What Qualifications Are Needed Who Can Work in the Oil and Gas Industry General Types of Oilfield Companies Which Countries Offer Jobs on Oil Rigs How to Start Building an Oilfield Career? How to Get a Job on an Oil Rig With No Experience What Can I Do to Increase my Chances of Getting a Job Offshore in the O&G Industry? Conclusions
What Qualifications Are Needed Who Can Work in the Oil and Gas Industry General Types of Oilfield Companies Which Countries Offer Jobs on Oil Rigs How to Start Building an Oilfield Career? How to Get a Job on an Oil Rig With No Experience What Can I Do to Increase my Chances of Getting a Job Offshore in the O&G Industry? Conclusions
Updated 03/01/2021

How to Get a Job in the Oilfield & Gas Industry

Read this article to find out what job in the O&G industry suits you best. This post explains the basic requirements for candidates and provides tips on how to get hired.

Read this article to find out what job in the O&G industry suits you best. This post explains the basic requirements for candidates and provides tips on how to get hired.

O&G industry specialists receive good compensation even without a college or university diploma, but to become one, you must meet certain parameters. For example, being diligent and persistent. In this article, we will tell you more about what requirements you need to meet in order to get into the industry and how to find a suitable job.

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What Qualifications Are Needed

The Oil & Gas industry offers many vacancies for different skill levels. There are a number of positions where you can be successfully hired even just having a GED. Nevertheless, there are certain requirements you need to meet in order to start a career in the oil and gas industry. Here is a basic set:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driving license.
  2. You must be in good shape and be able to lift up to 50lbs a couple of times per day.
  3. You must be hardy and ready to work 12 hours a day for a couple of weeks without breaks.
  4. You must be prepared to work with appropriate machinery and equipment, observing safety rules.
  5. You must be prepared for long trips and work on offshore or overseas platforms.
  6. You must gain experience as a mechanic.
  7. You must prepare a solid resume and cover letter to defeat competitors.

Who Can Work in the Oil and Gas Industry

The modern labor market in the O&G industry offers many vacancies with different requirements for education and qualifications. Below you will find a list of the most sought after positions and their average salary.


These are unqualified employees who perform various tasks on oil rigs and platforms. Their responsibilities include repairing oil and gas equipment, managing cranes, cleaning up oil spills, digging drainage ditches, maintaining rigs, and so on. Usually, a GED is required to take this position. Although all training takes place at the place of work, you can increase your hiring chances if you complete the appropriate program in advance. Depending on the conditions, this may be a risky job. On average apprentices receive between $24,000 and $36,000 a year. The best paid roustabouts work in Alaska, where compensation is about $49,000.

Mud Logging Technicians

Mud logging technicians play an essential role in the mining process. Their responsibilities are to monitor the drilling parameters, collect data, and record information about the well status during the extraction. They use a variety of equipment, including binocular microscopes and ultraviolet fluorescence. In general, mud logging technicians work 12 hours a day for one to 4 weeks. They can also spend 2 weeks on a rig, and then 2 weeks at home. Typically, mud logging technicians have a degree in geology. In general, entry-level employees make $36,000 per year and can expect $51,000 after developing their careers. They also receive bonuses such as free accommodations, food, and travel.

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Well Tester

This is another good opportunity for those who have a high school diploma or GED. This job involves ensuring quality control at all stages of development, assistance in the drill out and rig-up process, and prepare reports. A suitable employee must also demonstrate physical strength and be able to lift objects weighing more than 100 lbs. As a beginner, you can earn about $22,000 per year, while experienced specialists make $126,000.

Oil Field Driver

Oil field drivers perform various tasks. They can transport petroleum products, drive a vacuum truck to pump out all kinds of liquids and sludge, manage a machine with a drilling rig, drive a vehicle with hot oil, and so on. They are required to have a CDL. Oil field drivers’ compensation varies depending on responsibilities. O&G companies are paying from $36,000 to $100,000 for driving services.

Hydrographic Surveyor

Hydrographic surveyors work on ships or sea platforms to make the most detailed plans for the bottom and waterways. They study the construction of the ocean floor, determining shapes, depths, and contours. Their data is used for the creation of accurate maps, navigation, monitoring of erosion, and laying of marine oil platforms and pipelines. An appropriate employee must obtain a degree in the field of computer science, software engineering, geography, cartography, land surveying, or related disciplines. An entry-level hydrographic surveyor earns about $34,000 per year, while senior level surveyors receive a salary of $56,000.

Engineering Geologist

Specialists in this field conduct a detailed technical analysis of soil and rock and assess the risks of geological hazards. Their duty is to monitor the safety of soil and rocks during the drilling & development process. Engineering geologists also provide advice on the feasibility of drilling in a particular place. To be eligible for this position, an employee must have a diploma in geology, geophysics, civil, or mining engineering. Annual compensation of an engineering geologist is around $65,000 and can be increased up to $107,000.

Energy Engineer

The main task of energy engineers is the search and development of innovative ways of supplying energy. Their responsibilities also include improving existing processes, developing new generation methods, designing and testing machinery and equipment, and reducing harmful emissions. Basically, they have a 40-hour workweek, but in some situations, they can work for 7 days in a row. Various options for employment are also available to energy engineers, namely, full-time or part-time, freelance work, or work as an independent consultant. This role implies the presence of an engineering diploma or an appropriate degree. Typical workers earn on average $80,000 per year. To advance a career, energy engineers should work on chartered engineer status (CEng). It's an international certification allowing them to receive more employment benefits and salaries.

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A geochemist uses physical and inorganic chemistry to study the amount and distribution of chemical elements in rocks. This data is needed to study the composition of the fuel, improve water quality, and clean up toxic waste sites. This work involves the fulfillment of duties both in the laboratory and in the field for data collection. If you want to take this position, you must have a diploma in chemical engineering, geochemistry, mineral or mining engineering, or related fields. Geochemists earn a minimum of $58,000 annually and as they gain experience can expect to get about $94,000.

Wellsite Geologist

A wellsite geologist decides when a test needs to be carried out, and when to stop the drilling process. Your responsibilities will include conducting specialized tests and collecting samples and production data. A specialist in this role is also required to prepare reports and provide advice on drilling. On average, a wellsite geologist works around 150 days a year and earns $70,000. If you want to hold this position, you must gain a degree in applied physics, geochemistry, geotechnology, etc. You can also take courses for those who are new to drilling sites to grow your qualification.

Mining Engineer

The task of a mining engineer is to ensure safe operation and drilling with rocks, including ground and underground work. Professionals must have the outstanding technical knowledge and great personnel management skills. The work schedule is usually abnormal and has long shifts. Mining engineers often go on business trips for 2 months or more. It’s important for them to have a degree in mining, civil engineering, geology, or minerals surveying. Being a mining engineer you can earn on average $85,000 each year. Seasoned professionals do about $179,000 annually.


The oil and gas industry requires specialists who are engaged in the discovery and development of natural resources for commercial purposes. This is actually what geoscientists do. Their task is to study the physical structure of the Earth and evaluate how it will change. Geoscientists can work both in the office, at sea, or in locations of potential drilling. To take this position you need to have a degree in earth sciences, geology, mathematics, physics, etc. On average geoscientists make about $90,000 annually. In order to advance a career, an employee can receive a Ph.D. or DPhil degree. In this case, expect to receive at least $180,000 per year.

Petroleum Engineer

The purpose of this specialist is to determine the most efficient and most profitable drilling and production, as well as to solve any operational problems. They participate in almost all stages of the evaluation, development, and production of oil and gas. For this role, a specialist needs a degree in petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, mathematics, or mechanical engineering. Petroleum engineers work an average of 40 hours a week. In the case of an offshore job, the employee’s schedule will be increased to 12 hours a day for 2 weeks. Holding this position, you can expect to earn around $137,000 per year. Most paid engineers receive $207,000.

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Drilling Engineer

The main areas of responsibility for drilling engineers is planning, developing, and overseeing operations necessary for drilling wells. They are involved in the calculation, design, and testing of wells. Engineers usually work on midland or offshore platforms for 12 hours a day for 2 weeks, after which they receive a 2-3 week break. Qualified workers must have a degree in a chemical, marine, mechanical engineering, or related fields. Lots of large companies have programs for advanced training, thanks to which specialists can obtain the status of the chartered engineer (CEng). It's a good chance to develop a career. An entry-level drilling engineer can expect to make $89,000 per year. Seasoned pros earn about $408,000.


General Types of Oilfield Companies

In today's Oilfield market, there are many businesses with different conditions of employment. They vary depending on the goals and directions of their activities. We will consider the main types of companies.

  • Operators - These are companies that own wells. They choose a drilling contractor, a provider of related services, and those who will be responsible for developing and maintaining the well. The biggest operators are Anadarko, Devon, Hilcorp, Repsol, Suncor, and Ophir.
  • Drilling Contractors - These are companies that carry out all work related to well drilling. They execute contracts with the operator. Drilling companies also recruit entry-level and qualified staff for processes related to development and maintenance. The biggest drilling contractors are Diamond Offshore, Maersk, Pacific Drilling, Rowan, Transocean, and Ensco.
  • Service Companies - These companies that provide various services for operators and drilling contractors. For example, welding, electrician support, camp building, consultations on various issues, staff hiring, etc., depending on the needs of the client. The biggest service companies are Aker Solutions, Oceaneering, Weatherford, Key Energy Services, Flowserve, and Halliburton.
All these companies can operate in the international market or be limited only to national customers.

Which Countries Offer Jobs on Oil Rigs

The oil and gas industry is attractive to many workers, as it offers good compensation even among low-skilled positions. The United States leads in oil production, indicating that the country offers many jobs in this industry. Top oil-producing states are Texas, Alaska, California, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, while Ohio and Arkansas have the lowest rate. Most gas and oil companies are located in Houston. There are almost 7 million Americans employed in the oil & gas industry. At the same time, the United States ranks last in the list of the 21 most lucrative countries for oil and gas workers published by Forbes.

The data is based on the average salary in the industry. So if you want to get better compensation, think about working abroad.

According to a Forbes’ publication, the most attractive country is Australia which offers around $171,000 per year. In second place is the Philippines with an average annual benefit of $170,000. Third, fourth and fifth places are taken by Trinidad & Tobago, China, and Russia, accordingly. They offer $151,000 - $169,000 per year. Also, Norway is one of the largest oil producers and exporters, but it landed only in 18th position with an annual salary of $129,000.


How to Start Building an Oilfield Career?

Finding a job can be a time-consuming process, especially if you don't know where to start. Use several sources to increase your chances of getting a job. See the main ways for the job search below.

Specialized Website

There are various sites that offer jobs from trusted employers. The most popular are:

  • Rigzone - this online platform publishes fresh offers daily. With advanced search, you can find lots of positions meeting your qualifications.
  • Fircroft - for over 50 years, this company has been helping employees find jobs in oil and gas, automotive, petrochemicals and chemicals, mining, etc. They provide many vacancies online in the USA, UK, Australia, and Thailand. Fircroft has a developed community, offering helpful articles and fresh news about the industry.
  • Oil And Gas Job Search - this is a website that publishes jobs in the oil & gas industry around the world. It is user-friendly and has a simple registration. Platform's advantage also lies in the fact that it provides many employment tips and career advice.
  • Craigslist - created in 1995 this a trusted website that has helped hundreds of thousands of people find a job. The platform publishes offers in various industries.
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Build a Network

The oil&gas industry is a close-knit family, and most jobs will never be published online. If you have friends in this field, this is a great way to get a position. Make new contacts to expand your capabilities. Also, use Linkedin to add to your circle of specialists who are already working in the industry. Find out if your family, friends, former colleagues, or classmates know someone who works for an oilfield company or refinery. Recommendations have more weight than if you simply send a resume to all open vacancies.

Employment Agencies

The activities of certain companies are aimed at finding the right personnel for the oil business. All you need is to leave data about yourself, and the agency will select the appropriate positions for you. It is an opportunity to begin a career in the oil and gas industry if you do not have experience, but you are more likely to get a good job if you have industry-approved certificates.

Trade Schools

If you have no experience but have some money to invest in your future, you can take appropriate courses with subsequent employment. There are some organizations, like The American Petroleum Institute, that train specialists in the oil industry through accelerated programs.

Oilfield Companies

Lots of companies in the O&G industry publish active vacancies on their websites. Make a list of employers you would like to cooperate with and check their websites regularly to find out about the latest offers.


How to Get a Job on an Oil Rig With No Experience

Before submitting your candidacy to an employer, study the available positions and find out which one attracts you the most. First, you must study all responsibilities, risk factors, and opportunities. Realistically evaluate your capabilities and calculate whether you can meet the minimum requirements of a company.

As you can already see, the O&G industry offers lots of positions where a college or university diploma is not required. Professional education can be completed directly in the workplace. If you want to get into the oil & gas industry, start improving your skills. You can find lots of courses offered offline and online with certificates to help you improve your skills for an oilfield career. This would be especially useful for entry-level roles.

One of the most important steps you have to take is to prepare a professional resume and cover letter. Take note of the difference. A resume is a paper that describes your qualifications. Even if you have no experience you still must prepare it. A cover letter is a document that emphasizes your strong skills, explains your motivation, and demonstrates why you are the best candidate for the desired role. A resume is a self-presentation and a cover letter is an additional document to support your resume or CV with more personal information. These documents are inextricably linked and complement each other. Some say that it is enough to just prepare a resume and send it to a potential employer. But this can play against you. The absence of a cover letter is the main reason why 45-65% of recruiters immediately reject an application, according to different surveys. For best results, prepare a unique set of documents for each position that you are applying for.

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What Can I Do to Increase my Chances of Getting a Job Offshore in the O&G Industry?

Due to good compensation, the oil industry has no shortage of personnel. So when applying for a job on the oil rigs, you must be fully equipped to defeat competitors. See what steps will boost your employment opportunities.

Be Ready to Work Hard

Work on oil rigs is never easy. It requires physical strength and strong moral qualities. Inconveniences are mostly temporary since you will still be returning home. But if you want to get into this industry, you should be prepared to work for 12 hours a day in difficult conditions. If you can accept this challenge, let a potential employer know that you are ready in your cover letter.

Get Prepare for an Interview

An interview is a final step in the selection process. You can have a great resume and cover letter, but you may be rejected due to a failed meeting with an employer. To win, you need to prepare in advance. Write answers to all the questions that you may be asked and rehearse them in front of the mirror. Watch your gestures and facial expressions. Learn more about the company you are applying for to show your interest. Employers love when candidates show initiative. Come clean, tidy, and well prepared for the interview.

Get Certification

Additional certificates are something that will significantly increase your chances of success. The most basic of them are:

  • BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training) - This is a certificate confirming that you have completed a training course on actions in emergency situations when drilling offshore. The price of the course varies depending on the company and working conditions and is about $400-$2000. Courses are held in all states with a well-developed O&G industry.
  • IADC & IWCF - Both of these certificates point out that you’ve completed Well Control training. They are highly recommended for those who are seeking an entry-level position. All courses can be completed online.

Improve Your Knowledge

It is very essential for you to expand your industry database, including professional knowledge and news. Watch free videos from industry experts or complete paid courses. The more knowledge you have, the greater benefit you will receive. Check My Oil And Gas Career website. This is a reliable online platform that is helpful for freshers and seasoned pro It provides lots of interesting information about industry trends and tips on how to get a great job.



The oil and gas industry is a great opportunity to get a well-paying job without spending tons of money on college. All you need is perseverance and good work ethic. A solid package of documents also greatly increases your chances of getting around other applicants. Prepare a perfect resume and cover letter to impress a potential employer and complete a couple of training courses to successfully get your first job in the oilfield industry.

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