How To Get a Job in the Oil Industry With No Experience

Updated March 10, 2023

Some jobs in the oil industry can be great opportunities for candidates with little experience in the workplace, such as military veterans. While they typically have long work hours and work in remote locations, professionals in the oil field can build valuable skills, make lasting friendships and travel to interesting places. If you're skilled in hard labor and working with heavy equipment, consider applying for a job in the oil field. In this article, we discuss what kind of jobs you can get in the oil industry with no experience and how to get one of them.

What types of jobs can you get in the oil industry with no experience?

While some jobs in the oil industry require previous work experience, such as managers or engineers, there are many entry-level jobs for candidates with no prior experience. These can involve the delivery of materials, machinery repair or cleaning. Here are some examples of jobs in the oil industry, with their salaries and duties:

1. Propane transport driver

National average salary: $31,045 per year

Primary duties: Propane transport drivers inspect, load, repair and operate a truck with a tank of propane gas attached to it. They're responsible for safely delivering propane to and from distribution facilities, oil rigs and other locations.

Related: Your Guide To Getting an Oil Field Job

2. Pressure washer

National average salary: $36,752 per year

Primary duties: A pressure washer on an oil rig is in charge of using a pressure washer tool filled with water and detergent to wash oil rigs and other equipment, keeping them clean and safe to use. Those in this role must ensure their cleaning chemicals are safe for the environment and people.

3. Dockworker

National average salary: $37,462 per year

Primary duties: A dockworker in the oil industry is responsible for loading and unloading oil tanks on ships at ports. They may move stocks, freight or other materials, and they must be careful to avoid spilling oil into bodies of water.

4. Welder

National average salary: $38,418 per year

Primary duties: Welders in the oil industry use special tools to fuse metals together and construct equipment. This can be oil rigs, pipelines, drills and other vessels.

Read more: How To Become an Underwater Welder

5. Environmental technician

National average salary: $40,024 per year

Primary duties: Environmental technicians perform laboratory and field experiments to make sure oil field activities are safe for the environment. They keep up with national, state and local environmental authorities' regulations to ensure oil companies are adhering to the law.

6. Oil field mechanic

National average salary: $44,819 per year

Primary duties: Oil field mechanics monitor, maintain and repair oil field equipment, such as pumps, transmissions, valves, hoses and diesel engines. They may also attach equipment safely to trucks for transfer to repair yards.

Related: Facts About Mechanics and 9 Mechanic Specialties

7. Driller

National average salary: $49,559 per year

Primary duties: A driller leads a team of oil field professionals in drilling oil from a well or rig. They monitor and supervise the rig's activities to make sure that everyone is safe because they're working with natural gas, fluids and high pressure.

8. Roughneck

National average salary: $61,654 per year

Primary duties: Also called a rig hand, a roughneck is a member of the drilling crew who extracts oil from wells through drill pipes. They're also responsible for maintaining and repairing oil drilling equipment and performing routine duties such as cleaning and painting.

9. Oil field roustabout

National average salary: $63,366 per year

Primary duties: Also called a lease hand, an oil field roustabout does tasks to keep an oil drilling area clean, safe and functional. They may unload supplies, use lifting gear to stack equipment or repair tools.

Related: A Guide To Working as Floor Hand: Definition, Skills and Job Outlook

10. Oil field maintenance worker

National average salary: $66,437 per year

Primary duties: An oil field maintenance worker installs and repairs equipment and does other construction on oil drilling sites. They perform inspections before and after oil drilling jobs to ensure the functioning of equipment and the safety of work areas.

How to get a job in the oil industry with no experience

While you may not have direct experience in the oil industry, there may be other skills you have that can help you succeed in this field. There are also steps you can take to gain more experience, like applying for entry-level work. Follow these steps to apply for a job in the oil industry with no experience:

1. Fulfill the minimum requirements

While requirements for a job in the oil industry can vary by state, they typically include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • Have a valid driver's license or work visa

  • Pass a drug test

  • Be able to lift 50 pounds multiple times throughout the day

  • Be willing to work 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week

  • Be medically fit to operate heavy machinery

  • Be prepared for unstable employment, as the oil industry can fluctuate

2. Choose a suitable location

Depending on where you live, there may not be oil fields near you. This means you might need to move to another location if you want to get a job in the oil industry. It may be a location far away from your home, offshore or overseas. Here are some examples of places with oil fields you may find a job in:

  • Alaska, U.S.

  • North Dakota, U.S.

  • Texas, U.S.

  • Montana, U.S.

  • Alberta, Canada

  • The Gulf of Mexico

  • West Africa

  • Brazil

  • North Sea, U.K.

  • Asia

  • Russia

3. Build your resume

When applying for jobs, you typically need to submit your resume. If you have little work experience, there are other things you can put on your resume to impress potential employers like skills, interests and any extracurricular activities you have completed. Mention if you have gained skills in any previous experiences like problem-solving, analysis, self-motivation, adaptability or physical strength. You can customize your resume to different oil companies to express your interest in that particular company.

Read more: Writing a Resume With No Experience

4. Search online

You can search for jobs in the oil industry online and filter your search by location, experience level, salary and other factors. From there, you can also check out the information on various companies. It may be better to apply for a job through smaller contractors or companies since you could have a better chance of getting the job. You can also try to call or email directly with the company to express your interest in the job opening.

5. Earn certifications

Earning certifications in the oil field can make you more competitive for jobs by building your skills and impressing potential employers. Consider joining an oil rig training program online, where you can pursue certification from anywhere. Certifications may involve STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), physics and geology. One example is the International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas Operational Safety, which shows an employee's knowledge of best safety practices in oil and gas work areas.

6. Complete training

Completing training can help increase your experience level and make it easier to get a job in the oil industry. You may also be able to go to school online while you're working in an entry-level job. You can usually attend training programs at trade or vocational schools or gain experience through an internship or apprenticeship. These programs may allow you to meet people in the industry and build your contacts. Many oil field professionals get jobs by being recommended by someone they know.


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