Rig Hand Work: Derrickman, Toolpusher & Lease Hand Rig Jobs Back to Articles

If you have the goal to work in the oil and gas industry your first step should be seeking out rig hand work. Breaking into the oil business isn’t always easy and unless you have an engineering degree or master’s degree in environmental science, geology or marine biology your best bet for getting a foot in the door is to start at the bottom and work your way up. Luckily, land based oil rigs are always in need of skilled labor and if you have a background in construction, have a knack for tools and fixing equipment and can endure long hours in less than ideal climate conditions an entry level oil job on an oil rig is a great way to get started in the oil industry. Oil jobs are a lot like construction; you have to go where the work is. In this case hot spots like Texas, Nigeria and Alberta Canada are booming for land based oil rigs and if you are serious about a career in oil then check out the openings in these areas. Most likely your first job on an oil rig will be an entry level position along the lines of a roughneck or roustabout. Oil rigs are known for promoting from within and like their eventual rig managers to have experience with every position on the rig. Roughnecks and lease hands aren’t glamorous positions and involve a lot of oil field driving, equipment hauling, machinery repair and grunt work but the pay is decent and there is plenty of opportunity for overtime. Rig hand work is not for the timid. It often involves long hours in remote locations, difficult weather conditions, strenuous labor and potentially dangerous environments involving heights and high winds. People who start out in entry level positions on a land based oil rig are asked to bear the brunt of the physical labor and are often pulled in many directions that involve driving, hauling, lifting and repair work. Being versatile, dependable and fearless is often what separates a successful rig hand worker from a one and done employee. But oil field work is not without reward and once you have proven yourself as a roughneck or lease hand you can expect promotions and better wages quickly. Once you’ve put in your time in an entry level oil field position the next step up are better paying gigs as a Derrickman, toolpusher, oil rig welder and eventually rig manager. But because of the seriousness and dangers of managing an oil rig companies want to be sure the person they have in charge is familiar with every facet of the operation so look to get started on the low rung of the oil industry ladder so you can begin your climb to the top.
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