Entry level Oil jobs are some of the best paid positions available.

It seems everyone has a college degree these days, or that's what we are led to believe. High-paying jobs in manufacturing may have dried up over the last 30 years but hard-working individuals can still make a handsome living in the oil and natural gas industry. The U.S. has become the biggest producer in the world. That means opportunities to make good money are getting better and better. If you don't mind physically demanding work and more than a hint of danger, maybe this is the industry for you!

Unless you are an engineer, executive, or a scientist, most people who work on-site in Oil began at the bottom with no experience. In the oil and natural gas business, "at the bottom" means you are paid $20-$30 per hour!

The vast majority of oil and gas operations are onshore and typically do not pay as much as offshore installations. The remoteness, cost of operation and level of danger can often explain the difference in availability and pay scale.

*Figures below are "median" salaries, quoted from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and

Here are the most common entry level jobs:

Roustabout/Roughneck ($37,340)

This is the entry point for the majority of oil workers. As a roustabout, you are essentially learning your way around the operation and performing the more remedial tasks. The responsibilities are, but not limited to: 

  • Tool/work-site cleaning
  • Transport materials using lifts/truck winches
  • Assemble/Service equipment
  • Guide Operators
  • Mix drilling "mud"
  • Assist other crew members

Entry level oil jobs

Motorman ($54,000)

This position is often the next step up from roustabout or roughneck. This position is ideal for those who possess a strong aptitude for mechanics and an eye for detail. For instance, someone who likes to work on their own car could be suited for a position like this. The motorman's main duties are to keep the motors that drive the drilling equipment running properly. Other responsibilities include:

  • Service boilers
  • Lubricate/Check equipment
  • Oversee Roustabouts/Roughnecks
  • Assist other crew members
Derrickhand ($48,130)

A senior member of the drill crew, the Derrickhand primarily deals with the top-most section of the drilling apparatus. Being afraid of heights will disqualify you for this position as the Derrickhand must spend a lot of time on the upper platforms guiding the drill in and out of the well-bore. Other duties include:

  • Mud mixing
  • Helping Driller
  • Clean/Repair Equipment

Entry level oil jobs

Driller ($54,430)

Generally speaking, the Driller is the leader of the crew during drilling operations. He or she runs the day-to-day duties and is the one to make on-the-spot decisions based on the signals received during the drilling process. Every live-action and ongoing aspect of the rig is monitored by the Driller.

Entry level oil jobs

Tool Pusher ($90,607)

Sometimes referred to as a Rig Manager, the Tool Pusher is generally responsible for the entire rig and depending on the location (onshore or offshore), may be the head of a drilling department. Often, they are the liaison between the "company man" and the drill operations. Most Tool Pushers began as roustabouts and rose to their position with many years of experience.



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