Photo credit: Anadarko Petroleum

America's economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession. We've seen the unemployment rate drop from its peak of 10% in 2009 to 7% as of this past November. The one area, however, that has fueled more than its fair share of jobs is the energy industry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, from the start of 2007 to the end of 2012 employment in the oil and gas sector was up 40%. Over that same period, overall employment in the private sector was up just 1%. That trend not only continued in 2013, it's expected to continue well into the future. In fact, the industry is projected to add another million jobs by the end of the decade. Here's a look at the energy jobs most in demand from last year according to the oil and gas industry website Rigzone. The demand for these jobs should continue in 2014 and beyond as America's energy industry continues to boom.

Mechanical Engineer
A mechanical engineer designs, develops, builds or tests mechanical devices. While the outlook for job growth is slower than average at 9% through the end of the decade, these are high-paying jobs with a median salary of more than $78,000. Not only that, but mechanical engineers are in high demand in the energy sector.

One example of a company currently hiring a mechanical engineer is C&J Energy Services (NYSE: CJES). As a premium provider of hydraulic fracturing and coiled tubing services, C&J Energy Services and companies like it need mechanical engineers to help the company continuously improve the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of its engineering services and projects.

Field Service Tech
With around-the-clock operations, oil and gas companies put a lot of pressure on the heavy machinery used to drill and complete wells. That has created a lot of opportunities for field-service technicians to come in to inspect, maintain, and repair these heavy machines. What's great about this position is that these jobs typically don't require experience to start as experience is typically gained through long-term on-the-job training. Further, these entry-level positions pay pretty well at more than $42,000 per year with a solid outlook for future growth as demand is staying high, especially in the energy industry.

Among the many companies hiring field technicians is Weatherford International Ltd (NYSE: WFT). The oil-field service company needs field technicians in virtually all of its product and service lines. IOverall, Weatherford International currently has nearly 400 job openings around the world according to Rigzone.

Design Engineer
Another engineer that's in top demand from energy companies is a design engineer. This position focuses on applying the engineering-design process to develop new products or processes. Among the many examples of companies hiring for a design engineer is Weatherford International as it's looking for a design engineer to design and develop both new and existing products for the company.

QA/QC Inspection
The energy industry is under pressure from environmentalists, property owners, politicians, and shareholders to ensure no harm is caused by drilling activities. Quality assurance, quality control, and inspection personnel are one of the first lines of defense as these individuals in a sense "self-police" the drilling site, among other responsibilities, to ensure that the industry isn't cutting any corners in the pursuit of oil and gas.

Halliburton Company (HAL 0.23%) is just one of the many energy companies hiring these key inspectors. The company is currently hiring an Associate QA/QC Inspector that will be responsible for performing quality evaluations on standard and routine processes and products. This position ensures that problems are reported so these can be fixed. It's just one example of a position that's growing in importance to the energy industry.

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth. Those skills are critical to the energy industry as geologists look to discover where oil and gas might be hiding. It's a fast-growing field with the BLS estimating faster-than-average job growth through the decade of 21%. These positions pay very well, with the median pay of a geoscientist hitting $82,500 as of 2010.

A variety of oil and gas companies are currently hiring for geoscientists with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC), for example, having several open geologist positions. An Anadarko Petroleum geologist identifies drilling targets and uses geo-science to help the company achieve drilling goals, among a range of other responsibilities.

Final thoughts
The energy industry has some of the best job prospects in America thanks to the shale oil and gas boom. That's not only creating thousands of direct jobs like those in this article, but upwards of a million indirect and induced jobs over the rest of the decade. That makes an educational investment in the energy industry likely to pay off big time in the years ahead.

Where to invest in 2014