top of page

Being a Roustabout : The Ultimate Guide


Roustabouts are the backbone of the oil and gas industry, working tirelessly to ensure smooth operations on drilling rigs. If you are considering a career as a roustabout, you are entering a challenging yet rewarding field. In this blog, we will explore on who is a roustabout, the role and responsibilities, required skills, work environment, career progression, and tips for success in this dynamic profession.

1) What is the role of a Roustabout? Roustabouts are essential members of drilling rig crews, responsible for a variety of tasks that contribute to the overall efficiency and safety of operations. Their duties typically include:

a. Assisting in the assembly, disassembly, and maintenance of drilling equipment.

b. Loading and unloading supplies and equipment from supply boats or trucks.

c. Cleaning and painting equipment, structures, and work areas.

d. Handling and moving heavy machinery and materials.

e. Performing general maintenance and repairs on equipment. They usually work for two weeks at a time, with the same amount of time off. They usually work a 12-hour shift each day called a tour (pronounced “tower”) for the 14 straight days that they are on the job, and they will work in all weather as long as it is safe.

2) How is the work environment like?

Roustabouts work in both onshore and offshore environments, often on drilling rigs located in remote areas or offshore platforms. Their work can be physically demanding, requiring long hours and exposure to challenging weather conditions. And because of this, they must adhere to strict safety protocols and wear personal protective equipment. 3) Why do most people start as a Roustabout? Although being a roustabout is very physically demanding unlike a typical desk job, a lot of the young folks prefer it! Here are some of the reasons: a) Entry into the world of Oil and Gas b) Good compensation c) Career progression d) Travel and adventure e) Skills taught 4) What is the pay like? On average, entry-level roustabouts can expect to earn a yearly salary ranging from $35,000 to $45,000. This translates to an hourly wage of approximately $15 to $20. Keep in mind that these figures can vary significantly depending on the region and the specific company. Experienced roustabouts or those who have specialized skills may earn annual salaries ranging from $45,000 to $60,000 or more. Working offshore can often come with additional benefits, such as shift differentials, bonuses, and allowances for room and board. These factors can further contribute to a roustabout's overall compensation package. 5) Career Progression and Advancement: Starting as a roustabout offers an excellent opportunity for career progression within the oil and gas industry. With experience and additional training, roustabouts can advance to positions such as crane operator, driller, or rig manager. Career advancement brings increased responsibilities, leadership roles, and higher earning potential. Continuous learning and acquiring specialized skills through industry certifications are crucial for career growth. 6) Why Certifications are crucial to stand out from the rest? Roustabout is a competitive job in most countries. Hence the best way to find success in this field is by getting the necessary qualifications, and certification. This is smart work.

Here are some of the most important certifications you will need as a Roustabout a) IADC WellSharp:

This certification ensures that roustabouts possess the necessary knowledge and skills to maintain well control and prevent blowouts.

This is a certification program that provides basic awareness training for individuals working in the oil and gas industry. Most offshore companies mandate this certificate

Having a basic level of well control knowledge through the IWCF course can be beneficial for roustabouts. It covers well control principles, equipment, and response procedures to control well kicks and prevent blowouts.

This certification ensures that roustabouts are prepared to work safely in offshore environments.

This certification covers drilling equipment, wellbore operations, and safety practices specific to drilling and workover operations.

7) Why now is the time to start your journey as a roustabout?

With every day that passes, global energy demand is increasing. Developing nations like India and China are fueling this increase in international energy demand and are only expected to continue to grow, which means great job security in the oil industry and a great Roustabout salary.

Meanwhile, in America, the Baby Boomers make up a huge number of oilfield personnel and are beginning to retire. Beyond all this, the drilling industry is booming due to new innovations in hydraulic fracking and shale gas. So, with demand rising, drilling booming, and many workers retiring, it’s one of the best times that there have ever been to go into drilling and this is why Roustabout salaries and Roughneck salaries are so high.

8) What is the future for a Roustabout?

A successful Roustabout can be promoted as a Roughneck with experience and qualifications. After establishing yourself as a successful Roughneck in a few years, you can expect to be promoted to Derrick Hand. This position is just below the Driller.

The Driller is in charge of a crew of Roughnecks. He or she is responsible for the rig’s machinery during drilling and making sure that the rig operations run smoothly while drilling.

If you play your cards right, you could even eventually work your way up to become a Tool-pusher. The Tool-pusher supervises multiple crews and is responsible for overseeing the activities of the entire rig itself.

9) How do I land a job?

a) Get Clean

Most oilfield drug tests are hair and urine drug tests. Only about 1 in 4 applicants pass the drug test. So make sure you’re clean before applying.

b) Make a solid resume We suggest using AI tools to help create a good resume. However ideally, understand your strengths and make sure to create a good resume! Emphasize all relevant experience you have and your licenses and certifications will also speak for you

c) Use Network

Talk to anyone you know who works in the industry. Best place to find professionalls in LinkedIn. Find groups for Roustabout and join in.

Reach out to hiring managers or even to Drillers.

10) Lastly, How do I thrive in the job as a Roustabout?

a) Take safety seriously.

While working roustabout jobs is significantly safer now than it has been in the past, there are still some big risks and you must be cautious and aware. By taking it seriously and not being a liability to your crew, you won’t draw unwanted attention from supervisors.

b) Be on time, work hard

A roustabout job is a space for hard workers. Try your best to work as quickly as you can without sacrificing the quality of work or safety. Volunteer to help wherever you can and don’t complain.

If you do all this, you will gain respect and be better liked.

c) Learn wherever needed

Nobody is perfect. But wherever you think you are lacking the skill/knowledge you need to take the help of your supervisors, or peers.

Consider taking up online and offline courses such as us here at LearnToDrill. We offer dynamic and interactive courses that are all about helping you become an expert.

d) Keep yourself cheerful.

It is not always roses and peaches. However, maintaining a happy environment is necessary for your mental health and your peers. Speak to your mentors whenever needed. Do your best to fit in within your rig crew while also gaining the respect of the supervisors.

Need more help? Discounts to help you get started? We are all ears! Reach out at All the best!


Unais Nifa
Unais Nifa
Jul 27, 2023

Wow 😲 wonderful.. i have BOSIET, H2S AND HUET CERTIFICATES,but, don't have job please anyone let me know if you have roustabout job


May 22, 2023

I am agreed

I need a job roustabout

May 22, 2023
Replying to

I am agreed


Nov 24, 2021

Trust me, this article is one of the most informative and most beautiful articles I have have to read about ROUSTABOUT, and it's wonderful.

I have a degree in CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, and basic offshore trainings, but no experience yet...I look forward to becoming a ROUSTABOUT in earnest as I have a dire desire for offshore

bottom of page