How to get a job as a roustabout or roughneck

Written by marlene affeld
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How to get a job as a roustabout or roughneck
Roustabouts and roughnecks may work on drilling rigs or install pump jacks. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Oil discoveries in the United States and around the world have created a growing demand for workers to fill positions as roughnecks and roustabouts. Roustabouts do the basic maintenance work on a drilling rig, lifting bags of chemicals and mud, cleaning the drilling rig floor, moving pipe and sand and repainting equipment. Roustabouts also assemble pump jacks, assist with the installation of tank batteries and assist roughnecks on the drilling floor. Roughnecks are simply roustabouts with more experience and training. They work on the drill floor, making pipe changes and securing drilling formation samples. They may be called upon to operate equipment such as cranes, forklifts or bobcats.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Resume
  • References

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  1. 1

    Get in the best possible physical shape. Oilfield work, as a roughneck or roustabout, is difficult and demanding. The work entails extensive lifting and long periods of standing. Most oil companies have strict physical qualifications and require applicants to pass a pre-employment physical that includes a spinal exam and drug screening.

  2. 2

    Update your resume, proof it carefully and print multiple copies on quality paper. Armed with a folder of resumes, literally go "door-to-door" calling on oilfield service companies and drilling companies that may have positions that match your qualifications. Many employers like to see the face behind the resume. You just may submit an application when an opening has recently become available. Employers will applaud your efforts and appreciate your ingenuity.

  3. 3

    Show up. During periods of oilfield booms, roustabouts and roughnecks are in high demand due to worker shortages. If you are strong, willing and ready to work, many oil drilling companies will hire you on the spot. However, beware that during oilfield booms, housing availability becomes scant. For example, in Williston, North Dakota, in 2010, many workers were living in their vehicles due to the severe housing shortage. Oil companies build mobile dormitory units; however, the supply cannot keep up with demand. If you plan to get an oil industry job, it is wise to have a truck with a camper body or small trailer to provide shelter until you can locate permanent housing.

  4. 4

    Search the Internet for oil industry job boards. If you seek employment offshore, visit Rigworker is an interactive speciality job board that offers resources for oil industry workers. Fill out a candidate application and receive daily e-mails of job openings that match your qualifications. If you are seeking employment outside the United States, make sure you have a valid passport and have your life organised so that you can leave for a new job on short notice.

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