Education and Training Requirements

High School

Little or no formal training or experience is required to get a job as a roustabout. However, there are more applicants than there are jobs, which allows employers to be selective, choosing people who have previous experience as a roustabout or formal training in a related area. While in high school, classes in mathematics, shop, and technical training will be helpful in preparing to work as a roustabout.

Postsecondary Training

More and more applicants have earned an associate's degree in petroleum technology, which demonstrates their familiarity with oil field operations and equipment. In general, any technical training, specialized courses, or pertinent experience can be a definite advantage in securing a job and later in getting promotions to more responsible positions.

To learn the skills they need, some newly hired roustabouts take courses at junior colleges or self-study courses such as those offered by the University of Texas at Austin ( Some employers, particularly the major oil companies, help pay for job-related courses that employees take during their own time. Because the turnover rate among roustabouts is fairly high, however, employers are usually reluctant to invest a great deal in specialized training for beginning workers.

Other Education or Training

Roustabouts can learn about continuing education (CE) conferences, tradeshows, professional meetings, and social events by checking out The Rigzone Events Calendar ( Additionally, the American Petroleum Institute, Association of Energy Service Companies, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers provide CE opportunities that will be of interest to roustabouts. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

No professional certifications or special licenses are required for roustabouts.

Other Requirements

Roustabouts need a current valid vehicle operator's license and a good driving record. Depending on the equipment they operate, roustabouts may also need a commercial driver's license as well as crane and forklift operator licenses. Some jobs may require candidates to undergo drug screenings and physical examinations.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Little or no formal training or experience is required to work as a roustabout, but those with prior work experience will increase their chances of landing a job, getting promoted, and possibly earning higher pay.

Roustabouts must be physically fit, with good coordination, agility, and eyesight. They must enjoy working out of doors, be willing to work in extreme weather, and often are required to work more than 40 hours a week. In addition, employers may require that job applicants pass a physical examination and a screening test for drug use before hiring them. Applicants might also have to take aptitude tests to determine their mechanical ability.

Those who become roustabouts should be ready to pitch in with extra work when the situation requires it. They should work well both on their own and as part of a crew. Those on offshore platforms must be able to get along with the same people for extended periods of time.

Roustabouts need to be comfortable with an unpredictable field; at times they do not have steady work, and at other times they work several weeks straight with only a few days off. Many roustabouts have a taste for challenge, travel, and adventure rather than a settled home life. Others look at the job as a short-term way to gain experience, earn money for college or some other specific expense, or to prepare for a better paying job in the energy industry.