Oil and gas workers essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $37,640
- 2012, number of jobs: 134,800
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 8 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Less than high school
Oil and gas workers; what they do:
If an occupation that includes excellent hand-eye coordination, an abundance of physical strength, working outdoors (and sometimes in very harsh climates) and great attention to detail sounds interesting, then an oil and gas careers may be in the future. Oil and gas workers carry out the drilling plans created by petroleum engineers.
Drilling workers and service workers carry out two main jobs within this field. A drilling worker career includes operating equipment used to drill the well through soil and rock formation as well as preparing the well for use. A service worker career includes prepping the well and assembling the equipment that removes the oil or gas from the well.
Oil and gas workers are comprised of different operators including derricks, roustabouts, service unit operators and rotary drill operators. A typical day for a derrick operator includes inspecting derricks before they are moved up or down, ensuring drilling fluid flows correctly, fixing any drilling fluid system pumps and problems, training and supervising crew staff and guiding pipe in and out of elevators.
Roustabouts have demanding responsibilities such as keeping the work area and equipment clean, safe and free of debris, locating leaks with special electronic detectors, moving pipes to and from trucks either by hand or with motorized lifts and taking apart and repairing oil field parts and machinery.
Service unit operator careers include maintaining wells, observing gauges and pressure indicators for variations, checking equipment for issues such as faulty operations, guiding cables through derrick pulleys, using pumps to circulate fluids through wells to get rid of any objects obstructing the oil flow and manipulating controls that lift derricks.
A rotary drill operator career includes managing the maintenance of the drill rig and carrying out the well plan, training crewmembers on safety procedures and checking pressure gauges and operating levers. A rotary drill operator career also includes keeping records of operations performed, equipment used and footage drilled and managing pump operations to ensure proper circulation of drilling fluids.
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Oil and gas worker job titles:
- Rig Hand
- Derrick Operators
- Derrick Hand
- Rotary Drill Operators
- Service Unit Operators
- Service Rig Operator
Oil and Gas Workers Education, Certification and License Requirements
Typically, oil and gas workers only need to be in good physical shape and can have less than a high school diploma to enter the field. However, some employers may prefer for some workers to have vocational training in areas such as welding and basic mechanics. Workers operating most oil and gas machines need a tremendous amount of job training. Formal training is increasingly important as equipment and methods continually advance in complexity and technology.
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Career Advancement Opportunities
All operators in the oil and gas industry have opportunities for career advancement. As each worker gains more training, skills and actual work experience, they have the chance of moving to higher paying positions.
Oil and Gas Workers Job Outlook
Forecast: 8 percent employment growth for oil and gas workers from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment of oil and gas workers greatly depends on the need for the products and services of two industries: oil and gas extraction and mining.
Higher prices for resources power the need for oil and gas workers and their knowledge of complex drilling operations and extraction procedures. In addition, policy changes expanding the drilling for oil and natural gas in currently protected areas, increases the need for more oil and gas workers.
Oil and Gas Workers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $37,640
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $57,810
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $27,290
Oil and Gas Workers Major Employers
- Support activities for mining
- Heavy and civil engineering construction
- Oil and gas extraction