Oil Rig Jobs | Is It Worth the Money? (2022)

Oil rig jobs have been around since the time of early petroleum drilling. People have always worked off-shore to support the offshore oil industry, and many of the first oil rig workers were local fishers who would help with the struggle of early drilling for a few extra dollars.

If you’re considering applying for an oil rig job, here’s what you need to know.

What is an Oil Rig?

An oil rig is a large structure that sits on top of an oil wellhead or gas wellhead to extract hydrocarbons (oil or gas) from underground reservoirs. They can be mobile or fixed. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but the primary purpose is to drill a hole deep into the ground so that oil can be extracted.

How Do Oil Rigs Work?

The purpose of oil rigs is to extract crude oil from the earth’s crust. For this process, holes must be drilled deep into rock layers containing crude oil deposits. 

After the drilling is complete and the necessary layers have been reached, a hollow pipe called “casing” is inserted into each hole and cemented in place.

The casing acts as a barrier between underground rock formations and our Earth’s surface so that chemicals from deep within can’t contaminate our drinking water. The casing is filled with water, sand, and other chemicals, which are pumped through until they reach the bottom of our well shafts (also known as “oil zones”).

What Do Oil Rig Workers Do?

oil rig worker

Oil rig workers are part of a team that maintains the offshore drilling equipment for an oil company. They may also be responsible for mounting and operating the equipment, including cables and tools used for drilling into the ocean floor.

Working on oil rigs requires being physically fit and able to withstand a wide range of temperatures, currents, and weather conditions. In addition, their schedule is typically pretty intense since they’re working 24-hour shifts.

Numerous companies offer training programs that enable you to gain the skills necessary to work on an oil rig. If hired, you’ll typically start doing basic tasks and cleaning up the rigs until you gain experience. Once you’ve spent enough time in this position, your employer will likely promote you to a higher position with more responsibilities.

How Much Does an Oil Rig Worker Make on Average?

Workers on oil rigs make on average $70,000 per year. Approximately 1.6 million people work in the oil and gas industry, earning an average of $36 per hour.

These workers are typically employed by exploration and production companies, although some service companies support the oil and gas industry. The total oil and gas rig worker industry revenue is around $350 billion a year.

Now that you have discovered the question of “How much do oil rig workers make,” you may set your course in this industry and work on a very lucrative career option.

The Top Four Highest Paying Oil Rig Cities

  • San Mateo, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Springfield, MA


Usual Oil Rig Positions

Most workers start at the bottom and climb the ladder to better, higher-paying jobs. If you have experience in manual labor, construction, or oil rig experience, these help you secure an oil rig position. The various positions available include the following, along with pay increases.

  • Roustabouts (requirements of this lowest position job include being 18 years or older, able to work 12-hour shifts, physically and mentally fit, non-smoker, cannot consume alcohol while on a rig, high school diploma or G.E.D., can work at various heights)
  • Roughnecks
  • Derrick Hand
  • Driller
  • Tool Pusher
  • Mechanic
  • Electrician
  • Welder
  • Crane operator
  • Engineer
  • Rig Medic
  • Rig cook

Some oil companies pay you to go to college in exchange for working for the company. The pay is astronomical. These advanced positions are as follows. 

  • Wellhead pumpers
  • Petroleum pump operators
  • Geoscientists
  • Geographers
  • Engineers

Oil Rig Work is demanding and Rewarding

Other oil rig workers agree that working in this industry is highly lucrative and rewarding. However, it is also demanding work. If you have worked at this job for a few years and are experienced, you become an in-demand employee.

 There is no doubt about this job being hard work for at least the first few years until you become acclimated. The average hours per workday is 12 hours for those who have had minimum training or schooling. Companies tell new workers that they may move from rig to rig. 

Workers Must Follow Strict Safety Protocols

oil rig jobs saety

While companies vary in what they offer their workers, the one thing that all rigs place as the priority is safety. Companies must have strict rules and regulations for their workers, and these safety factors must be strictly followed. 

Oil rigs can be dangerous, so all companies have a zero-tolerance for carrying any type of weapon, drugs, or alcohol on any oil rig. In addition, workers must deposit all electronics, matches, or flammable liquids. 

Oil Rig Jobs:  How to Become an Oil Rig Worker

Now that you have all the essential information on oil rigs, you have decided that you want to apply for an oil rig jobs. You might start an oil rig career with a high school diploma or GED certificate. There may be apprenticeships or assistant positions for those who want to learn more about oil rig management.

Oil rig workers typically need training in safety, such as Basic Offshore Safety Instruction and Emergency Training (BOSIET). Those in the U.S. may also need a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), and oil rig workers must have the physical stamina and strength to work 12-hour shifts and move equipment, as well as the ability to handle oil rig tools and machinery.


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