Offshore roustabout

roughneck roustabout lead roustabout

Career outlook for offshore roustabout

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would keep the drilling equipment and area working properly on offshore facilities such as oil and gas rigs and drilling platforms.

As a roustabout, you would do basic labouring tasks to help keep the drilling area in good working order. A lead roustabout would supervise your work.

You would:

  • Clean, scrape and paint the deck, equipment and work areas
  • Offload supplies from boats and move them to storage areas
  • Move supplies and equipment to the work site
  • Use lifting gear and winches to load and stack equipment
  • Help to repair pumping equipment
  • Mix the 'drilling mud' to lubricate the drill bit

As a roughneck, you would carry out more skilled duties as part of the actual drilling operation.

You would:

  • Add fresh lengths of drill pipe as the drill moves deeper into rock
  • Insert and extract the whole drill
  • Clean, maintain and repair the drilling equipment
  • Use lifting gear, ropes and winches

You need to be able to work and live as part of a team and be aware of health and safety rules.

Working conditions


You would typically live and work on a rig or platform for two or three weeks, followed by two or three weeks’ rest period onshore. You would work up to 12 hours a day on a 24-hour shift rota.


You could work on a fixed production platform with up to 100 workers, or on a smaller mobile rig in a team of around 20 people. Facilities can include living accommodation, canteens and recreation areas. Alcohol and smoking are banned. The job can be physically demanding, working in all types of weather conditions and at heights. You would need to wear protective clothing, including a harness, ear defenders and a thermal boiler suit.


You would typically live and work on a rig or platform for two or three weeks, followed by two or three weeks’ rest period onshore.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Concentrating
  • Managing resources
  • Time management
  • Making decisions

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

A common route into the industry is through an apprenticeship scheme.

Employers may look for qualifications at SCQF levels 4-6 for entry to an apprenticeship. For entry to an apprenticeship you would normally need to sit an aptitude test.

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects (required by many courses and employers)
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

You will also need

  • An offshore survival course such as basic offshore safety induction and emergency training certificate (BOSIET)
  • To pass an offshore medical certificate
  • To pass colour vision tests
  • To be aged at least 18 years old for most offshore jobs

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience working with shipbuilding, construction or engineering is helpful.

Once in a job you may be able to gain relevant Scottish Vocational Qualifications such as the Offshore Drilling Operations (SVQ levels 1/2/3) developed with Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO) or a qualification through the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) would be useful.