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Oil Industry Career Paths

The thousands of jobs that are a part of this industry fall into one of nine categories. Within each, there are both entry-level as well as advanced positions available. The nine categories are:

  • Business and Operational Support
  • Trades
  • Technologies
  • Technicians
  • Engineers
  • Geoscience Professionals
  • Marine and Nautical services
  • Field Workers
  • Operators

Did You Know? About 9.2 million jobs in America come from the oil and gas industry, and that adds more than $1 trillion to our economy. That's approximately 7.5 percent of the nation's wealth!

Entry-level Positions

gas career paths photoSome entry-level positions can be easy to get if you have completed some classes toward a degree, or have relative work experience. The company will train you on the job, and as with any industry, the more you learn and the harder you work, the better your chances will be for advancement. There are wide varieties of entry-level jobs that are available to those just getting started. Some of the most popular positions are radio operators, engineers, roustabouts, medics, electricians, welders and heavy machinery operators.


Of course while some of these entry-level jobs are done in the field onshore, there are also quite a few performed on offshore oil rigs or out on pipelines. But both onshore and offshore, there are great opportunities to get your career started.

Advanced Career Possibilities

Advanced careers in the industry can be obtained both by starting at an entry-level position and then taking a few years to gain the experience you need in order to move up, or by going to school and earning an advanced degree. Like many industries, as long as you put in your time working hard and having a strong work ethic, you’ll be able to choose to take your career as high as you like, both in the corporate sector and out in the field.


Some of the most popular advanced jobs are drillers, petroleum geologists, and petroleum engineers. In addition, there are several different types of advanced engineering positions. There are specialty welders, called sub-sea engineers, who drill under the ocean, as well as some managerial positions out on oil rig platforms. Other positions include hydrographic surveyors and blasting supervisors, as well as various jobs in refining.

Advantages to a Career in the Industry

There are many great benefits to entering the oil and gas industry.

You will get a chance to study subjects like civil engineering, aeronautics, mechanical and chemical engineering. You can also learn on the job as you go and gain your experience and knowledge from hands-on experience. Many people do both in order to get promoted even faster.


Although certain positions, such as underwater welders, are quite competitive, the industry as a whole pays extremely high salaries. Some starting salaries are as high as $60,000, and that’s for people who are just entering the industry. Bonuses and yearly commissions can also often be expected in the industry and should continue to increase throughout a career.

Industry Education and Training

As mentioned before, there are certain entry-level jobs that you can start with little to no special education or training. However, having degrees and advanced education will not only take you far in the gas and oil industry, but will also allow you to enter at a more advanced position.


The most basic skills a person needs to succeed in the industry are a high school diploma, decision and problem solving skills, a mechanical aptitude, computer literacy, skills in math, planning and organizing skills, as well as strong communication levels. With these basic skills, you should be able to land almost any entry-level position.


Did You Know? Every job in the oil and gas industry supports three jobs in another industry. Some of the jobs impacted are airline pilots, drillers, electricians, truck drivers, police officers, mechanics, construction workers, and chemical engineers.

We have just touched the surface of some of the great jobs opportunities available in the industry. In the following sections, we will take a closer look into various areas of the industry and the careers available in each of them. First, we will take an in depth look at oil platform jobs.

Gas Career Summary

  • Entry-level positions can get you started in a new career that has great growth potential.  
  • Some entry-level positions start as high as $60,000 a year.
  • The industry has unlimited job opportunities and potential for growth.
  • Enjoy job security in an industry that will continue to grow.
  • Have satisfaction in knowing that by doing your job, you can be instrumental in providing jobs for others.


Next Page - Jobs on an Oil Platform >>>

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