7 Oil Field Jobs Companies Are Desperate To Fill

oil field jobs: derrick hand, roustabout

It would have seemed the stuff of science fiction if it hadn't appeared on newspapers across the world: According to new forecasts, the United States may soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the planet's largest oil producing country. Developments in technology and high oil prices have created stunning oil booms across the U.S., transforming sleepy towns into energy powerhouses, and making the longtime dream of American energy independence a possibility again.

There's just one problem: More oil requires more oil workers.

By 2020, one industry report claims that the oil industry will have created an additional 1.3 million positions. "Even if we are [energy independent], we can't hire enough people to keep it running," says Brian Aylor, who works in the oil fields in Midland, Texas, where the current oil boom plunged unemployment to 3.3 percent in September. "There's demand for everything."

Companies in boomtowns like Midland, Texas, pay workers handsomely; kids fresh out of high school can earn $80,000 a year if they're willing to get their hands dirty. And while oilfield experience is preferred (companies are desperately looking for experienced hands), anywhere with oil-soaked shale beneath the feet is probably hungry for workers with any kind of technical background, whether they're military veterans or car mechanics.

More: Oil Workers Win Big As U.S. Wages Climb

AOL Jobs spoke with a half dozen West Texas staffing firms and a number of industry people to find out the most in-demand jobs -- and what it takes to land one. Job seekers pondering a new career in the gas and oil sector can check out the list of positions below, and see if they have the skills and temperament to join America's 21st century energy revolution.

1. Truck Driver

Why It's In Demand: "Because everyone needs trucks, from moving rigs and equipment, to hauling oil and water away, and 'frack' sand," says Ryan Lellis, an oil field geologist in the Permian Basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. "Right now, every company is hurting for that."

What It Pays: An oil industry trucker can make up to $2,500 a week, according to Lonnie Ortiz, who owns L J Trucking, based in Odessa, Texas, although Payscale.com places the average at $45,000 a year.

Why It's A Tough Gig: "Someone with short patience won't make it as a truck driver," Ortiz says. "Someone with a short fuse won't make it as a truck driver." Truckers have to be "go-getters who can figure out problems, self-starters, leaders," he explains, since if they break down, assistance might not come for a while.

Qualifications: "You're a mechanic. You're a tire man. You're a load supervisor," says Ortiz. "You turn out to be lots of things as a truck driver. You're a skilled motorist. You're an electrician. Anything that a job title can be -- you're it."

2. Derrick Hand

Why It's In Demand: Not only are rigs springing up almost everyday, but a lot of current derrick hands are older, and getting ready to retire. "They call it the Great Crew Shift," says Tim Cook, the recruiting manager for Houston-based Pathfinder Staffing.

What It Pays: $69,000 a year, according to Indeed.com.

Why It's A Tough Gig: The derrick hand's job is to monitor the drilling fluid, maintain the pumps, guide the drill pipe, unjam jams, and any and all kinds of lifting, pulling, pushing and climbing in-between. "You're the 'anything that is extremely dangerous' person," says Benham.

Qualifications: Applicants should have some experience with rig work, have no fear of heights, and be able to pass a drug test.

3. Floorhand/Leasehand/Roustabout

Why It's In Demand: The more wells you have running, the more crewmen you need. The name changes depending on the company, but these lower-level hands have to do it all. Brian Aylor, a lease operator, says he calls in the roustabout crew when he can't fix something on the well himself.

What It Pays: $54,000 (according to the Drilling Oil and Natural Gas Wells Salary Survey).

Why It's A Tough Gig: The roustabout does a lot of the essential things on the rig sites that require less technical know-how. "It's going to be manual labor. It's going to be hard work," says Aylor. "Running a shovel, swinging a hammer ... building on locations, maintenance on equipment out in the fields."

"You've got to be a hands-on type of person, and not be afraid to get dirty, and not be afraid to lift heavy things and be around dangerous machinery," says Benham.

Qualifications: A roughneck needs a high school diploma or equivalent, and to be able to lift 150 pounds with the aid of another person, and stand for 12 hours wearing steel-toed boots.

More: 10 Industries Set To Boom

4. MWD Field Engineer

Why It's In Demand: A measuring-while-drilling field engineer is responsible for just that: Taking readings in the field during the drilling process -- to evaluate the drill site, and make sure that the drilling is done properly and efficiently. One job posting describes work hours as "unlimited and irregular."

What It Pays: Between $63,000 and $80,000 according to listings on Glassdoor.com.

Why It's A Tough Gig: The engineers measure "all the fun little numbers you think would matter while you're drilling a hole" says Benham, a specialist at temporary staffing firm in Midland. Those numbers are needed during the entire drilling process, so MWD field engineers can expect some serious demands on their time.

Qualifications: An undergraduate degree in engineering or science, or technical experience.

More: Trace Adkins Talks About His Old 'Day Job' As A Roughneck

5. Geologist

Why It's In Demand: "Most oil drilling is founded on geology, it's the first step," says Ryan Lellis, who's been an oil field geologist in Midland, Texas, for 2½ years. "The rocks have to be there and someone has to recognize that the rocks are there."

What It Pays: Geologists are well compensated for their key role; after 10 to 14 years experience they take home an average salary of $153,000, according to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. $99,000 and up (according to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists).

Why It's A Tough Gig: Geologists need to be extremely diligent, since their findings determine where an oil field company will then spend millions to drill a well. But for Lellis, that's also why the job is so satisfying -- presenting his findings to the managers and owners of his company, "and for them to spend money -- a lot of money" based on his conclusions.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Science degree, although a master's will give you a boost.

6. Welder

Why It's In Demand: "What I'm seeing is actually a tremendous growth in the [welding] industry," MSU-Billings College of Technology welding instructor Bob Blackwell told KTVQ in January. And folks are noting the trend all over the country, with oil companies, desperate for welders to repair and maintain rigs, using higher salaries to poach welders from other industries.

What It Pays: $18 and $28 an hour, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. But WDAY-TV has reported salaries as high as $12- to $14,000 a month in boom areas.

Why It's A Tough Gig: Like most rig jobs, you need to be able to handle some physical strain: heavy-lifting, hoisting, crawling, crouching, and heights.

Qualifications: High school degree or equivalent, welding training.

7. Accountant

Why It's In Demand: Not all oil and gas jobs involve digging really big holes. Those holes mean lots of paperwork, and the industry is hungry for office support staff to bean-count it all into place, according to Lesley Donnell, a branch manager at the Midland/Odessa office of Robert Half International.

"Accountants in general," she says, "specifically we have a high demand for tax accountants here right now."

What It Pays: $68,000 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Why It's A Tough Gig: Numbers, numbers, numbers.

Qualifications: Bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or business.

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My name is Michael Wood and I am a certified structural welder, I hold certifications in arc, mig, tig, and fluxcore disciplines all D1.1 all plate and pipe up to 24". I have over 30 years welding and fabrication experience and am considered a master fabricator. I am a certified computer aided design and draftsman specializing in the oilfield and mining professions. I have designed and fabricated recirculating mineral jig plants for precious metals recovery, soil remediation equipment for cleaning drilling muds, and SAFR remediation which is lead removal at military firing ranges in Hawaii for the USMC and NAVY. I am currently designing the latest generation of precious metal recovery systems for use in Alaska. I am experienced in Cat heavy equipment repair welding procedures as well as coast guard marine welding procedures. I have been the welding foreman on several federal and state jobs as a member of local 759 ironworkers union here in the state of Alaska. I was seriously wounded serving my country and have recovered fully and would like to get back to steel erection, equipment repair and fabrication, welding in the oilfield or mining profession. I have the supervisory experience, the design experience, and the welding experience to be an asset at whatever welding and fabrication position that is available. Thank you. Michael Wood email: michaelwoodak@aol.com and phone is (907)357-4992 feel free to call at any hour.

Saturday at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My name is Shaun Moore I have just over 2 years experience in the oilfield I left the rig as a derrick hand. I can't even get an interview or as much as a call back from anyone. Times are tough and I'm a very hard worker just looking to stay afloat and get back to doing what I love and thats working on a rig. Hopefully someone can help me get my foot back in the door. Thanks

Thanks again

shaun moore

November 04 2015 at 7:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My name is Adam Romero and I've worked in the oilfield for quite awhile but it's been hard to get back into an oilfield company I've worked in as a watertransfer lead and I've work as a dionix technician for Bosque systems and as a floorhand for nabors drilling I need to get into any company that is willing to help me and my family, Its been hard these last few months thank you.

August 15 2015 at 11:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hello, my name is Brandon WIlson, I am looking to get my foot in the door as well, am 29 years old and body is willing and able. 6'1 190lbs
in great athletic conditioning, is used to working 12 hour shifts 7 days out of a week(used to work at a foundry job in my former city)
Is willing to RELOCATE ANYWHERE I am desired and needed. Hard Workers do NOT come a dime a dozen. MOST will quit after a month(because they do not know the TRUE VALUE OF HARD WORK) give a hand and allow a REAL hard worker to get through the door and SHOW & PROVE the work ethic.all you as a recruiter have to do is TAKE A CHANCE bc SINCERITY cannot be FELT through a computer screen.
please contact 706-662-8907

August 13 2015 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daniel Frost

Hello sir, my name is Daniel Frost I have five years in the oil field. I started out making floors, assisted driller with all drilling operations; spare time scrubbed and cleaned to assure the work environment was risk free. After two years of working as a floor hand , advanced to derricks and assisted driller with all drilling operations. Maintained pit variables, maintained and secured pumps when needed. This website says this company is desperate and so am I . Please Sir , I am the guy you need on your rig. My contact number is 318-228-9414 or 405-985-0785.

July 13 2015 at 5:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Long

Hello, my name is David Long. I really don't have any experience in the oil fields. Im currently about to retire from the Army. I am a military truck driver, and used to be a mechanic. I am willing to do anything and I'm a quick learner. I was currently looking for a job in Midland that my buddy hooked me up as a MWD, but they are not hiring for a while. If you need more information from me, or are interested in talking to me, please give me a call at 360-628-3140. If you would like a resume, please contact me and I'll send one out. Looking to start ASAP. Thanks for your time.

June 19 2015 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good evening sir, my name is Tom Harper. I'm in the Carpenters union and its not enough to support my family. I do not have any experience in the oil industry, but I'm very interested in the Roustabout position. I can lift 150 lbs with another person, have a high school diploma, and can work 12 hours wearing steel toe boots. Please contact me at 512-239-8759 or e-mail me at tomahawk88.harper @aol.com. thanks

June 04 2015 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Am an industrial physics graduate,with over 3yrs working experience (combined in various jobs including pipeline construction,civil engineering jobs, environmental jobs,etc) .am looking for a new and demanding challenge that will enable me further my career, while contributing to the growth and development of the company that employs me.am ready to relocate,travel and give my all to the job.
for more details,contact me on. +2348091990700 or ikhenamaxwell@gmail.com.
thank you.

April 22 2015 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ahuura Jomet Jervis

am fit for a truck driver because am a car mechanic,do electrical parts in wiring.;have got 2 years of experience.
i was working with kinyara sugar company of uganda.
for more details contact; +256778106488 or +256782691199.

April 02 2015 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Godwin Ochuko

Hello sir,

Am Godwin Ochuko by name from nigeria sir

A pipeline welder, from a training school sir

I have one year working experience in the oil sector..

Distance is not a problem sir. I can relocate to any part of the world..

Pls sir I really need this job am a welder

Hope to hear from u soon


March 28 2015 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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