Breaking into Oil Field Work
As you may know, the Oil and Gas Industry in Colorado is exploding, especially out east. The possibility of getting into a job in the oil patch is extremely good right now if you are willing to put in some work. As one of the most trusted safety shoe stores serving Denver, Golden and Colorado Springs, we have sold a substantial amount of boots to oilfield workers throughout the years. We have found that superior service combined with stocking the finest brands in the industry, has resulted in Intermountain Safety Shoe being popular with the roughnecks. If you need a new pair of steel toes or work boots, we are your local safety shoe supplier, and the first stop you want to make if headed to the oil patch. Working in the oil field is much like any industrial job, long hours, physically demanding work and inclement weather. Of course you have never lived until you have spent a sub-zero night on a rig in North Dakota but perversely, that is part of the appeal. Regardless of whether you are male or female, there is a great job waiting for you out in the patch, if you think you have what it takes, keep reading.
The energy industry, oil and gas in particular, is a virtual hive of good paying jobs. There are literally hundreds of positions available for those willing to put in the work. A few of them benefit from training or technical school, while others require a college education. Basically, no matter what your education level, there is work for you in the oil and gas industry. Just remember, none of it is easy, so if you are looking to find a cushy job that pays really well, this is not for you. But if you are looking for a lucrative profession that you can take an enormous amount of pride in, go for it.
Welders are everywhere in the oil patch and they are needed in just about every aspect of the operation. Welders make an incredible amount of money and are in high demand. Becoming a welder is also not a huge time commitment and generally, completing a two year degree from a technical school or community college will get you hired right out of school. Many times, welders will need to have all of their own equipment. This includes a variety of welders, torches, grinders, and stands; most of which are mounted to the back of a vehicle. A good setup can cost a lot up front but the more complete your rig, the better your chances of landing a great job. Welders also tend to travel a bit more than other oilfield workers. In fact, if a welder is hired on with a company, it is not unusual for them to be sent to different countries in order to work on equipment there.
If you want to find the oil patch, all you have to do is follow the trucks. Semi-Trucks are as plentiful as drilling rigs in the oil patch. As most drilling locations are in remote areas, everything must be delivered by truck. The fluid and sand that is used in fracking, the fuel required to run a rig and even trash and waste materials are all transported by truck. An entire drilling rig can be mounted on the back of several trucks and transported to different locations. Becoming an oilfield truck driver is incredibly easy as many companies are in dire need of drivers. There are programs within the industry in which companies offer on-the-job training. The candidate is trained to drive the equipment, while working and ultimately receiving a Commercial Drivers Licence (CDL). There are many private truck driving schools that offer the opportunity of obtain a CDL within a few months as well. Truck drivers are not exposed to the elements like other workers but the pay can be very good. Driving in the oilfield can be exciting and rewarding, but like the rest of the jobs, it requires hard work.
One of the most important jobs in the oil patch is the roustabout. If you are looking to get into the oil and gas industry, the ideal place to start is a roustabout. Basically, a roustabout performs all of the support functions for the oilfield. From setting up well heads, building infrastructure and moving rigs, the roustabout does it all. A roustabout can be considered an apprentice who will eventually become a roughneck. Roustabout work is grueling but can be a point of pride, especially when the worker is moved up for exhibiting good performance.
Becoming a mechanic in the oil patch can be a long process, unless you have experience. Generally, a mechanic can work their way up after attending a technical training program or an apprenticeship program. In the oilfield the mechanics can be attached to a specific company or a mobile repair truck for a rental yard or heavy equipment dealer. Mechanics are paid really well as they are many times required to be on call at extended intervals. When a mechanic is on call, they are expected to respond to the rig and repair whatever is broken. A mechanic can also have a high startup cost, as the tools required are extensive and can cost thousands of dollars.
Contrary to popular belief, the oilfield is about much more than simply drilling for oil and gas, there are large portions of infrastructure that need to be constructed. The oilfield is set up like this: the drilling rigs drill the wells, the pump stations transfer the gas/oil along the pipeline and central distribution centers store and distribute the material. Of course it is much more complex than that but the point is, each of these locations must have its own buildings constructed. Generally, oilfield construction crews spend a large amount of time at one specific site and will stay until the job is complete. This is a good opportunity for those who want to travel and see different environments, construction workers can also make great money in the oil field.
More to Come
Thank you for checking out part one of the Intermountain Safety Shoe series about getting into the oil and gas industry. We are proud to serve the men and women who pull on their boots every morning to work in the oil patch. Next time you are in need of a new pair of work boots, steel toes or casual safety shoes look no further than Intermountain Safety Shoe.