Oil field jobs form their own niche in the oil and gas industry. For example, their job responsibilities, workload and scope are very different from jobs in an oil trading company. Their closest relative would be offshore oil rig jobs. Nevertheless, a roustabout on an oil field will have different ways to do his job compared to a roustabout on an offshore oil rig. In fact, a roustabout on an Alaskan oil field will also do his job differently from a roustabout on a Saudi Arabian oil field.
That said, the current boom in the oil sector is a great boon to anyone who wants to start in this industry. If you are young, fit and willing to work hard, you should be able to easily find an entry level oil field job. Note that working hard does not mean spending 12 hours every day, 7 days a week sitting on your backside in front the computer in the office. On an oil field, working hard means you engage in a lot of intense physical labor outdoors in all weathers. For example, you may need to stack 100-pound pallets during a storm.
On an oil field, you will do a lot of hard physical work. However, unlike a common construction laborer, you can expect to get the best food and lodgings as part of your salary. In terms of cash, most of you will be getting $50,000 to $80,000 per year. Of course, if you have a relevant technical or professional skill, your salary will very likely top $100,000 per year. All this is just your base salary. Don’t forget overtime. Depending on how your company pays you for overtime, you can expect another 50% to 100% on top of your base salary. A roustabout or roughneck could easily take home as much as a typical mid-level department manager of a multi-national corporation while getting as much as 6 months off every year.
Nowadays, many oil field jobs are offering conditions and perks which were only given to oil rig jobs. Oil companies are not doing this out of generosity. Due to the slump in prices in the 1990s, they laid off too many experienced workers and failed to train new replacements. They are now paying for their lack of foresight and you will be benefiting for the next decade. As most of their experienced workers are in their late 40s and 50s, you can expect very good opportunities for advancement.
However, desperate or not, be warned that oil field jobs do not welcome drug addicts and enforce this by compulsory drug testing both during the hiring process and randomly on the job. Don’t be surprised if you are suddenly called up for a urine test or blood test. If you think this sort of thing violates your civil liberties, you should look for a different job.
Much like jobs on oil rigs, oil field jobs demand a lot of physical hard work. In compensation, you get a very good salary and benefits package for all your sweat and time. If you have the physical strength for it, this is quite a profitable exchange for you.