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Oil Rig Worker Salaries

Updated on November 21, 2014
The time and energy expended prove to be well worth the effort.
The time and energy expended prove to be well worth the effort. | Source

Open to All Experience Levels

While the specific earnings vary from place to place, you can rest assured that the pay is either at, or a bit above the numbers listed. The first bit of good news is that you have the raw materials to get picked up by a company in the first place, which puts you in a good earning place. This is something to be excited about! These include: skills related to the particular position you are looking at, physical endurance, and good health. In fact, your health and physical endurance determine the longevity you will have.

After functioning in one capacity for a while, you will have gained skills you need to move to the next level, granting a bigger salary. Of course, along with all of this comes reality. Oil jobs rarely adhere to the typical eight-hour time frame. Often times, you can expect to be scheduled on twelve-hour workdays

You Earn Based on Your Experience

Experience aside, another determiner oil companies use to determine your market value is you level of functioning. Can you make a drill connection five seconds faster than the other guy? Are your transitions smooth and sure-footed? Employers look for ways that you can save time, lower the given injury risks, and provide precise results. Likewise, any competitive sign you can show will set you apart in their eyes, and make you a serious contender.

Those working directly with drilling machinery tend to make a higher salary from the get-go. Those coming onto the scene with three years of experience for instance, are quickly moved up to the leadership position of Chief Driller, bringing in between $40,000 and $55,000 yearly.

As for Entry-level, a good starting place is Camp Boss. The position requires overseeing all things pertaining to catering the food supply. This means supervising staff, and ensuring that they run things efficiently and up to guidelines, and are providing a nutritious/tasty menu to help replenish the crew's strength and energy. This responsibility earns between $55,000 and $60,000 a year. The Head Chef is in charge of ordering food, supplies, and reports to the camp boss. This position has requirements such as education in a culinary school and training in running a kitchen. They make between $40,000 and $45,000.

The Roustabout - responsible for set up and general rig maintenance - makes around $300 daily and $45,000 a year. Welders, who take care of repairs and build new metal structures onto the rig make between $40,000 and $62,000 a year. These team members are required to maintain rigorous certification that they must update every six months. Scaffolders work with a variety of materials to make the supportive structures for oil rig workers to reach different deck levels. They work high above the main deck level and must have knowledge of safety guidelines. This responsibility earns them around $40,500. The Materials Store Person receives deliveries made, which earns $45,000. This means sometimes being woken in the middle of the night. Radio Operators are the logistical headquarters. By maintaining communication with shore bases, other ships, helicopters, and tackling extensive Morse Code ranging from 15 to 40 strings, these personnel generally earn $42,000.

Company Men/Women interact directly with the company as an advocate of what goes on ondeck. They brings news of progress on new endeavors and current operations. In every sense of the word, they are put in the spotlight regularly. Their leadership position earns brings them around $120,000. Control Room Operators handle the sensitive task of maintaining a grip on all the machines on-board, thus earning them a competitive $45,000.

Instrument Technicians provide the technical expertise needed to keep all of the equipment in proper working order. Their handiness earns them $55,000 a year. Installation Managers are considered the most senior manager of an offshore platform, and accordingly must know safety guidelines to safely oversee the drilling process. This is one of the most dangerous parts of the process, because not only is heavy machinery involved, but natural chemicals as well. Gas and mud bubbles create significant resistance as the drill passes through each level of earth into the oil pit. Another responsibility involved is finding people to train and put on the drilling crew. They must have a skill for choosing people with the potential to be good at drilling and attentive to following safety measures. In other words, these leaders are not only responsible for the initial process, but the outcome, as well as the lives involved.

Medics are paramedics that have full training in all of the necessary intervention procedures and hold certifications in CPR, Advanced Cardiac Life Support from National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. They are first responders on the scene of any injury, and bring home $60,000. Chief Electricians supervise junior electricians and ensure that the National Electric Code is followed. They earn around $84,500.

The Drill Crew are the ones who facilitate the drilling process. They handle the heavy machinery that drills into the earth's crust in search of black gold! They make $47,000 to $55,000. The Mud Engineer goes by multiple names, including Mud Man, Mudlogger, and Drilling Fluids Engineer, but don't be baffled! They have just about the most meticulous job of the entire crew. They are faced with the responsibility of performing chemical analyses of the soil, oil and gases that are being drilled into. This requires a degree in Chemistry (BSc), which is put to full use when constantly monitoring gas levels to avoid dangerous fluctuations that could cause an explosion. Their part includes mixing drilling mud, which is used to pack the pipe and casing of the drill hole.

The Mud Engineer must pay close attention to mixing material in the right ratios when mudmixing, because the viscosity (resistance to flow) must be just right to block any oil or gas surges that occur when passing the drillhead through the earth. They earn $70,000 to $80,500. The Derrickman is part of the drilling team and operates the derrick to create the hole in the ground to access the oil. They earn $47,500. As if the exceptional pay isn't good enough, there is a benefits package for those who choose to get involved. Workers get 26 weeks of vacation a year, on/offshore advancement opportunities, basic/visual/dental benefits, life insurance, 401k programs, and profit sharing.

The different avenues one can branch into are virtually endless. Some who have signed on as entry level Roustabouts and Roughnecks have progressed to supervisory positions. Taking that initial step has opened a variety of new learning experiences and has brought unparalleled satisfaction.

Those who have joined either an onshore or offshore team are pleasantly surprised about how well they fare in their career of choice!
Those who have joined either an onshore or offshore team are pleasantly surprised about how well they fare in their career of choice!

We all experience some hesitation every once in a while because of prior obligations. Othertimes however, there are other factors involved in putting off a care

What has been the reason that you have not moved forward with your oil jobs search?

See results
Offshore oil rig in the distance
Offshore oil rig in the distance | Source

Got the info downpat? No worries; here's a little something to jog your memory!

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The positions below have special requirements. Check with each company you speak with to ensure you are aware of all of the requirements.

American Welding Society Certification (ASWC)
Radio Operator
Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) Certification
CISRS Certification; Occupational Safety amd Health Regulations training (OSHR)
CPR; Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certification
Chief Electrician
Chief Electrician Certification
Mud Engineer
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (BSc)
Control Room Operators
American Society of Mechanical Engineers Certification (ASME)


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    • profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Thank you, glad to hear it!

    • Seekoffshore profile image


      3 years ago

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Excellent! How's the progress going? Anything extra you've learned along the way that others going into the field will need to be aware of?

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I had no clue what I needed to start in the oil industry before. This helps... thanks for the info! Been thinking about becoming a Medic.


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