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Oil and Gas Jobs


Few industries are as controversial as the oil industry is today. Many people in the United States today are calling for a decreased dependency on fossil fuels, especially after the BP oil spill and its aftermath. However, the current state of fuel demand is still primarily for oil and gas, and so these fuels must be produced and demand met somehow.

While one can include retail sales (gas and service stations) in the oil industry, this page focuses on jobs in the production side of the oil industry.

There are many different employment opportunities for people who work in oil production, from the geologists, surveyors, and engineers, to the construction crew building the facilities and pipelines that produce the oil. There are also operators, inspectors, and many other crew members whose jobs are to keep the oil production facility running smoothly and safely. Other workers are employed by ships that transport the oil from production facilities to other destinations. There is a sizeable need for people to fill petroleum engineering jobs available with almost every oil company worldwide.

Here is a list of some of the more prevalent jobs in the oil industry today:

  • First Engineer
  • AB seaman
  • Ballast controlman
  • Barge engineer
  • Chemical crew
  • Chief engineer
  • Chief mechanic
  • Cleanout crew
  • Control room operator
  • Driller
  • Drilling engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Geologist
  • Geophysical engineer
  • Geotechnical engineer
  • Hydraulic crew
  • Junior engineer/lab technician
  • Offshore construction engineer
  • Project engineer

Oil Production Jobs imageThere are many, many additional jobs in this field. As you can see, most of them are related to the production or shipping of oil and some are construction related. Next, we’ll take a look at the job outlook, the salary ranges of the leading positions in the field, and the education and training required to land a job.

Employment Outlook

The number of oil industry jobs fluctuates depending on the price of fuel - but generally demand remains fairly steady. One trend that is easy to spot is that when oil prices are higher, there is a higher demand for employees. Oil companies work to produce as much oil as possible when the prices are higher. For instance, jobs in the Canadian oil sands region become far more plentiful when gas prices skyrocket.

You may also have to relocate if you want to get an oil industry job in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest number of oil industry jobs (when it comes to production) is in the states of Texas and Louisiana, and most of these jobs are located along the coastline.

The number of geoscientist and other scientist jobs associated with the oil industry is expected to increase by 18% by the year 2018, according to the Bureau.

Salary Outlook

Most oil industry employees receive higher than average salaries for the work they perform. This is usually because workers must perform physically demanding labor, and some travel or work away from home for several months of the year. Workers must be somewhat skilled as well. The average salary for these workers is between $50,000 and $80,000, with supervisors and managers earning higher salaries.

Geologists and other scientists and engineers who work for the oil industry can also earn quite high salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these employees earn an average annual salary of approximately $79,000.

Education and Training Requirements

Most laborers in drilling, oil production, and transportation do not have to have an advanced education. Instead, employers look for these employees to have a high school diploma and previous experience in the industry.

Supervisors and managers may be required to have a bachelor’s degree plus experience in the industry, although some supervisors do not have to have a degree. Most companies do provide on-the-job training once the person is hired.

Geologists, scientists, and engineers in the oil industry must have a bachelor’s degree in geology or an appropriate field, at a minimum. Engineers should have an engineering degree. Some high-level researchers in the industry may be required to have a master’s degree in their field.

Despite its controversial nature, the oil industry is still one that interests and attracts many people. Although more effort will take place to find alternative fuels, current and immediate future demand requires the continual production and transportation of oil, resulting in a demand for oil production workers. If you enjoy the challenge of physical labor and do not mind traveling or being away from home for months at a time, the oil industry might be the right career choice for you.

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