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Entry Level Oil Field Jobs

There are a variety of entry level labor and helper jobs available in the oil industry. For these positions, the only requirements are the ability to read and write, and any relevant safety certifications required by the specific employer or state. Pay is good, and the opportunity to advance one's career by acquiring certifications, training, and additional education is substantial.

Many companies provide on-the-job training, an in some areas there is still a real and critical shortage of workers, despite the economy. If you are willing to relocate to Canada, there is quite the hiring boom still going on in the oil patch, and many companies will sponsor for a work visa.

While there are dozens of possible jobs and titles, we have listed just a few of the most common here in order to provide an idea of the variety of employment opportunities available in the oil and gas industry.

Oil Field Job Descriptions

  • Roustabouts - Cleans, paints, moves and handles supplies; see full description here.
  • Roughnecks - Roughnecks work on drill rig deck handling sections of drill pipe, moves oil rigs, handles spills, drives, helps maintain equipment. See full description here.
  • Seismic Driller's Helper - Assists the Seismic driller in drilling shot holes to drop dynamite into in order to generate seismic data that helps find oil.
  • Slashers - Slashers cut and clear trees along seismic lines. Tools used include chainsaws and safety gear. Pay is either hourly or paid by the meter cleared.
  • Geophone Personnel - Also called Jughounds, this is a physically demanding job. The Jughound lays down cables and geophones, which involves a lot of clearing and digging. Pay is hourly with a lot of overtime; must work in all kinds of weather, lift over 55lbs (25kg). Food and lodging paid, and possibility of rapid advancement and pay raises.
  • Electrician's Helper - The electrician's helper assists the electrician in running wires, inspecting and testing electrical equipment, and fixing problems.
  • Mechanic's Helper - The mechanic's helper assists the camp mechanic or rig mechanic in cleaning motorized equipment, oiling and lubricating moving parts and machines, and repairing mechanical problems that may arise.
  • Driver's Assistant - Also called a Swamper; the Driver's Assistant helps load and unload trucks and provides breaks to the truck driver on the road, cleans the truck and assists on the loading docks.
  • Driver - Drivers are responsible for the transport of supplies and equipment to and from the oil rig camp. Must be able to drive on dirt roads in what can be very bad weather.
  • Field Assistant - The field assistant assists the geologists and geo-technicians in the recording of relevant data used to find oil. The assistant will learn to operate geophysical equipment used in such testing. Should have good technical aptitude.
  • Janitor - The janitor keeps the camp liveable, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping and mopping floors, and taking out the garbage. Light maintenance duties may be required.
  • Assistant Cook - The assistant, or 2nd cook assists the Lead Cook in preparing hot, delicious meals for the crew. Creating good moral with good food is a great job. Should enjoy cooking and have the desire to move into a lead cooks position over time.
  • Survey Helper - The Survey helper assists the surveyor. He will hold the stakes and rods used in surveying, and carry equipment used in survey operations.
  • Equipment Operator - The equipment operator will drive and operate various machines and trucks. Apprentice level trade position.

Oil Field Jobs Working Conditions

The work in the oil and gas industry can be very physically demanding. The environment is noisy and loud, and most of the work is outdoors. Being in good shape is a must.  Typically workers will live in camps, ranging from just a few to well over a 100.  Most workers are flown in and out of the camps on a 2 weeks on - 2 off rotation, though some camps operate on a 3 on - 1 off rotation. 

Oil exploration in conducted year round, with the majority in the north being done in the winter, when the ground is frozen and better able to hold up the heavy equipment used when drilling for oil  Once drilling starts, the camps run 24 hours a day, with work broken into either 2 or 3 shifts of 12 or 8 hours.   

Wages for Oil Field Jobs

Wages for entry-level oil field jobs run from 40 to 70k, depending on the contractor and the amount of overtime. Typical earnings for new guys in the camps is 50-60k, but factor in that you are working a lot of overtime to hit those numbers.

Getting Hired for an Oil Field Job

If you are able to meet the job requirements and want to join a highly motivated oil rig drilling crew, you can learn how to apply and where to submit your resume for hundreds of available entry level oil field jobs using Rigworker.

Entry Level Oil Field Jobs Home

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