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How To Get A Job As A Roustabout In The Oilfield

To get a job as a roustabout in the oilfield you will want to be in good physical shape. Roustabout work is hard, manual labor for twelve hour shifts with a break every now and then. Depending on what is going on at the rig, such as offloading a barge load of pipe, you may not have a regular lunch but have to eat on the run.

Here are some tips on how to get a job as a roustabout in the oilfield based on my experinces.

What Does A Roustabout Do?

Roustabouts do just about everything on a drilling rig that involves manual labor that the roughnecks or floor hands do not do.

The job of a roustabout in the oilfield includes stacking and offloading drill pipe and casing, sandblasting and painting, hauling sacks of drilling mud into storage areas, washing and rinsing the rig floor and so on.
If manual labor is not your strong suit I don't recommend a roustabout job or for that matter a career in the oilfield. You should know what you are getting into first.
Many companies, such as Parker Drilling, which operates out of Louisiana and Texas, hire roustabouts and often have job postings on their websites.

Write a resume, or have someone that is proficient in resume writing write it for you, and highlight your work experience as it relates to manual labor and mechanical jobs. Don't over emphasize highly skilled jobs that you have had since you may be rejected for being over qualified. Indicate that you wish to learn the oilfield from the bottom up and work your way up the job ladder to roughneck perhaps.

A Good Oilfield Entry Level Job  

Roustabout jobs are good entry level jobs to the higher paying jobs of floor hand and driller.
Most drilling companies are now requiring a high school degree or GED degree.
Drug testing is mandatory at hiring time and at random intervals on offshore rigs. Expect to be drug tested every couple of months and when there is any kind of accident on the rig.

When working in the job of a roustabout in the oilfield, expect to be sent anywhere at any time. You may work a rotational schedule where you work seven or fourteen days on and the same off. If the rig is shorthanded you may not get an equal time off, but instead be asked to remain and cover another hitch.
When packing for your new job take plenty of warm clothes. It can get cold offshore for much of the year. Prepare for hot and cold weather extremes with a variety of shirts and socks. I have seen it go from nearly 100 degrees to below freezing on offshore rigs in twenty four hours.

What You'll Need To Work In The Oilfield as A Roustabout

You'll be provided or reimbursed for steel toe boots and a hardhat. Don't forget your safety glasses and a spare pair and whatever prescription glasses you wear and a spare pair of those too.
You might want to pack some personal items like a deck of cards or a few books for when you are not on duty. Be sure to take any items like cigarettes in ample amounts if you smoke and prescription medications to last several weeks. There are no stores on offshore rigs you may have to wait days for someone to bring you an item from land.

Carry a little spare cash for poker night and reimbursing fellow employees for items they have that you might need. Bring a debit card or prepaid credit card for the offshore payphone. Most cell phones do not work and BEWARE if they do offshore in the Gulf Of Mexico. There are cell phone towers out there but companies such as Petrocom charge as much as $5.00 per minute.
Your roaming agreement and "free minutes" do not apply. (See the fine print on your contract.) Many offshore workers have gotten $2000 bills and there is nothing you can do about it!


For Roustabout Job Listings See: and

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