The requirements needed to gain employment in the Offshore Oil Industry have more to do with what kind of person you are, and what kind of shape you are in, rather than experience, training, or education. Rigs, both Onshore and Offshore, will always be willing to hire the right person. So don’t make the mistake of thinking you are limited to just drilling jobs, either – there are plenty of other openings for cooks, painters, crane operators, platers, and electrical and mechanical technicians and engineers, medics, and supply managers, just to name a few.
Health - The first and foremost requirement for working offshore is that you be in good health. You will be required to pass a thorough physical examination, including a back X- ray, before you will be hired. A drug test will be required as well, so be sure you can pass it. Yes, pot counts.
Age - As far as age requirements, you’ll need to be 18 or older to start working for a drilling contractor, whether offshore or onshore. The average age for offshore workers is 27.
Experience - For experience requirements, obviously the more experience you have in the job category you are applying for, the better. If you don’t have experience, don’t worry about it. Fortunately, there are many entry level jobs available – but just a heads up, if you are serious about this field, be prepared to work your butt off. The biggest thing an employer looks for though, is honesty – and the ability to learn the job quickly.
Education - For education requirements, for entry level rig jobs there aren’t any. A formal education isn’t required, as most contractors are more concerned that you can learn to do the job both safe and well, and pick up things quickly. Some jobs, such as a ballast controlman, mud engineer, etc., do require at least a high school education. The more complex a job is, the more education and experience are required. There is industry specific training programs available that will impart the needed technical information, and in Canada, there is a formal apprenticeship program for the ranks of motorman and above (derrickman, drillers, etc). There are training programs designed for those who have never worked on a rig as well, ranging from 1 to 4 weeks.
Dependability - One requirement for certain is being dependable. It won’t matter if you are good, if you aren’t there. The fastest way to be fired is to not be there for crew change, as crews rotate 12 on \ 12 off, and they need you to be there. Remember that when you get hired onto a rig crew, be it offshore or on, you are part of a team, and it is hard to get the job done without every team member present.
Ambition - Having a genuine interest in the job, and the ambition to do it well and advance, will also play a huge part in obtaining and keeping employment, whether it be in the offshore oil industry or in any other.
As you can see, this isn’t rocket science – anyone who is fit, dependable, and a good, hard worker can enter into this field. It is one of the few areas left where a person can advance into 6 figure salary levels with nothing more than a willingness to learn and to work hard.