Best Jobs in America

CNNMoney/PayScale's top 100 careers with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.

10. Reservoir Engineer
Reservoir Engineer
10
"Because no two oil and gas fields are the same, I'm constantly expanding my knowledge of the industry, which makes the job fulfilling and enriching," says Kristen O'Connor, a reservoir engineer with Marathon Oil in Houston.
Median pay: $179,000
Top pay: $254,000
10-year job growth: 17%
Total jobs*: 30,200

What they do all day? It's all about getting oil and gas out of the ground -- and the more, the faster, the better. Reservoir engineers run computer models and perform specialized calculations to try to figure out how much oil or gas is below the surface, how much of it can be retrieved, and the best way to get it.

How to get the job? A degree or background in petroleum or chemical engineering is typical, although there's also room for geologists to adapt their skills to the field. Most big companies require a few years of field experience in drilling or production, and may provide additional industry training.

What's great? What's not? Engineers work with the latest technology and highly skilled, intelligent people. They also get to work outdoors in the field at times. But there are a lot of hours spent staring at a computer screen, and it can be frustrating to devote so much energy to making educated guesses. --K.A.

What they do all day? It's all about getting oil and gas out of the ground -- and the more, the faster, the better. Reservoir engineers run computer models and perform specialized calculations to try to figure out how much oil or gas is below the surface, how much of it can be retrieved, and the best way to get it. --K.A.

Quality of life ratings:
  • Personal satisfaction: A
  • Benefit to society: A
  • Flexibility: C
  • Low stress: A
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*Total jobs is estimated number of people working in broader BLS 'job family.'

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and CNNMoney research

Do Reservoir Engineers have great jobs, or what? Are these great jobs, or what?
It's still a tough job market, so when CNNMoney, in partnership with data from PayScale.com, set out to find America's Best Jobs this year, first and foremost we looked for professions that offer great growth opportunities.

Other big factors: pay (how strong it is now, and how fast it's growing), overall job satisfaction, and how many jobs are in the field overall.
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