Top 10 Best Paying Jobs in Basic Industries & Salaries 2024

Mark Talmage-Rostron
February 6, 2024 · 12 min read

As many industries evolve and technology advances, new high-paying roles may emerge, and the landscape of high-paying positions within basic industries may change over time. Learn more about the 10 best paying careers in basic industries below.

Stating the obvious here, but everyone wants to be in a highest paying job and enjoy all of the trappings of success. But let's face it, we can't all be neurosurgeons, doctors, or lawyers now can we?

Underpinning society and the greater job market are vocations that are spread across basic industries such as, agriculture, mining, forestry, fishing, oil and gas, and coal mining. These industries are often the foundation of a country's economy, as they provide the essential materials required for other industries to function and for society to meet its basic needs.

Hence, the best-paying jobs in basic industries are always in demand for those who exhibit the necessary skills and experience to forge a long and lucrative career. And you can enjoy the trappings of highest-paying jobs if you become a Petroleum or Mining Engineer, Health and Safety Officer, Agricultural Economist, Wind Turbine Technician, Business Development Engineer or Fisheries Scientist.

It's important to note that these roles often require specialized education, training, and experience. Additionally, economic and market conditions can impact the demand and compensation for these positions.

Top 10 Best Paying Jobs In Basic Industries & Salaries 2024

1. Petroleum Engineer

A Petroleum Engineer is a professional who specializes in the exploration, extraction, production, and management of oil and natural gas resources from the Earth's subsurface. Petroleum engineers are responsible for developing new techniques and them to extract these valuable resources efficiently and safely.

To become a Petroleum Engineer, individuals typically need a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering or a related field. Some advanced or specialized roles might require a master's or doctoral degree. Petroleum engineers often work for oil and gas exploration companies, drilling companies, consulting firms, research institutions, and government agencies.

The average annual salary for a Petroleum Engineer in the US is $127,318. It is one of the best-paying jobs in basic industries.

2. Offshore Drilling Rig Manager

An Offshore Drilling Rig Manager, also known as an Offshore Rig Manager, is a highly skilled and experienced professional responsible for overseeing the operations of an offshore drilling rig. Offshore drilling rigs are large structures used to drill for oil and gas in offshore waters, often located far from the coastline.

The role of an Offshore Drilling Rig Manager is crucial for ensuring safe, efficient, and productive drilling operations. They usually have extensive experience in drilling operations, often starting in lower-level roles and working their way up to management. The manager needs strong leadership skills, technical expertise, and a deep understanding of drilling processes, safety protocols, and regulations.

The average annual salary for an Offshore Drilling Rig Manager in the US is $83,417.

3. Reservoir Engineer 

A Reservoir Engineer is a specialized professional in the oil and gas industry who focuses on understanding and managing the behavior of subsurface reservoirs that contain oil, gas, or water. Their primary responsibility is to optimize the extraction of hydrocarbons (oil and gas) from these reservoirs while maximizing recovery rates and economic efficiency. Reservoir engineers play a critical role in assessing the potential of a reservoir, designing extraction strategies, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of production.

To become a Reservoir Engineer, individuals typically need at least a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, or a related field. Some roles might require a master's or doctoral degree for more advanced research or specialized positions. Reservoir engineers often work for oil and gas exploration companies, consulting firms, research institutions, and government agencies.

The average annual salary for an Offshore Drilling Rig Manager in the US is $167,679. It is one of the highest-paying jobs in basic industries!

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4. Drilling Engineer 

A Drilling Engineer is a professional in the oil and gas industry who specializes in planning, designing, and overseeing drilling operations for the extraction of oil and gas from the Earth's subsurface. They play a crucial role in ensuring safe and efficient drilling processes, from selecting well locations to designing drilling techniques and equipment, and contribute significantly to the success of drilling projects by ensuring that wells are drilled efficiently, safely, and in accordance with industry standards.

Becoming a drilling engineer involves a combination of education, experience, technical skills, and a commitment to safety and efficiency in the oil and gas industry, but generally you will need, a Bachelor's Degree, gain in-depth knowledge of drilling operations, equipment, safety protocols, and regulations, obtain necessary certifications: Many drilling roles require safety certifications, such as the IWCF (International Well Control Forum) certification, which demonstrates your understanding of well control principles, or pursue a master's degree. While not always necessary, a master's degree in petroleum engineering, drilling engineering, or a related field can provide advanced knowledge and open doors to higher-level positions.

The average annual salary for an Offshore Drilling Rig Manager in the US is $104,950.

5. Production Engineer

A Production Engineer is a professional in the oil and gas industry who specializes in optimizing the production of hydrocarbons (oil and gas) from wells after they have been drilled. Their role in the oil and gas manufacturing process involves ensuring that the wells operate efficiently, safely, and cost-effectively to maximize the recovery of valuable resources from reservoirs. Production engineers often work for oil and gas exploration companies, operating companies, service companies, and consulting firms.

To become a Production Engineer individuals typically need a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, or a related field. Some roles might require a master's degree or specialized training for more advanced positions or specific industries.

The average annual salary for a Production Engineer in the US is $95,972.

6. Petrophysicist 

A Petrophysicist is a specialized professional in the oil and gas industry who focuses on analyzing and interpreting the physical and chemical properties of rocks, fluids, and reservoirs in order to understand and optimize hydrocarbon production. They play a crucial role in evaluating reservoir characteristics and providing insights that guide drilling, production, and reservoir management decisions.

Becoming a Petrophysicist involves a combination of education, technical skills, and hands-on experience in the oil and gas industry, but generally you will need, a relevant Bachelor's Degree, a Master's or Doctoral Degree, familiarizing yourself with well logging tools and software used for data analysis, or obtaining relevant certifications such as training in specific well logging tools and techniques. Certifications from organizations like the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts (SPWLA) can enhance your qualifications.

The average annual salary for a Petrophysicist in the US is $116,844

7. Geoscientist

A Geoscientist is a professional who studies the Earth's physical processes, materials, and structures to understand its history, composition, and the forces that shape it. They play a vital role in various industries, including environmental consulting, natural resource exploration, geology, geophysics, and more, and use their expertise to analyze and interpret data to address scientific questions, solve problems, and make informed decisions related to the Earth's processes and resources.

Becoming a Geoscientist involves a combination of education, field experience, and specialization in a specific sub-discipline but generally you will need, a relevant Bachelor's Degree, to do a specialization that aligns with your interests, whether it's geology, geophysics, atmospheric science, oceanography, or another field, pursue a Master's or Doctoral Degree, acquire skills in areas such as geological mapping, data analysis, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), laboratory techniques, or numerical modeling, or depending on your specialization, consider obtaining certifications that enhance your qualifications. For example, meteorologists may pursue certification from the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

The average annual salary for a Geoscientist in the US is $64,143

8. Health, Safety, and Environmental Specialist 

A Health, Safety, and Environmental Specialist is a professional responsible for ensuring the health, safety, and environmental compliance of workplaces, projects, and operations. They play a critical role in various industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, and more, by implementing strategies to prevent accidents, minimize risks, and promote a safe and sustainable working environment.

To become an HSE Specialist, individuals typically need a bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety, environmental science, engineering, or a related field. Some positions might require specific certifications, such as Certified Safety Professional (CSP) or Occupational Health and Safety Technician (OHST), depending on the industry and jurisdiction.

The average annual salary for a Health, Safety, and Environmental Specialist in the US is $97,013

9. Refinery Manager 

A Refinery Manager is a senior-level professional responsible for overseeing the operations of an oil refinery. Oil refineries are industrial facilities that process crude oil into various products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, petrochemicals, and more. They play a crucial role in ensuring the safe, efficient, and profitable operation of the refinery while adhering to environmental regulations and industry standards. 

To become a Refinery Manager, individuals typically need a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, or a related field, acquire skills in process engineering, equipment design, troubleshooting, and optimization, learn about safety protocols, environmental regulations, maintenance practices, and other aspects specific to refinery operations, or learn about process optimization to gain skills in optimizing refining processes for efficiency, yield, and product quality. However, many Refinery Managers have extensive industry experience, often starting their careers in entry-level roles and gradually progressing through various positions within the refinery.

The average annual salary for a Refinery Manager in the US is $97,446.

10. Chemical Engineer 

A Chemical Engineer is a professional who applies principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering to design, develop, and optimize processes and products involving chemicals, materials, and reactions. They play a crucial role in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, energy, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, petrochemicals, environmental protection, and more.

To become a Chemical Engineer, individuals typically need a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering or a related field. Some positions, particularly those involving research, specialized roles, or advanced positions, may require a master's or doctoral degree. Other ways to become one include, developing strong math and science skills, studying engineering fundamentals, or developing technical expertise, or by acquiring skills in using engineering software, conducting experiments, analyzing data, and applying mathematical models to solve engineering problems.

The average annual salary for a Chemical Engineer in the US is $94,179.

 

Conclusion

Entering into a career in various sectors of basic industries can be both fulfilling and lucrative provided that those looking to land a job possess the necessary qualifications nd skills to more than get the job done, are able to take on a lot of responsibility without cracking under pressure,  and possess the get up and go to get up in morning and be the best they can be.

As industries evolve and technology advances, new high-paying roles will emerge, and the landscape of high-paying positions within basic industries may change over time. If that sounds good to you, make sure that you are well placed to take advantage when basic industries offer up one of the 10 best paying jobs around.

Landing a top paying job in the Basic Industries takes more than luck or being in the right place at the right time. It involves acquiring a host of specialized skills that can be learned by undertaking a BBA or MBA degree at a modern online university like Nexford.

Discover how you can acquire the most in-demand skills for entering into the arena of Basic Industries with our free report, and open the doors to a successful career and organization that you apply your trade at. Download the free report today!


highest paying jobs and careers in basic industries

FAQs

What are basic industries? 

Basic industries, also known as primary industries or extractive industries, are sectors of the economy that are involved in the extraction, production, and processing of natural resources.

These industries are foundational to economic development and provide essential raw materials and resources that are used by other industries for manufacturing, construction, and various production processes.

Highest paying jobs in basic industries 2024 play a crucial role in driving economic growth and supporting the overall industrial ecosystem. Examples of basic industries include, Agriculture and Forestry, Mining Operations and Extractive Industries, Fishing and Aquaculture, Energy Production, Construction Materials, Water Supply and Utilities, and Chemical Production. 

Is basic industry a good career path? 

Whether a career in the basic industries sector is a good path for you and will give you job satisfaction depends on your interests, skills, career goals, and the specific sector within basic industries you're considering.

Factors to consider when evaluating a career in basic industries include, job opportunities, stability, demand, high-paying jobs, skills diversity, technological advancements, work environment, and if the role is challenging enough for you. It's important to thoroughly research the specific sector and roles within basic industries that interest you. If you have a passion for working with natural resources, contributing to essential industries, and solving technical challenges, a career in basic industries could be a fulfilling and impactful choice.

Are you ready to take your career to the next level?

Nexford's Career Path Planner takes into account your experience and interests to provide you with a customized roadmap to success.

Receive personalized advice on the skills and qualifications you need to get ahead in areas like finance, marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

Take the quiz to get started now!

What jobs are part of a basic industry? 

Jobs within basic industries encompass a wide range of roles that are essential for the extraction, production, and processing of natural resources. Jobs that are foundational to various sectors of the economy include, Agricultural Worker, Forest Technician, Geologist, Petroleum Engineer, Fishery Biologist, Concrete Technician, Water Treatment Operator, Chemical Engineer, Environmental Compliance Officer, Bauxite Miner, or even Dairy Farmer. Note that this is not an exhaustive list and high-paying jobs in basic industries includes a lot more.

Do I need a degree to work in a basic industry? 

The educational requirements for working in a basic industry can vary widely depending on the specific role, industry sector, and the level of responsibility. While some positions may require a formal degree, others such as entry-level jobs may value relevant experience, certifications, or technical training.

Professional roles often demand a solid foundation in subjects like engineering, geology, chemistry, biology, or other specialized fields. For advanced or specialized roles within basic industries, such as petroleum engineers, geoscientists, or chemical engineers, a bachelor's or even a master's degree is often necessary due to the complexity of the work and the need for in-depth knowledge. Roles related to health, safety, environmental compliance, and regulations may require relevant certifications, such as those related to occupational health and safety or environmental management.

And, if you're interested in research, development, or technical innovation within a basic industry, a degree in a relevant field is typically required to understand and contribute to the advancements in the industry. It's important to research the specific roles you're interested in and their typical educational requirements. Additionally, consider the long-term potential of your chosen path – some positions may have growth limitations without a degree, while others may offer opportunities for advancement and specialization with further education.

How can I progress in my career in a basic industry?

Progressing in your career within a basic industry requires a combination of continuous learning, skill development, networking, and a proactive approach to seeking opportunities.

That said there are some steps you can take to advance your career in a basic industry and they include, staying updated with industry trends, technological advancements, and best practices, considering further education or certifications that align with your career goals, attending conferences, seminars, and industry events to connect with colleagues, mentors, and potential employers, identifying experienced professionals in your field who can provide guidance, share insights, and offer advice on career development, developing essential soft skills such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and teamwork, and joining industry-specific professional associations to access resources, job listings, and networking opportunities.

What are non-basic industries? 

Non-basic industries, also known as secondary industries or manufacturing industries, are sectors of the economy that transform raw materials and intermediate goods into finished products. These industries play a crucial role in taking the resources extracted and produced by basic industries and turning them into consumer goods, machinery, equipment, and other finished products that are ready for use or consumption. Non-basic industries include manufacturing, construction, technology and electronics, and transportation and aerospace, and are essential for creating value-added products and contributing to economic growth.


Discover how you can acquire the most in-demand skills for entering into the arena of Basic Industries with our free report, and open the doors to a successful career and organization that you apply your trade at. Download the free report today!

About the author
Mark Talmage-Rostron
Mark Talmage-Rostron

Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.

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