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How to get a Job with an Offshore Drilling Company

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Are you interested in working on an offshore oil rig but don’t know where to start? Are you curious how much you can earn working on an offshore oil rig without ANY experience (HINT: It’s a lot).

Find out all the answers and more in my new eBook “How to Get a Job on an Offshore Oil Rig” on sale today for only $6.95.


Order Today! This following article contains just a small sample of what is in my eBook! You can INSTANTLY download a copy of my comprehensive guide to getting a job on an offshore oil rig for only $6.95 available through PayHip.

Entry Level Offshore Drilling Jobs:

Entry level positions on offshore drilling rigs typically start at salaries of $40-50K with full benefits (medical, dental, matched 401k, and training reimbursement) with 6 months of vacation per year. The draw-back, of course, is that you spend half the year away from your family and friends working physically demanding 12 hour days in the hot and humid Gulf of Mexico weather. Most work rotations are either 14 days on, 14 days off… or 21 days on, 21 days off.  My new eBook gives you inside advice and tips on how to get hired with offshore drilling contractors even if you don’t have any experience!   Download my eBook instantly right now for only $6.95!

College degrees or other industrial certifications are typically not required for entry level offshore oil rig positions and most of the larger companies will gladly pay for any training you may need to upgrade your licenses, skills or other qualifications needed to advance your career. The work is not easy, but if you have a good attitude and willingness to learn, your career opportunities in the offshore drilling industry are literally endless.

In the current offshore oil and gas job market it is not uncommon to earn an $80-100K salary after only 5 years experience.  Suprisingly, offshore oil and gas jobs never show up in those silly online articles about “surprising careers that pay over $100,000 per year”.  Oh well, the secret is out now!

Entry level oil rig positions you may consider applying for.

Ordinary Seaman: The ordinary seaman or “seaman” is an entry level position in the “marine department” on offshore drilling rigs and drillships. Like conventional merchant ships, most offshore drilling rigs are still considered “ships” by the United States Coast Guard and as such they are required to have a certain amount of certified and licensed “merchant mariners” on board to maintain all of the life-saving equipment, respond to maritime emergencies and perform the traditional maritime activities such as cleaning and painting. After a certain amount of time, ordinary seaman can upgrade their certificate to an “able bodied seaman” otherwise known as an “AB” where he or she is assigned additional responsibilities (such as supervising the ordinary seamen on deck). After obtaining an “AB” license and holding the AB positions for a few years, ABs can sit for an examination for a merchant marine officer’s license (3rd Mate). Ultimately, the individual can keep upgrading their license to eventually become the vessel’s captain.

Roustabout: Roustabouts are the general laborers on the rig. Their main duties including working with the crane operator to load and unload supplies for the drilling rig from supply boats, general cleaning duties, painting and assisting other departments on the rig as directed. With the right attitude and willingness to learn, roustabouts can quickly advance to higher positions within the drilling department or cross train for a promotion as an entry level electrician or engineer.  Many of them also go on to earn their crane operator’s license and eventually become a deck foreman.

Catering: Most offshore oil companies use independent contract catering companies to fill positions in their catering departments (cooking, housekeeping, laundry services, etc.). While these positions typically pay less and have fewer benefits, if you’re looking for some legitimate experience in the hospitality industry, working on an offshore drilling rig with 150-200 crew members is an excellent place to learn.  Catering jobs are usually much easier to get with a contract company (Art Catering, Delta Catering and Sodexo (formley Univeral Sodexho) and offer good exposure and experience to help you decide if you want to make a career out of working in the offshore oilfield.

Find out the secret to getting these offshore oil rig jobs and what life is really like working on an offshore drilling rig!  Download my eBook instantly right now for only $6.95!


REMEMBER! The article you’re reading contains just a small sample of what is in my eBook! You can INSTANTLY download a copy of my comprehensive eBook on getting a job on an offshore oil rig for only $6.95 available through PayHip.

Transitioning to Offshore Drilling Job from a Different Industry or the Military:

If you’re transitioning to the offshore oil and gas industry from a previous industry (or military service) and you already have some training in one of the many job categories on an offshore drilling rig, your prospects for employment and higher salaries are even better.

Skilled electricians, mechanics, electronics technicians, and licensed merchant mariners (among other professions) are in serious demand and can expect close to six figures salaries their first year. If you already have a college degree (engineering, business, logistics, math, computers, etc.) your prospects for employment are equally high.

Offshore Drilling Job Resources:

By now you’re probably wondering how to go about getting a job in the offshore oil and gas drilling industry. Don’t get frustrated by the fact that most offshore oil and gas companies don’t list openings for entry level positions on their websites. Getting an interview with a drilling contractor is a combination of luck and perseverance.

Here are some resources and tips to help you land a job with an offshore oil company.

Job Boards:

If you’re looking for job openings in the offshore oil and gas industry, the “career center” on Rigzone.com is by far the most comprehensive listing of available oil and gas jobs. Even if the job you’re seeking isn’t listed, you can still submit your application and resume through the job listing since it will most likley go to the same recruiter that hires entry level positions as well.

Register an Account on Linkedin:

Linkedin is a social networking tool like Facebook that is geared towards career professionals (you can read my full Linkedin review). Incidentally, almost every oil and gas recruiter I’ve met over the last few years has an account with Linkedin which is really handy since you can do a “search” for each prospective drilling company that hires US workers (Seadrill, Transocean, Vantage, Atwood, Ensco, Pride, Maersk, etc.). Include the word “recruiter” in your search and Linkedin will more than likely display the name and contact information of that recruiter which you can then get in contact with (you’re best bet is with Linkedin’s own internal email messaging system).  Once you find out who the recruiters are for the companies you’re interested in you can send them your application, resume and coverletter/CV.

Offshore Drilling Company Career Page Links:

Here is a link to each of the major offshore drilling contractor’s career page (job listing page) updated 8/18/2014:

Download my eBook instantly right now for only $6.95 and learn the secrets to getting hired by these companies!


For information about working at Atwood click here.


For offshore drilling job listings with Diamond click here.


To get a job with Ensco click here.


Noble Drilling has since aquired Frontier Drilling.

Hercules Offshore:

To learn about job openings with Hercules Offshore click here.


For available job listings with Maersk Drilling click here.


Noble Drilling job opportunties are listed here.

Ocean Rig:

For offshore oil and gas drilling jobs with Ocean Rig click here.

Pacific Drilling:

For a listing of available offshore jobs with Pacific click here.

Rowan Drilling:

For a listing of available offshore jobs with Rowan click here.


For employment information with Seadrill click here.


To find job openings with Transocean click here.


For more inforamtion on jobs with Vantage Drilling click here.

My new eBook covers everything you need to know about getting hired by offshore drilling contractors like those listed above!  Download my eBook instantly right now for only $6.95!


THANKS for reading my personal finance blog! You can learn more about my site here or you can jump right into the juicy stuff by reading my family's own detailed debt free success story (which has formed the foundation of this site). Please consider signing up for my free email updates!

{ 80 comments… add one }

  • Ben September 28, 2014, 3:19 pm

    Thanks for reading my article on how to get a job with an offshore drilling company! First off, congratulations for graduating from Texas Maritime and obtaining your 3 ae’s license. As far as getting your foot in the door with an offshore drilling company, you need to keep submitting your resumes via the online webpages linked in my article. Another technique is to seek out recruiters from the various companies I mentioned on networking sites such as linkedin, etc. Do keyword searches for “Seadrill recruiter” or “transocean recruiter”, etc. Good luck!

  • ali eydipour October 7, 2014, 9:00 am


  • Alex mathai October 8, 2014, 1:53 am

    my position is Data Entry Operator. I want to join your company .
    I saw your company job that is very attractive your job standard, so please reply me soon iam waiting for your reply.So please give me a chance to work in your company.I will be thank full to you in my life
    Alex Mathai

  • Ben October 13, 2014, 7:49 pm

    I’d like to thank all of you for the positive reviews on my new book!

    For those of you’ve who’ve asked, here’s the table of contents from my new book on how to get a job on an offshore oil rig!

    1. Introduction

    2. Life on an Oil Rig
    2.1. Culture
    2.2. Recreational Activities
    2.3. Sleeping Arrangements
    2.4. Food
    2.5. Communication with Home
    2.6. Medical Care

    3. An Introduction to Drilling Offshore Oil Wells
    3.1. How Oil Companies Decide Where to Drill
    3.2. The Success Rate for Drilling Offshore Oil Wells
    3.3. How Oil Companies get Permission to Drill in a Particular Area
    3.4. The Different Types of Offshore Drilling Rigs
    3.4.1. Jackups
    3.4.2. Semi-Submersibles
    3.4.3. Drillships
    3.5. The First Phase of Well Construction: “Spud-In”
    3.6. Drilling a Hole for the Second String of Casing
    3.7. Cementing the Casing
    3.8. Running and Connecting the Blow-Out Preventer (BOP)
    3.9. Marine Riser and BOPs In-Depth
    3.10. Finishing the well
    3.11. Evaluating the Well
    3.12. Summary of Drilling Offshore Oil Wells

    4. The Different Types of Oil Rig Jobs
    4.1. Catering Department
    4.1.1. Laundry Attendant
    4.1.2. Room Attendant
    4.1.3. Galley Hand
    4.1.4. Prep Cook
    4.1.5. Baker
    4.1.6. Cook
    4.1.7. Campboss/Executive Steward
    4.2. Skilled Trades
    4.2.1. Welder
    4.2.2. Motorman
    4.2.3. Mechanic
    4.2.4. Sr. Mechanic
    4.2.5. Mechanical Supervisor
    4.2.6. Subsea Engineers/Trainees
    4.2.7. Electrician
    4.2.8. Electronic Technician
    4.2.9. Sr. Electrician
    4.2.10. Sr. Electronic Technician
    4.2.11. Electrical Supervisor
    4.3. Merchant Marine/Maritime Jobs
    4.3.1. Ordinary Seaman
    4.3.2. Able-Bodied Seaman (AB)
    4.3.3. Bosun
    4.3.4. DPO Trainee
    4.3.5. Third Mate/DPO
    4.3.6. Second Mate/DPO
    4.3.7. Chief Mate/First Mate
    4.3.8. Captain/OIM
    4.3.9. Wiper
    4.3.10. Motorman/QMED
    4.3.11. 3rd Assistant Engineer
    4.3.12. 2nd Assistant Engineer
    4.3.13. 1st Assistant Engineer
    4.3.14. Chief Engineer/Maintenance Supervisor
    4.4. Deck Department Jobs
    4.4.1. Roustabout
    4.4.2. Assistant Crane Operator
    4.4.3. Crane Operator
    4.4.4. Deck Supervisor
    4.5. Drilling Department Jobs
    4.5.1. Roughneck/Floorhand
    4.5.2. Lead Roughneck
    4.5.3. Assistant Derrickman
    4.5.4. Derrickman
    4.5.5. Assistant Driller
    4.5.6. Driller
    4.5.7. Toolpusher
    4.5.8. Drilling Superintendent/OIM
    4.6. Administrative Jobs
    4.6.1. Safety Officer
    4.6.2. Medic
    4.6.3. Radio Operator/Rig Administrator

    5. How to Find Oil Rig Jobs
    5.1. What You Need to Do
    5.2. Basic Certification Required
    5.2.1. Water Survival/Helicopter HUET Training
    5.2.2. Rig Pass Certification
    5.2.3. TWIC Card
    5.2.4. Merchant Mariner Credential (optional)
    5.3. Preparing Your Resume
    5.4. Preparing Your Cover Letter
    5.5. Where to Find Offshore Job Opportunities
    5.6. Oil Rig Job Boards
    5.7. Registering an Account on “LinkedIn”
    5.8. Seek Out Current Oil Rig Workers
    5.9. Transitioning From the Military
    5.10. Offshore Drilling Company Job Listings (Career Pages)

    6. Preparing for Your Job Interview
    6.1. What to Wear
    6.2. What to Say
    6.3. Sample Interview Questions
    6.4. Essential Concepts About Working Offshore
    6.4.1. Safety
    6.4.2. Risk Assessments
    6.4.3. Permit to Work System
    6.4.4. Observation Cards
    6.4.5. Attitude
    6.4.6. Commitment

    7. About the Author

    8. Appendix
    8.1. Sample Cover Letter
    8.2. Sample Resume

  • sam October 19, 2014, 8:20 am

    I’m a recent marine engineer graduating from Massachusetts Maritime. I was looking through Seadrill’s website and have a question. Is an “ERO” and engine room operator? and is this the same as a marine engineer position?

  • Ben October 19, 2014, 8:23 am

    Yes, you are correct. An “ERO3” is the same thing as an third engineer, ERO2 is the same idea as a second engineer.


  • Erik November 28, 2014, 4:06 am

    Hello thanks for taking your time to answer my question what kind of ac jobs do you have there in the off shore or on the vessels .

  • Ben December 5, 2014, 12:23 pm

    Erik, what do you mean by AC jobs?

  • Fred c December 29, 2014, 10:49 pm

    Looking at getting a job with offshore drilling company. I have 17 years in the hvac and refrigeration trade. Was wondering what your thoughts was on the probability of there being a job for that. I assume that there is refrigeration and ice machines in the galleys and heating and cooling in all the quarters. Just thought I would ask thanks for the info.

  • Ben January 6, 2015, 4:07 pm

    We don’t have dedicated HVAC technicians on board offshore oil rigs and platforms. HVAC duties usually are taken care of by a marine engineer, rig electrician and/or the rig mechanics. I’m not sure what your exact background is but if you have broader exposure to mechanical work besides HVAC you might consider an entry level mechanic or electrician job.

  • Amit February 2, 2015, 6:32 am


  • DARRYEL WILLIAMS February 13, 2015, 11:20 am

    What if you have a felony charge ? I’ve applied to companies and denied employment because of it. I do know alot of people with back grounds like this and are offshore. I’m just wanting to move on stay focused.

  • Ben February 18, 2015, 8:07 pm

    Felony charges can be tricky. In my experience they are reviewed on a case by case basis and they certainly do not help. Depending on the conviction and how you present your story to the employer you may have a chance. Also, in many cases you’ll need to get a government issued “TWIC” card which you can read about in my book. Google “TWIC card felony” for information on what might hold you back from getting offshore.

  • Stacie ortiz March 1, 2015, 6:15 pm

    If u have a felony can u get a job

  • Ben March 3, 2015, 10:18 am

    You can get a job on a drilling rig with a felony but it will likely be a lot more difficult. It would depend on the nature and type of felony, too. Your best chance is to make sure you have some really great references and a good “story” about how you’ve distanced yourself from your past life.

  • tim March 10, 2015, 3:29 pm

    I was wondering about the medics spot on the rig, and the job outlook.

  • Syamraj March 11, 2015, 1:02 am

    Hi Mr. Ben,
    Is there any jobs related to Documentation or Document Control in offshore industry ?

  • Ben March 11, 2015, 11:23 am

    Dear Syamraj,

    There are no specific document control jobs on offshore oil rigs. There is a lot of document control and filing going on but each department/position pretty much takes care of its own requirements. However, from and IT standpoint…there are a variety of jobs shoreside that might fit what you’re looking for. Each offshore drilling company uses a variety of different software programs to track daily operations, procedures, human resources, accounting, training, etc. What exactly are you looking to do?

  • Ben March 11, 2015, 11:27 am

    Hi Tim,

    Offshore medics tend to any medical emergencies, injuries, illnesses, etc that occur on board the rig. In many cases, they will also administer the company’s drug screening program and assist with tele-medicine physicals and examinations with shore based physicians. They also have a variety of general administrative duties throughout the day such as participating in safety programs, drills, training, etc. Hiring for all offshore positions has slowed down quite a bit over the last few months but medic positions are still posted on the variety of different job sites I mention in my article. Good luck!

  • gomina Micheal gordon April 21, 2015, 3:36 am

    Can I join ur offshore establishment as an AB? Am from Nigeria I have my first degree in human resources management in Nigerian university I did my maritime safety course where I obtain my STCW 95 certificate’, I have nine months sea time in one of our offshore service vessel, pls can some one help me to fix into any of this offshore rig ? Either jack up rig or vessel.
    Gomina Micheal Gordon

  • shivanu April 23, 2015, 5:56 am

    Hi Ben,

    I’v 7 years of sailing experience on oil tankers,
    currently hold Class 2 (2E/1AE) uk Cerificate of competency.

    I want to switch to oil rigs,
    Do i have any chance?
    And what kind of job can i get on oil rigs?
    Whats the exact procedure for my profile to get started on oil rigs?
    looking forward for your reply.


  • Ben April 27, 2015, 11:13 am

    I’ve sailed with a few folks who’ve held UK certificates although you’ll likely need to convert it to a Liberian or Panamanian license depending on what flag ship you’re on (most drilling contractors use Panama, Liberia, Marshall Islands or Vanuatu as a “flag of convenience. From there its a matter of working in a Country that allows foreign nationals. You’d be very hard pressed to get a job on a US based drilling rig or ship, especially with the slow down. Still, with your experience and certifications, there is an outside chance that you could get your foot in the door if you’re open to working in less desirable areas like West Africa…good luck!

  • Ben April 27, 2015, 11:16 am

    Hi Gomina, you’d need to obtain a US visa prior to working in the US. However, there are several drilling contracts that work in Nigeria and other areas of West Africa where you’d likely have a very good shot of obtaining employment. Good Luck!

  • Peter Okumu Kalae May 22, 2015, 3:55 am

    Dear Sir / Madam,

    I would like to introduce you, am Peter Okumu Kalae (deaf gentleman) and long working experiences in tailor and laundry attendant with International Livestock Research Institute at Nairobi, Kenya.

    I would be very happy if your company may offer me position as Housekeeping and Laundry worker.

    My mail address is: P. O. Box 44077 – 00100, Nairobi, Kenya.

    Thank you in advance.

    Faithfully yours,

    Peter Okumu Kalae – Kenyan Deaf Applicant

  • Abin Jose May 31, 2015, 12:36 pm

    Hi Ben ,
    Am a mechanical engineer. I would like to work in ships. I got graduated from India. I am a green card holder of USA. I would like to know how to get entry level jobs in good companies.

  • Ben June 3, 2015, 3:32 pm

    Thanks for the comment Abin.

    Have a look through the article I wrote on the subject. There is a list of companies at the end of the article and links to their career pages. As you’ve probably learned, hiring has slowed down quite a bit recently given the change of fortunes in the industry.

  • Matthan June 22, 2015, 2:06 pm

    How to get an HVAC job on an offshore rig?

  • Santhosh June 29, 2015, 1:37 am

    Hi Ben,

    First of all thank you for creating this page that contains information about Seafarers. Great job mate Cudos !!

    I’m an Electrical Engineer & loves to work in Offshore Rigs.But I just have few questions to ask you please reply

    1. What will be the Entry Level position for me on an Offshore Rig?

    2.Is it Compulsory to have a CDC for working in a Offshore platform.?

    3. What will be the Career Path/Higher Job Positions for an Electrical Professional in Offshore Oil & gas or Oil & energy field?

    I’ve been searching the right person to ask all of these, hope I found.

    Thanks in Advance

  • Ben July 27, 2015, 3:44 pm

    Most likely you would start on an offshore rig as an electrician and work your way up to chief electrician, electrical supervisor and possible maintenance supervisor (in charge over the entire engineering department). My recommendation when you get started is to keep track of your “sea time” and work towards earning your maritime engineers license. Obtaining your maritime engineer officers license will help you tremendously with career advancement.

  • Ben July 27, 2015, 4:09 pm

    Matthan, HVAC duties on offshore oil rigs are handled either by the licensed electricians or marine engineers. There are not dedicated HVAC professionals on board.

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