How To Become A Roustabout

They spend weeks away from home, work on oil rigs or oilfields, and do some pretty rough manual labor. In return they get good wages, opportunities to work around the world, and have some great growth opportunities.

Sound interesting? Then read on and learn how to become a roustabout!

roustabouts at work

What Does A Roustabout Do?

Roustabouts are workers who do their jobs on off-shore rigs or in oil fields. They are responsible for a variety of tasks that help keep the work location safe and the oil flowing properly. Roustabouts are also sometimes called floor hands since they spend so much time assisting others on the deck floor.

They may do any number of tasks including:

  • Keep decks areas clean
  • Work on flow lines to check for leaks and make repairs as needed
  • Assist crane operators to help move loads around the decks
  • Uses tools to do repairs or assembly of oilfield or gas equipment
  • Offload piping or other deliveries from trucks
  • Assist roughnecks as needed
  • Dismantle machinery in the oilfield

Because it is an entry-level job without a lot of experience needed, you may find yourself being asked to do a lot of “extras”. It is a great entry into the oil and gas production industry which is a good career path with a variety of exceptional opportunities for well-paying jobs.

Roustabouts can work in a few different industries including:

  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Pipeline transportation of crude oil
  • Mining support
  • Utility system construction

How To Become A Roustabout

Before you learn how to become a roustabout it is important to understand that this is a job that requires hard work and one where you will do what is called “grunt work”. You will be assisting a lot of other oil workers with their needs and will be in demand for things like cleaning and moving equipment.

It is the first step in a ladder of opportunity. So, if that does not scare you and you are ready for the challenge, then read on.

STEP 1: Minimum Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • High school diploma or GED are typically required
  • Ability to pass drug tests

STEP 2: Education/Training Needed

Roustabouts typically have a high school diploma or equivalent and need to be 18 years of age or older. However, many companies prefer applicants who have taken courses in welding, plumbing, or other trades, but it is not required.

Some roustabouts may also get on-the-job training which might last a couple of months.

There are also online learning resources as well! LearnToDrill has a roustabout training course that includes an Intro to Drilling, IADC Awareness, and IADC Rig Pass.

STEP 3: Licenses and Certifications

Most roustabouts do not need any licenses or certifications. However, some states require roustabouts to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) if they will be working as a heavy equipment operator onsite.

Additionally, many employers prefer roustabouts who have certification in CPR and first aid.

STEP 4: Growth

Hard work pays in this job! If you work hard, learn as much as you can, and show that you bring value to the team, opportunity for promotion can happen pretty quickly.

After a few months many roustabouts are promoted to roughnecks which can then lead to a job as a driller. Both bring more responsibility, and more pay.

Pros & Cons Of Working As A Roustabout

We dug deep to try and find some of the biggest complaints – and good things about working as a roustabout so you can get a feel for what to expect!


  • Opportunity for growth
  • Ability to find work in other states and countries if you like to move around
  • Good earning potential


  • Days can be very long
  • On many job locations you may work 2 or 3 weeks on and a week or 2 off
  • Work is done in all weather

How Much Do Roustabouts Make?

The median annual pay for roundabouts in 2021 was $38,920 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The highest earning roustabouts can earn roughly $60,830 annually ( hourly) while the lowest earners receive approximately $29,460 annually ( hourly),

Below is a table of the median pay for roundabouts around the United States. As you can see roundabouts do not work in every state, these are the most common states where jobs are available.

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Roustabout Job Outlook

The job outlook for roustabouts is very strong! 23% growth through 2031 is expected.

As you can see, becoming a roustabout is a great way to see the country and work on some amazing projects. With relatively few education and experience requirements, almost anyone can become a roustabout!

Plus, roustabouts can expect to earn a decent salary. If you’re looking for an exciting and rewarding career, look no further than becoming a roustabout!

Getting A Job As A Roustabout

Getting a job as a roustabout is not exactly easy, but these steps can help you land a gig.


Roustabout jobs are not available in every state, so you should be aware of where the best opportunities are first to see if there is a location you would want to move to.

The top states that hire roustabouts are:

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Louisiana

Drug Free

Yes, you will undergo a drug test. Most oilfield workers are tested with a urine and hair test so they can find if you have been clean for a period of time. So, if you are seriously considering a job as a roustabout – get clean first. Also, understand this job is dangerous and using drugs while working in any oilfield job is not a good idea.


This is the way many land jobs in any career these days. The saying “it is all in who you know” really rings true in the modern-day job hunt. Talk to friends, neighbors, and relatives, and let them know of your interest in working in the oil industry and that you would love the chance to be a roundabout. You just never know who they know that might be able to help you.

Update your LinkedIn profile and any other social media accounts as well. LinkedIn specifically allows you to let people know you are “open for work”, using that feature and adding a note about your interest as a roundabout might get the attention of recruiters in the industry.

Job Searches

Google is your friend. Look at job boards like Indeed or Monster and see what is available. Check out different organizations like the Independent Petroleum Association of America or the International Association of Gas and Oil Producers to see if they have job boards.

Even Reddit or going right to the companies directly that hire roustabouts are good ways to land that first job. One final thing you can do is find recruiters that work in the oil industry and reach out to them directly.


Be sure you update your resume with your most updated information. Add recent jobs, education, and any experience you have that might be relevant to a job as a roustabout. Be sure to ask prior employers if you can use them as references too so you are ready when the call for interviews starts rolling in!

So, now you have all the information you need to decide whether becoming a roustabout is the right job for you!

Bureau of Labor Statistics