How to work on an offshore oil rig

Updated February 21, 2017

Offshore oil rigs are huge platforms equipped with well-drilling equipment to produce oil from beneath the ocean. Companies need workers to operate and maintain this equipment. If working out at sea for weeks at a time in all types of weather is for you, consider working on an offshore oil rig.

Pass a physical examination and a drug screen test. Working on an offshore oil rig is physically demanding. Be in excellent physical condition if you wish to work on an offshore oil rig.

Get experience with land-based oil rigs. This helps you develop the skills to work the machinery without being in a more demanding environment like an offshore rig.

Meet the age requirement. You must be at least 18 years old to work on an offshore oil rig. No formal education is necessary. You simply must have some experience in the oil industry and be hard-working and ambitious.

Adapt to working a rotating shift. Most oil rigs work on a 14/21-rotating shift, meaning you work for 14 days and then have 21 days off. The 14 working days require long hours and tough work, but you can then have the equivalent of 60 percent of the year off.

Prepare yourself to work in all kinds of conditions and face possible dangerous situations. For instance, the oil rig you are working on may face a hurricane. Know all the possible dangers about working on an oil rig before deciding if this career is for you.


Search for other opportunities aboard an offshore oil rig if working with the machinery is not for you. Other positions available on an offshore oil rig include electricians, mechanics, cleaning personnel and even cooks. Some of these may have special education or training requirements.

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