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Roustabout Job Description And Salary

...Tomiwa Oladipo Published November 2022

Are you interested in becoming an oilfield roustabout? Understanding the duties, demands, and how to pursue this career is essential. In this article, find out all you need to know about a roustabout: their responsibilities, salary, how to become one, what it takes to succeed as a roustabout, and much more.


What Do Roustabouts Do?

A roustabout is an entry-level manual laborer in the oilfield and performs a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Loading and unloading various items
  • Inspecting and maintaining equipment
  • Operating heavy equipment such as forklifts or load-lifter
  • Performing repairs
  • Assembling pipes
  • Follows safety guidelines and regulations
  • Assists crane operators with load transport.
  • Assists roughnecks and other oil rig workers to ensure they have the necessary materials and equipment.
  • Setting up and maintaining oil rigs
  • Dismantling and assembling oilfield machinery.
  • Cleaning the worksite when drilling operations are complete.
  • Performs other assigned duties


Other Roustabout Skills and Job Requirements

Roustabouts need the following skills to excel in their careers:

  • Physical strength
  • Good practical skills
  • Dexterity
  • Teamwork
  • Attention to detail and safety
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Mechanical aptitude (ability to read & interpret blueprints, build and repair equipment)
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to use hand tools and power tools.


Physical Requirements:

  • Prolonged periods of standing, kneeling, or bending
  • Physically able to perform strenuous manual labor.
  • Able to lift at least 50 pounds at a time.


What Skills and Education Do You Need?

A roustabout needs to have the following qualifications:

1. Education

Usually, you don’t need a formal education to work as a roustabout. But some employers may require a high school diploma or an equivalent (GED) with a minimum grade point average.

But if you want to advance your career, earning an associate degree in petroleum technology or other related fields is a plus.


2. Training and Experience

Roustabouts receive most of their training on the job. They learn the safety procedure and specific techniques for their role while working with experienced roustabouts. They also receive on-the-job instructions on how to operate specific equipment.


3. Certifications and Licenses

A roustabout is a manual laborer in the oilfield and doesn't require special certifications but earning the following credentials will make you outstanding among other job seekers:

  • Commercial Driver's License (CDL)
  • OSHA Safety Certificate
  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
  • Necessary Medical certificates
  • Minimum Industry Safety Training (MIST) certificates


A forklift license is also a plus.

To work offshore, you need the following credentials:

  • Offshore survival course certification, such as the Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training Certificate (BOSIET)


How to Become a Roustabout

Here’s what to do:

1. Complete a high school diploma or equivalent (GED)

Most employers prefer roustabouts with a high school diploma or equivalent. Some schools also offer vocational programs that equip students with the necessary skills to work as roustabouts, such as rigging and welding.

You can still become a roustabout without a high school diploma if you’re up to 18 years old.


2. Complete an apprenticeship program

Aspirants without a high school diploma or equivalent can still become roustabouts once they complete an apprenticeship program. Usually, these programs are offered through local communities and colleges and last between one and three years.

Students that enroll in these programs will learn the basics of oilfield work, including site layout, safety procedures, and equipment use. The programs also offer aspirants experience in the field, giving them an advantage over those that don't.

Most employers prefer candidates with prior experience over those without it.


3. Obtain a valid driver’s license

Working as a roustabout requires operating equipment and driving large vehicles on the worksite. And as such, most employers require a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) from roustabouts.

Also, it’s essential to obtain hazardous materials permit for your CDL to work with chemicals and other dangerous substances.


4. Meet the physical requirements of the job

Roustabouts are manual laborers on the drilling site and may need to move up to 100 pounds or more sized pieces of equipment or materials around the drilling site. So, you have to be physically fit to handle the job demands.


5. Pass a drug test

The O&G industry has zero tolerance for using hard drugs and alcohol, as these substances can negatively affect a worker's safety and performance.


6. Keep a clean criminal record

Some employers conduct background tests on job applicants. Having a criminal record might disqualify you from becoming a roustabout.


7. Be comfortable working for long hours under challenging conditions

Some job sites are located in remote areas with harsh, unpredictable situations. Besides, roustabout jobs often require working around the clock and including tasks such as responding to emergencies or repairing equipment.

Once you’re comfortable working under all these conditions, you’re one step closer to becoming a roustabout.



How much do roustabouts make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary range for oil and gas roustabout in the United States is approximately $ 44,730. The salary varies depending on the employer, location, education, job level, experience, and skills.


What skills do I need to be a roustabout?

You don’t need formal qualifications to work as a roustabout. But the following skills could make you stand out among other job applicants:

  • Safety prioritization
  • Attention to detail
  • Collaboration
  • Resilience
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Mechanical aptitude

Prior experience in shipbuilding, engineering, or construction could also be helpful.


What is the difference between roustabout and roughneck?

Roughnecks, like roustabouts, also handle maintenance and repair. The difference is that roughnecks work directly on the drill and drilling platform.

Roughneck is a step higher than a roustabout and therefore considered more skilled. Roughnecks may also be tasked with filling in for other positions.


Who does a roustabout answer to?

The roustabout or floor hand reports directly to the driller. They also assist other crew members in their duties and do other assigned tasks.


Roustabout jobs near me

For more information on becoming a roustabout or finding floor hand jobs, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team. We're happy to chat with you about how our global energy talent marketplace can help connect you with oil and gas companies looking for hire.

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