As the U.S. oil industry strives to make our country energy-independent, the level of activity in oil and gas fields in Texas is exploding. That means, of course, that the number of oil and gas jobs in the state is also zooming upward. Some analysts estimate that 1.3 million additional positions will be available in the oil and gas industry in the U.S. by 2020, many of them in Texas.
Much of the recent growth in oil production—up 37% in the past year, according to some estimates—can be found in the Permian and Eagle Ford shale formations, where new technologies are extracting another round of big oil from these legendary producers. Fracking oil out of the Eagle Ford area has added thousands of Eagle Ford shale jobs to the payrolls alone, as this huge area stretches all the way from southeast Texas to the Dallas area. Permian Basin jobs also proliferate, calling to mind earlier oil booms in the 20th Century, when the region’s population mushroomed for a time.
That means that the already low unemployment rate (about 3%) in Texas oil towns will dip even further. The biggest fear for some oil and gas company executives is not that they will not have enough Texas oil field jobs, but that they will lack the workers needed to keep the fields producing at maximum levels.
As you think about the many oil and gas jobs available, you might wonder which ones are best. Across the board, the pay for Texas oil field jobs is outstanding ($80,000 for high school graduates willing to do some of the dirty work).
This top 10 list of Texas oilfield jobs can help you decide what to pursue:
- CDL Driver—many jobs are available for the person who has his/her commercial driver’s license (CDL). Truck drivers are needed to move rigs and equipment, so if you are able to drive the largest of trucks, your prospects are bright. Drivers are also needed to haul oil and water away from work sites, a constant process. If you do not have your CDL license, consider going to school to get it. You don’t want to turn your nose up at a salary that can reach $2,500 a week, do you? Even the average salary hovers at $50,000+/year. Click Here for more info…
- Derrick Hand—scores of current derrick hands are on the verge of retirement. That leaves a huge window open for new workers, who will average $70,000/year. Derrick hands monitor the drilling fluid, guide the drill pipe, maintain the pumps and fix any jams. They are perhaps best known for keeping the drills greased adequately. This can be a dangerous job, but it pays well and grants leadership responsibilities when the driller is not available. It helps if you have a bit of experience on a rig. It also helps if you have no fear of heights.
- Tool Pusher—for 8-12 hours every day, the rig is going to need all sorts of tools to stay supplied. That’s where the tool pusher fits in. This person also supervises several of the rig’s personnel and is considered a leader as s/he coordinates operations and makes sure that everyone has what they need in Texas oilfields.
- Driller—this position usually requires some experience in the oil business, so if you are new to the field, don’t expect to start as a driller. The driller is the point person for the entire operation, monitoring the day-to-day progress of the rest of the crew.
- Automatic Driller—this person literally does the drilling, not the driller. S/he oversees the drilling platform and monitors gas levels at every stage of the operation to ensure the safety of the crew. If danger does arise, the automatic driller must take whatever measures are needed to avoid disaster. This is a very important position among oil and gas jobs, obviously.
- Roustabout—this is a general term for the laborers on the rig and is an entry level position. S/he is usually responsible for cleaning the rig, which is essential for maximum performance, so a roustabout that does good work will be promoted quickly to other oil field jobs. Salaries of $54K are nothing to sneeze at for manual labor. Lifting and building are usually part of this job too.
- Floorman—this could be considered a subset of the roustabout position, but has slightly different responsibilities. The floorman position is also entry level, but involves setting up the rig, tearing down whatever needs to be dismantled as the site changes, repairing and maintaining rig components, and helping to mix the grease to lubricate the drill. Think of the floorman as a type of specialized roustabout.
- Frack Sand Truck Driver—as oil is produced through innovative fracking techniques, massive amounts of sand need to be continually moved to keep production humming. That means that scores of trucks need to be onsite at all times, moving continually. This type of driver will be needed more and more as fracking spreads. Drivers should also know how to fix their trucks, because roadside assistance is not always available. Patience is a virtue that employers particularly treasure in truck drivers.
- Accountant—the re-emergence of the oil and gas industry has created a crying need for numbers people. Tax accountants are in particular demand, with starting pay averaging nearly $70K.
- Welder—who is going to repair all of that rig equipment when it breaks apart from high use? The welder. That’s why these workers can make up to $14,000/month! The starting pay is usually at least $18-$28/hour, with the gas and oil industry paying more to lure welders away from their home states.