Published: Sep 09, 2022 | Updated at: Sep 09, 2022
According to 2019 findings from PwC, the oil industry in Texas supported more than 2.5 million jobs or 14% of Texas' total employment. Yet, more recent data suggests the industry is adding jobs faster than it has in decades, likely pushing numbers higher.
Because there are many different oil industry jobs to choose from, the sector draws people with vastly different skills. But generally, careers in the oil industry pay well and are sustainable.
Curious to know about some of the highest paying oil jobs? Continue reading as we dive into the highest paying jobs in West Texas oil.
CDL Truck Driver
When it comes to careers in the oil industry, you may not think of truck drivers. But oil in any form must get from one place to another, which often happens by road. Thus, a crude oil driver transports raw oil materials and finished goods to:
- Gas stations
- Semi-truck, tractor, and trailer customers
They assist with:
- Tank loading
- Fuel oil delivery
- Paperwork like delivery logs
- Operating oil tankers and forklift trucks
- Vehicle maintenance
To be an oil truck driver, you usually need a high school diploma or GED and previous experience driving a commercial truck. Of course, having your CDL license is also a must.
Oil CDL truck drivers will have the opportunity to drive a variety of different trucks, such as:
- Frac water heater trucks
- Hot oil trucks
- Swab rigs
- Vacuum trucks
- Water trucks
While many truck drivers make an average of $30,000 to $60,000 annually (the national average is about $48,000), this number can increase to more than $100,000 for those specifically working in the oil industry.
A drilling consultant provides on-site supervision of daily drilling operations for an operating company. Their job is to ensure employee safety on location and execute the drilling plan to achieve the operator's targets.
For example, the drilling consultant ensures equipment is properly assembled, maintained, and operated. They also instill measures to prevent well blowouts or other catastrophic events on-site.
Further, drill consultants conduct geological surveys to identify minimal deposits or other natural resources. Other responsibilities include:
- Guiding operations to follow environmental standards and government regulations
- Maintaining daily reports and project management
- Working with engineers and other departments to secure services and equipment
- Consulting with supervisors to optimize feed operations
A drilling consultant is not an entry-level position and requires years of experience. Minimally you'll be expected to have ten to 15 years of experience working in oilfields. However, many consultants have much more experience than this. They also usually come from an engineering background.
While the average drill consultant makes around $72,000 to $124,000 a year, salaries for this job are as high as $250,000, depending on the contractor and scope of the project.
Operators will hire drill contractors for a specific project, so their position is usually on a contract basis.
A mud engineer (drilling fluid engineer) works on an oil well or gas drilling rig. They are responsible for ensuring the properties of the drilling fluid (called mud) are within the parameters given by the operator.
In the oil industry, mud provides hydrostatic pressure on the borehole wall to prevent runaway production. Mud also:
- Lubricates and cools the drill bit
- Carries drill cuttings to the surface
- Forms a filter cake to prevent drilling fluid from entering the borehole
Mud engineers create different draining fluids for the drilling process. They must use soil and geological information to recommend the best liquids and drill bits.
To become a mud engineer, you need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. Employers prefer your degree has a focus on either chemical, mineral, or mining engineering. Then, the path to becoming a mud engineer starts with being a drilling assistant or working in a similar manual work position.
Mud engineers require experience that comes with on-the-job training and some vocational training in mud technology, which mud schools offer.
The national average salary for this position is about $131,000 per year. However, the majority make up to $295,000.
A pipeline welder may be one of the more common oil jobs you think of in the industry. Without pipes, oil and gas cannot move from one place to another, rendering them useless. Oil rigs also need lines to carry water, steam, and other chemicals used during the drilling process.
Thus, pipeline welders work on or near oil rigs to maintain the entire piping system. Their responsibilities include:
- Forming, cutting, and joining metal
- Performing installations and repairs
- Maintaining the safety of the pipeline systems
Pipeline welding is the most complex of all welding techniques. Those who want a career in pipeline welding need specialized training and a high level of technical skill. The first step is to enroll in a welding school, which you can find at:
- Community colleges
- Trade schools
- Vocational schools
While most welding jobs only require an associate's degree, most pipeline welding jobs require a four-year bachelor's degree because it's highly technical. Pipeline welders also need to take a certification exam after receiving their degree.
The oil industry consistently needs welders, so this position is always in high demand. Yet, it is also one of the most challenging and high-risk jobs in oil. However, you'll make significantly more than a traditional welder as an oil welder.
The average salary for this position is about $77,000 per year, compared to $47,000 for welders not in the oil industry.
Consider the Highest Paying Jobs in West Texas Oil for Your Career
Knowing the highest paying jobs in West Texas oil can help you plan your next big career move within the industry. These are only four options you can consider amongst many possibilities.
All in all, careers in oil continue to be in high demand, well-paying, and stable, making them excellent choices to pursue.
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