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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Top five oilfield jobs with no degree needed

Oil Field Jobs Are Hot And Available!
Increased activity in U.S. oil and exploration has led to rises in oil field  jobs

By David M Leiter and Dan Sem

There’s no hiding the facts. In today’s recession, finding a decent job is hard enough for a college graduate, much less someone fresh out of high school. While the national unemployment rate is hovering at 7.6% this summer according to the Bureau Of Labor & Statistics, the rate for those aged 20-24 is almost double, a staggering 13.5% as of June 2013. Add to that the fact almost one-fourth of 18-19 year olds fresh out of high school cannot find jobs (a staggering unemployment rate of 22.6%), and you have a situation where millions of post-teen twenty-somethings can’t even find work to begin their life independent from parents and family. 

However, in the midst of a brutal recession, one market has emerged that continues to provide job growth and new openings on an almost daily business. Across the country oilfield jobs continue to increase as further drilling takes place in the shale plays, such as the Bakken shale play in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford shale play in south Texas. Within this job market there are several high-paying, but hard working, jobs that you can pursue right out of high school. Some pay $60,000 or more a  year, and are summarized below. 

5. Floorhand/leasehand/roustabout

This is one of the lowest-level workers on a rig, responsible for general maintenance and labor, as well as cleaning according to CNN Money. Roustabouts have to get hands-on with their work, and are expected to do lots of hard manual labor in stressful or dangerous conditions in close proximity to various machinery. They may be required to stand for 12 hours and do frequent heavy lifting. On the plus side, the only further requirement for this job is a high school diploma, and a roustabout can expect to earn anywhere from $35,000 to $54,000.

4. Truck driver

Frac Sand Trucking Can Be A Highly Paid Job
Truck drivers are needed to transport oil products
Believe it or not, oil companies are desperate for truck drivers; in this capacity, truckers are employed to haul proppant frac sand, equipment, oil, and other material. A degree is not a necessity for trucking employment, but every bit of experience helps; workers will be required to possess a current Class A CDL driver’s license and will also need to pass drug testing.

Trucking jobs generally require significant patience, problem-solving skills, and physical ability; the job may also involve loading, delivering, and unloading heavy items and can be physically demanding at times. However, truckers in the oil industry will generally earn $40,000 to $60,000 a year, and in some locations they can earn up to $2,500 a week per AOL.  

3. Derrick hand

The derrick hand is responsible for doing risky work; he or she will be required to maintain the drilling fluid system and related equipment, and can expect to do lots of lifting, climbing, and other strenuous physical activity. Applicants do not need a college degree for this position, but should have at least some experience related to it; passing a drug test is a must, as is having a valid driver’s license and being able to lift up to 100 pounds. Working conditions may include cold, heat, dust, dampness, gases and fumes; furthermore, derrick hand workers cannot have a fear of heights. A derrick hand can expect to earn at least $51,000 a year.

2. Field service technician

A field service technician is responsible for transporting, setting up, repairing and maintaining equipment in the field, and must be a natural problem solver. He or she must be capable of efficiently fixing problems with rental equipment, such as travel trailers, power generation equipment, and water supply equipment. A college degree is not required, but a high school diploma is preferred; a valid driver’s license and clean driving record are required, as is a drug screen. Furthermore, applicants must be willing to travel extensively, work under lots of pressure, and must be able to lift 75 pounds. Salaries for field service technicians range from $40,000 to $60,000 a year.

1. Welder

Oil companies have demand for welders, and this demand is growing rapidly all over the country; welders in the oil industry are being employed to repair and maintain rigs. Additional work for welders can be found with certain mobile truck repair services that service trucks and equipment in the oil fields. In addition to performing their normal welding duties effectively, welders are expected to be safety-minded, properly maintain their welding tools, and wear personal protective equipment at all times. No degree is needed to work as a welder, but a high school diploma is required, as is some welding training and experience; being able to lift up to 50 pounds is also necessary. Welders in this field are typically paid $18 to $28 an hour, but in some areas may be able to earn up to $14,000 a month.

While oil companies do continue to expand their operations despite the recession, these jobs won’t be around forever. Check your local job listings or go on to one of the oil field job forums to see what is available in your area. While in some cases it might require you to move, this is an industry worth getting into at the ground level, with jobs that you can grow in, degree or not!

About the authors: David M Leiter (with article contributions by Dan Sem) works on a team as a freelance writer. He writes on a broad range of topics, covering everything from oilfield trends, to the trucking and repair industry, to modular housing solutions for oilfields, and more.

* Image licensing: 1.  Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-15249701-xxxl-pumpjack-silhouettes.php?st=d9fcac3  2. Author owned and licensed


  1. I like the blog, but could not find how to subscribe to receive the updates by email.
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  3. It is really great news. It will help job seekers having no degrees to get jobs and lead their lives easily. I will definitely forward this information to my friends.