree. Those with a high school diploma willing to get the training and experience necessary for higher-level jobs can work their way up the career ladder.

How much money do oil and gas field inspectors make? 

Salary will depend on the complexity of the jobs performed. According to Zipp Recruiter, the compensation for an oil and gas field inspector as of 2022 can range from $12,000 to $100,000 a year. The average salary is $54,614 a year. Inspectors with higher-level training and experience will have more technical jobs and, therefore, more opportunities to increase their earnings.

How can I get started? 

The diversity of job positions available as an oil and gas field inspector provides a number of entry points. For those seeking a college degree, a bachelor’s in petroleum engineering is an excellent route to the doorstep of a regulatory agency. And for those who would like to enter the workforce immediately after high school, other avenues can lead to an oil and gas inspector career, for example, becoming a field inspector assistant, completing an educational program geared towards oil and gas field inspectors, or obtaining a certification related to wellsite fundamentals. Requirements and prerequisites may vary depending on the agency where you would like to work. Keep in mind that a high school diploma is a minimum national requirement.

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