Oil and Gas Education

If you are planning a career in the oil or gas industries, you will need to ensure that you tailor your education accordingly. Which qualifications you require will depend upon which field of the industry you enter; the average oil rig will have positions ranging from manual labouring to strategic management, via complex engineering and problem-solving.

Choosing the right sector to work in can be down to your personality, your build, your gender and your working preferences. Each person needs to examine the various routes that can be taken, deciding which is best for them before embarking on their journey in oil and gas education.

Each common role within the industry, especially those that involve working on an oil rig, will have different entry levels of qualification and education. No matter what role you are interested in, however, anybody looking to work on an oil rig should look into the possibility of gaining a qualification in Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET).

Tailored education needs for other roles are as follows.


As a role that largely revolves around manual labour, there are no academic qualifications required to work as a Roustabout on an oil rig. Applicants must be over 18, however, and be in good physical condition.

Due to the locational challenges associated with such a job, applicants can be expected to work in shifts both AM and PM, sometimes in harsh weather conditions for weeks or even months at a time. The upside is a nice monthly pay packet in comparison to land-based jobs such as a builder.

Experience is also preferable, though this can be obtained elsewhere, such as within the construction industry. The most important qualification that anybody hoping to become a roustabout must possess is a willingness to work hard and tirelessly – doing so many open the door to more advanced roles in the future.


Much like a Roustabout, the position of Offshore Driller (also sometimes referred to as a Derrickman) is considered to be an entry-level vacancy on most offshore workplaces and does not require any particular educational qualifications. An interest and willingness to learn is always appreciated by potential employers.

Although two years of relevant experience will be required before anybody can be considered for this post, this doesn’t need to be within the gas and oil industry – it could be from a building site, or even an apprenticeship if you are over 18 years old.

Engineer (Any)

The single most important qualification for variety of Engineer on an oil rig is a degree in their chosen field of work – the higher up the hierarchy an Engineer would like to move, the greater the need for a Masters degree or equivalent.

Engineers can be called upon for any number of reasons, and should expect to be capable at problem-solving in a short amount of time to avoid any potentially dangerous situations from arising.


As Divers on an oil rig will be responsible for a great many different tasks, there is a long list of completed courses that will be required to successfully apply for such a position – though none of them are achieved at college or university.

Previous experience will also be an advantage, as will experience in pipefitting, welding or general maintenance and repair, alongside some kind of trade qualification in Engineering such as a BTEC, HND or HNC.

Alongside this, anybody that hopes to work offshore as a Diver must have accrued a variety of qualifications that include RYA Powerboat Level II, a variety of HSE-assigned titles and a Subsea Inspection & Tooling Certificate. As Divers are generally expected to pitch in all over an oil rig when not working below the surface, there could be even more needs for certain employers.

Pipefitter or Welder

While these roles do not require particular academic achievements, experience is absolutely pivotal – as are various industry qualifications. Every worksite will have different needs when it comes to pipefitting and welding, so always discuss relevant experience with an employer to ensure that you are compatible with the vacancy.

Health and Safety Advisor

The bare minimum that anybody hoping to act as a Health and Safety Advisor on an oil rig will require as a National Examinations Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) qualification. This is standard for most roles within the Health and Safety field – some kind of degree education and plenty of experience will also be an advantage, as safety is of such importance on an offshore working environment.

Quantity Surveyor

Anybody looking to join an oil rig as a Quantity Surveyor will not need to have previously worked within the oil and gas industry. A degree in surveying will be essential, however, and most candidates without very impressive equivalent experience in construction will most likely not be considered. Membership to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will also be favourable.

Managerial roles are usually awarded to people that have worked in any of the above sectors for a prolonged period of time and proved their worth, and are thus only open to those with sufficient experience. As the safety of fellow crewmembers is of paramount importance, transferrable skills are not really applicable for anybody looking to join the oil and gas industry in a senior capacity, especially if they are hoping to work offshore.

This is not necessarily the case for roles that are not directly related to the work performed on an oil rig, however. There will also be a number of other vacancies, such as legal advisers, medical staff, IT technicians and scaffolders, that may welcome employees fro other industries – provided they have completed the necessary survival courses before setting foot on an offshore worksite.