To be successful in seeking offshore jobs, you must be willing to do what average and ordinary people are not willing to do. First of all, there’s likely to be travel involved with your job. Do not be misled by any rumors you might hear about the kind of people who work offshore.
The oil field is composed of people like yourself, people who are looking for the same things in life you are: job security, an interesting career, an opportunity to better themselves. If you are a civil engineer, of course you will find one of every kind in the oil field.
Also, do not be discouraged by any stories you might have heard about how hard working offshore is, or that they will work you to death. To be sure, the work is hard, but if you are in good physical shape and are willing to work, you shouldn’t have any trouble adjusting to the increased work load.
Finally, remember offshore work is not for everyone. It requires that you be away from home, sometimes for weeks at a time. More often than not, the drilling vessel you are on will not even be in sight of land. It involves long and hard hours, working in all kinds of weather and conditions as well as in some dangerous situations. Being 100 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of a hurricane is a frightening experience for sure!
On the plus side it is very rewarding and exciting. The food is good, the quarters are clean and well kept, and the benefits and opportunities for advancement are excellent. It is not uncommon for a person starting at the bottom with no previous oil field experience to be making $40,000 to $60,000 a year, and that is for working only six months out of the year!
Entry-level positions start at $700 to $1,000 per week. Dishwashers and BR hands (who wash dishes, sweep and mop floors, put up inventory and do general house-cleaning in the living quarters) earn $700 per week.
Roustabouts (general laborers) earn $900 to $1100 per week. Other entry level positions are deckhands, oilers, welder helpers, cleaner painters and so on; and there are currently plenty of openings.
Here’s some helpful information you might like to know to help you decide if offshore jobs is for you.
The first and foremost requirement for working offshore is that you be in sound physical condition. You will be required to pass a thorough physical examination, including a spinal X- ray, before you can be employed. Answer all questions truthfully. You will also be given a drug screening.
In most cases, you must be at least 18 to work offshore for a drilling contractor. You need only be 16 to sit for Coast Guard endorsements. The average age for offshore workers is 27.
The better your experience in your particular field or profession, the closer prospective employers will look you at. If you do not currently have any skill or experience that relates to the offshore industry, it does not mean you will not be hired.
There are many entry level positions available which require no previous offshore experience, these can be quickly learned. The most important thing is honesty. Do not misrepresent yourself, your experience, or your skills. For example, do not claim to be a pipe welder if you’ve only had experience on plate. Or, do not claim to be a diesel mechanic if the only experience you have is doing minor tune-ups in a garage.
The majority of entry level rig jobs do not require a formal education as the employer is more interested in your ability to do your job well and learn quickly than in how many years you went to school. Some jobs, such as a ballast controlman, mud engineer, etc., require at least a high school education. Other positions, as they get more complex, will naturally require higher levels of education.
One of the foremost concerns of offshore employers is dependability. Regardless of how good a hand is, he isn’t much good if he isn’t there! One of the quickest ways to lose your job is not to show up for crew change. When you hire on with a company, you become part of a team, and it is difficult to operate when any member of the team is not present.
Your interest and ambition will play a very important part in your getting and keeping a job, whether it be offshore or anywhere else.
Offshore work is an immensely interesting field, and interest in learning your job and others, as well, sparks ambition. Once you get in and get some basic experience you can move into many different areas involved in all phases of the industry.
Benefits of companies involved in the oil and gas industry range from virtually nonexistent to excellent. The better companies will provide major medical insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, 401 K, programs, and profit sharing.
Advancement and Training
Advancement offshore will depend primarily on the company you work for and your particular abilities. All companies want you to advance. They want you to become better trained so you can take a more responsible position. Some companies have excellent training programs to help you move up the ladder with trainee slots for most positions. Other companies have only marginally efficient training programs, or none whatsoever.
More and more offshore positions now require certification by a Coast Guard approved certification agency. In order to get these certifications, you will have to go to a specialty school.
The length of time it takes to complete one of these schools ranges anywhere from a few days to several weeks. If you attend any of these schools in your off-time, you will usually be paid your normal wages (eight hours a day if you are an hourly employee). Salaried people normally don’t receive compensation for special schools as their attendance is part of their job requirement. Room and board are provided for both salaried and hourly workers, and compensation is often given for mileage traveled.
Outside schools include Able Seaman, Life Boatman, Master, Offshore Drilling Units, Marine Firefighting, EMD Maintenance and Operation (representing the Electric Motor Division of General Motors), BOP schools, and the list goes on and on. The more schools you complete, the more credentials you have when you shop for another job. What this means is the company you’re working for is financing your future. Thank them!
There are many good positions available in offshore drilling. The list very long, and many positions are available at entry level as well as for professionals seeking a new career orientation. Because the list is long, we suggest you go directly to Ron Edwards’ book located at his website and check out each position personally.