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Jobs Abound In Energy Industry's New Boom Time

•, by Kirk Siegler

Economists say many industries are looking up this year. But perhaps none has a better outlook than the energy sector.

New drilling technologies and rising fuel prices have generated a boom in drilling — and lots of high-paying jobs for people with the skills to work in the oil patch. On some college campuses, companies are so eager to find petroleum engineers that they are offering jobs to students even before they have graduated.

At the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Chris Enger is among the seniors who are being sought out by employers. "I feel very lucky and very glad I chose engineering," he says, "and specifically petroleum engineering."

Set to graduate with a bachelor's degree this May, Enger already has a job lined up with EOG Resources, a Texas-based oil and gas company.

"I've got friends on other campuses who may not have jobs and are considering pursuing a graduate degree, which seems to be a lot of people's options when they can't find a job," he says.

At the School of Mines, graduates in petroleum engineering don't have to run up debt in graduate school. Their average starting salary? Nearly $79,000.

Students are flocking to the field — and to colleges like this one, which has a nearly perfect job-placement rate for graduating seniors.

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