The oil and gas industry has some of the most lucrative careers in the job market. What's more is starting a career in this industry is not as hard as one may think. A typical oil rig has a team consisting of Floorhand, Motorman, Derrickman, and Driller. The team is headed by an Oil Rig Manager.

If you are just starting in this industry, you would most likely get the entry-level position, which is the Floorhand position or roustabout. 


Floorhands, also known as roustabout or roughneck, are usually unskilled or semi-skilled manual workers whose main job is to clean up the oil rig so that other workers can do their jobs efficiently. A floorhand’s responsibility includes painting, rust removal, cleaning maintenance, clearing the deck of safety hazards, lifting and moving equipment around the oil rig, and other duties assigned to them.

A floorhand can work his way up to the motorman position by showing that he is reliable and a team player. He should demonstrate his ability to follow instructions, good work ethics, and keenness to learn about how the rig operates.

The average earning of a floorhand ranges from $48,000 to $70,000 per year depending on the company and location. 

Motorman or Motor hand

The main job of a motorman is to keep all rig equipment, especially the engine of the drill equipment, running smoothly. A motorman spends majority of his time on equipment maintenance but his other duties include ordering tools and replacement parts for the engine, training the floorhands, and assisting the other oil rig crew members when needed.

This job is suited for people who have an interest in mechanics. A motorman should demonstrate great stamina, attention to detail, and being a great team player.

A motorman should work fast and efficiently without compromising safety and standards. He may be required to get a safety and first aid certification. If you are applying for this position, prior experience in an oil rig is necessary. A motorman can earn north of $25/hr per hour, depending on the training and experience. Cost of living allowance is optional depending on the work location.


A derrickman manages the drilling string of a drill machine when lowered down the drill hole. A derrickman should have a head for heights because they spend a lot of their time on the “monkey board” or wooden plank located up in the derrick. He also manages some of the machinery equipment on the oil rig, aside from assisting the driller, mixing the mud, machinery upkeep, etc. A derrickman should have good problem-solving skills, an eye for detail, be agile, and exhibit great teamwork.

The average pay of a derrickman can be up to $34 per hour or north of $85,000/yr.


As mentioned, a driller is the supervisor of an oil rig team. A driller’s main job is to assist the oil rig manager and ensure that the work is within the standards of the government and the oil rig company. He should possess good communication and organization skills, and be detail-oriented, a good listener, and a team player. A driller’s other roles include hoisting and operating the drilling equipment, and monitoring the equipment and gauges. This position requires several certifications including, first aid training, and different types of safety certifications.

A driller can quite easily earn more than $100,000 per year depending on the skills, training, and the location where he works.