Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of a landman job is the amount of money a landman can make. Landman salaries, when compared to the salaries of other professions, are relatively high. Even in uncertain economic times, landman salaries have remained high. The question remains though, especially for those searching for a landman job: how much do landmen make? We have taken some relevant numbers, for those seeking information on landman salaries, from an executive summary of the “AAPL Landman Compensation Study” by Forrest F. Asen Jr., Ph.D. The article appears in the January/February 2012 issue of Landman Magazine, published by the American Association of Petroleum Landmen.
National Landman Salary Averages and Medians
Many experienced landmen earn salaries well above the average, as a result, these higher salaries inflate the average landman salary average. High salaries are particularly influential on averages when the sample size is small, such as in the case of this landman study. In reality, most landmen do not earn the average landman salary. The median landman salary is a better representation of how much most landmen make. The median measures the middle range of landman salaries, without the influence from much higher landman salaries or in fewer cases lower salaries.
We will start by breaking down the national averages and medians of landman salaries between company landmen, who are employed by a company, and independent landmen, who work as contractors.
Company Landman Salary
• The average company landman salary in 2010 was $124,641.
• The median company landman salary in 2010 was $110,000.
Independent Landman Salary
• The average independent landman salary in 2010 was $126,608.
• The median independent landman salary in 2010 was $90,000.
Factors Affecting Landman Salaries
Education – The 2010 “AAPL Landman Compensation Study” found that there was a positive correlation between a landman’s level of education and his or her salary.
• Landmen with only a high school education a median salary of $90,000.
• Landmen with a 2-year Associate’s Degree earned a median salary $90,000.
• Landmen with a 4-year Bachelor’s Degree earned a median salary of $100,000.
• Landmen with a Master’s Degree earned a median salary of $100,000.
• Landmen with a Law Degree earned a median salary of $111,600.
• Landmen with a PhD Degree earned a median salary of $152,000.
• Landmen who possess a Petroleum Land Management/Energy Management Degree made a median salary of $125,000.
• Landmen who did not possess a Petroleum Land Management/Energy Management Degree made a median salary of $97,500.
Experience – As in most fields, the more experience a landman has the greater his or her salary usually is.
• Landmen with 0-5 years of experience earned a median salary of $76,200.
• Landmen with 6-10 years of experience earned a median salary of $94,000.
• Landmen with 11-15 years of experience earned a median salary of $100,000.
• Landmen with 16-20 years of experience earned a median salary of $110,000.
• Landmen with 21-30 years of experience earned a median salary of $139,000.
• Landmen with 31+ years of experience earned a median salary of $150,000.
Certification – The level of certification a landman possesses greatly influences his or her salary. While being a Registered Landman did not prove an advantage, being a Registered Professional Landman or a Certified Professional Landman did.
• Landmen with no certification made a median salary of $90,000.
• The median Registered Landman (RL) salary was $84,150.
• The median Registered Professional Landman (RPL) salary was $100,000.
• The median Certified Professional Landman (CPL) salary was $150,000.
Region is another influence on a landman’s salary. In each region, the level of activity, resources found, and cost of living can all affect a landman’s salary. For example, landmen in Houston made a median salary of $125,000 while landmen in Oklahoma City made a median salary of $98,000. Most people know that the cost of living in Houston is far greater than the cost of living in Oklahoma City, so the salaries are fairly relative.
In other industries, the compensation gap between men and women is narrowing. The gender gap in the landman industry remains exceptionally large.
• Male landmen made an average salary of $132,851.
• Female landmen made an average salary of $101,991.
There are many factors concerning landman salaries to consider when looking for a landman job. Many landman jobs differ in the focus of their work, and there are an even wider range of factors that can affect a landman’s salary that are not reflected in this article. Many aspects of a landman’s job cannot be quantified. The statistics reflected in this article however, can certainly provide valuable insights on landman salaries.
All figures reflected in this article originate from the “AAPL Landman Compensation Study” by Forrest F. Asen Jr., Ph.D. The article appears in the January/February 2012 issue of Landman Magazine, published by the AAPL.
Your article indicates that a Phd. earns the highest salary. What field do such Phd. landmen earn their Phd.?
Jim – That is correct. The study which this article is based on found that a landman with Ph.D. earns the most. The number of landmen who possess a Ph.D. is very small though, with only .2% of the respondents in the study possessing a Ph.D.
To answer your question – there isn’t any clarification in the article, or anywhere I have looked, on what type of Ph.D. landmen usually pursue.
Most likely, landmen pursue Ph.Ds in various fields from Business Management, Engineering and Geology. Business Management would probably be the most common, given the business-like nature of the landman job.
The landman industry attracts all sorts of people, so a landman’s Ph.D. may not even relate to the landman industry, but possessing any Ph.D. justifies better compensation.
If I find any information in the future to help answer your question better, I’ll be sure to share it on here.
The salary surveys done by the AAPL are pretty good. The only thing that throws people off is that they think they will magically get paid more if they get a certification. It is actually the case that the folks that get certifications tend to work harder to do a better job and make better connections. Their success comes from the fact that they cared enough to get a certification, not from the certification itself.
Randy – You make a very important point. Certifications, and even continued education, don’t guarantee better compensation. Ultimately, success comes down to how well a landman applies themselves to their trade. Work ethic, effective networking and the pursuit of self-improvement are the real keys to being a successful landman.
How does one become a Landman?
How would someone find entry level landman jobs? What types of jobs would be good entry level jobs to gain experience towards becoming a sandman?
Brad- The most common degree that is directly applicable towards a landman position would be Energy Management otherwise known as Petroleum Land Management. Additionally, there are quite a few landmen who have some other undergrad degree such as Finance or Business Management and then go on to Law School to obtain their JD. I know some landmen that majored in Geology. While there are a wide array of degrees in the landmanagement position, I would venture to say that the best avenue of approach would be to look for schools that have either Energy Management or PLM degrees. There are seven that I know of. To my knowledge the only private school that has an EM degree program and arguably the best school would be the University of Tulsa. Ted Jacobs is the director of the program there fir the undergrad degree. The school also offers an online Masters in Energy Management under the care of Tim Coburn. All in all, it is a great school and that school due to the size and the higher GPA requirements would facilitate you to obtaining an position as a landman. That being said, I know there are a few landmen that do not have a degree but it is a very competitive field. Good luck!