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What is the Energy Industry?

Whether you want to work in the oil and gas industry or in renewables, there is no shortage of career options for engineers in the energy sector.

Majors that Could Lead to Energy Careers

Students interested in energy careers could start their career paths through several majors offered by the Texas A&M University College of Engineering.

See below for a list of some of our majors that could lead to a career in the energy field.

  • Architectural engineering: Buildings account for about 40% of all U.S. energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as 75% of U.S. electricity use. Architectural engineers are engaged in building and rehabilitating buildings for greater energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact.
  • Biological and agricultural engineering: Biological and agricultural engineers develop alternative sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar power systems, and plant-based fuels. In the development of plant-based fuels, biological organisms are fermented to become ethanol.
  • Chemical engineering: Because of their multifaceted expertise, chemical engineers have been at the forefront of innovation in energy generation, devising methods to use renewable and nonrenewable feedstocks. A vast array of chemical engineering principles are used to generate electricity and to produce different fuel types for transportation and for industrial and residential purposes.
  • Civil engineering: Civil engineers play a vital role in designing, delivering and managing an energy-efficient infrastructure that includes sustainable and renewable energy resources. Engineers meet energy challenges while protecting the environment with solutions that span policy, science and technology.
  • Computer engineering: Software development for the smart power grid is a sought-after skill that students begin to develop in this major. Students also gain knowledge of and experience with reliability monitoring, which is needed within the energy career field.
  • Computer science: With an increase of energy companies utilizing technology-laden smart grids, wireless sensors, predictive intelligence and high-tech mission control centers, the percentage of technology-related jobs in the energy sector is on the rise, and computing professionals are in high demand to fill these lucrative positions.
  • Electrical engineering: Electrical engineers offer skills based in the smart power grid, power generation transmission and reliability.
  • Electronic systems engineering technology: Students in this major develop knowledge commonly used within the energy career field to create control systems that are used to monitor processes in energy generation.
  • Environmental engineering: Environmental engineers play a vital role in designing, delivering and managing an energy-efficient infrastructure that includes the use of sustainable and renewable energy resources. Engineers meet the energy challenges while protecting the environment with policy, science and technology solutions.
  • Industrial and systems engineering: Industrial engineers help bring energy to the world by creating systems that facilitate faster and safer energy transfer.
  • Industrial distribution: Some of the main energy-related concepts studied within the industrial distribution major are technical sales, value-added services, and customer service of oil and gas products such as pipe, value, fittings and metals. Students also learn about the processes of purchasing, materials management, transportation and distribution to support oil and gas upstream and downstream companies.  
  • Manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology: In this major, students learn valuable skills within the topics of oil and gas, mechanical equipment such as pumps and compressors, power plants and energy conversion.
  • Materials science engineering: From materials for traditional petroleum extraction (hard drill bits, pipes that can work under extreme temperatures and pressures) to materials for renewable energy conversion and storage (photovoltaics, batteries, composite wind turbine blades), materials engineers play a key role in defining the shape and form of our energy infrastructure.
  • Mechanical engineering: Mechanical engineers work on the design of alternative energy systems like wind turbines and solar panels, design and optimization of systems for extracting and processing petroleum products, electric power generation and transmission system design, operation, and optimization.
  • Multidisciplinary engineering: The energy industry integrates various fields of engineering and science by using multiple aspects of energy research, including the sustainable utilization of fossil fuels and renewable resources, design of devices for efficient energy conversion, smart distribution and storage of energy, and sustainability and environmental impact of energy-related activities.
  • Multidisciplinary engineering technology: Students gain expertise in robotics and automation, and learn how to apply this knowledge in the oil and gas industry. Classes also give students an in-depth understanding of electromechanical systems, which is valuable within the energy career field.
  • Nuclear engineering: Nuclear energy is the largest and most reliable source of clean power in the United States. Nuclear engineers assist in researching and designing innovative and efficient nuclear reactors to help create a greener and more fuel-efficient world. 
  • Ocean engineering: Ocean engineers in the energy industry analyze, design and develop non-renewable and renewable energy resources in the ocean. Examples include offshore oil and gas facilities, wind farms, wave energy systems, tidal energy systems and current energy systems. They also utilize mooring systems for energy systems in deep water and apply seismic systems to explore the oceans for minerals on and below the seafloor.
  • Petroleum engineering: Petroleum engineers possess the critical knowledge needed for the uncertainties and challenges of energy production. Producing and manipulating fluid flow in subsurface environments in the most efficient and effective manner leads to careers in drilling applications and technologies, reservoir production techniques, and reservoir resources management.