Are you considering a career in the petroleum industry? Be forewarned - this is not a job for the faint of mind, body, or spirit.

First off, however, let's take a look at why the oifield has such an allure.

Career Paths & Oilfield Riches

Let's face it: there are many opportunities to advance in this industries’ career paths, and often with great speed. You can be promoted quickly in salary and responsibility if you’re willing to learn fast and work hard.

For example, a roustabout who earns $14 per hour can advance up to a derrick hand who earns $27 per hour. There are many instances where even a 'green hand' can earn $100,000 in the oilfield within a short period of time.

While the thought of an easy buck is tempting, the oilfield does not come without it's own unique set of challenges.

If you think you're ready, read these 3 questions carefully - and answer honestly.

Question #1: How serious will I take safety?

Safety is the topmost priority of the petroleum industry. There are several standard practices and regulations set to ensure a secured environment for employees and workers. 

Staff are strictly required to wear protective equipment and clothing while on the site. Also, employees are given extensive training so that they will know how to detect hazards and correct problems. In some occasions, employees are exposed to unbearable noise levels, dangerous equipment, and hazardous materials.

If you’re considering a career in the oil and gas industry, you must make your safety your number one priority.

Question #2: Am I willing to (and am I able to) pass a drug test?

Due to the industries’ grueling work hours, it is inevitable that some employees turn to drugs as a method of coping, celebration, or both.

However, the adverse influences and effects of drugs in an individual’s mind can cause fatal and large-scale catastrophes when it comes to the oilfield.

This is the reason that drug testing is strictly implemented during hiring and personnel inspections. Drug testing is a universal practice in the oil and gas industry to ensure the safety of each and every employee.

It goes without saying that if you consider yourself 'ready' for an oil & gas career, you should expect to be tested for drug use.

Question #3: I say I'm 'rig ready', but am I actually tough enough?

This is a big one.

While many cojure up the image of a grizzled, callous handed 'oilfield man', being tough enough for this indudstry actually breaks down in 3 different ways.

Physically tough:

The working conditions in the petroleum industry vary, but are typically extremely demanding. For example, working on an offshore site requires personnel to perform under extreme weather conditions, as does dealing with the scorching summer heat of Texas, and the freezing winters of Alberta.

Additionally, most involved in oil & gas are expected to work grueling shifts that involve long hours often made longer with overtime. This can happen for several weeks without off days.

Emotionally tough:

Beyond the sheer physical toughness, oilfield work can come with an emotional toll. Industry workers can often spend extended periods of time away from their family, missing important milestones among other events that the general public take for granted.

This sacrifice requires a toughness of a different kind, and anyone who has worked 'the patch' long enough knows all too well just how 'tough' this part can be.

Mentally tough

The recent COVID-19 pandemic destroying demand while the Saudi-Russia price war flood supply are just two examples of how volatile this industry is, and how mentally tough oilfield workers need to be.

Only 18 short months ago, Vice news ran an article with input from EJS on how 20-Year-Olds were making six figures in west texas & there still wasn't enough workers.

Today, the industry is facing down a bust the likes of which has quite possibly never been seen.

Having persistence, willpower, and the foresight to prepare for extreme ups and downs characteristic of oil & gas is paramount.


In general, the oil and gas industry offers those with a strong work ethic and solid values the ability to earn an incredible living regardless of educational attainments and skill levels.

It promotes careers that comes with more than their fair share of downsides, but for many the salary and experience are worth it.

Answered 'yes' to all 3? You just might be ready for the patch!