What does a roustabout do?
Roustabouts perform basic manual labor for many different employers. They help with a variety of tasks for many different industries. Roustabouts that work for oil drilling facilities often perform basic maintenance and repairs, assemble and dismantle equipment, dig ditches, and help determine the origin of oil leaks. Those that work for circuses often help set up and break down equipment, perform required maintenance, help with cleaning tasks, and help other employees. They sometimes travel with the circus or are hired at a particular venue. In other industries, roustabouts commonly move equipment and transport supplies.
What kind of training does a roustabout need?
Roustabouts need at least a high school diploma. Most roustabouts learn their skills through on the job training. Some roustabouts complete apprenticeship programs that combine classroom instruction and paid on the job training. Many roustabouts start their careers as helpers or other entry-level workers and advance into roustabout positions once they gain the essential skills and experience. The intensity and length of training often varies with employer. Roustabouts that work for oil rigs will complete more extensive training than those that work for circus companies. To remain competitive in the field roustabouts often complete additional training in a specific area. Many roustabouts often become long-term employees for employers as they gain experience.
What are the prospects for a career as a roustabout?
Employment of roustabouts is expected to decline slowly from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased need for permanent workers contributes to the job decline.
Some job openings will arise from the need to replace roustabouts that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons. Roustabouts that possess a variety of skills and have extensive experience and training in a particular field will have the best job opportunities.
How much do roustabouts make?
As of November 2009, the middle 50% of roustabouts earn annual salaries between $29,621 and $40,394. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $44,634 (2).
A career as a roustabout is a great choice for individuals interested in providing temporary manual labor for a variety of employers. Roustabouts must be in great physical condition and have excellent physical stamina and strength to carry out strenuous tasks. They must be able to perform a variety of tasks and use basic tools and machinery. They must also be reliable and follow detailed instructions. Mechanical aptitude, good coordination, manual dexterity, and confidence are desirable characteristics. Roustabouts must be able to work in stressful and sometimes dangerous situations and be flexible in their availability to work. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be able to work effectively as part of a team.