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A roughneck is a type of laborer who works on an oil rig. The job is extremely difficult and often dangerous, and it is likely that you will need to start in another entry level position before you can become a roughneck. Apply for any manual labor position available at an oil company to get started. You can expect to work this job for up to six months before are able to become a roughneck, and once you get your chance, you will need to do a bit of training.
Prepare yourself physically for the rigors of the job. A person who wants to become a roughneck will need to be prepared to perform physical labor for many hours a a day, weeks on end, which can be exhausting and can lead to injury. Strength and mobility will be vital if you want to become a roughneck, and you will need the stamina to adhere to the common oil rig schedules. This often means you will spend several weeks on a rig, with a week or two off in between.
Roustabout jobs are the most likely category of work if you are new to oil rigs. Roustabouts perform a variety of manual labor jobs, and it is likely that the roustabout will not work directly with any drilling functions. He may instead perform other tasks outside drilling operations that need to be done. Job foremen may choose roustabouts to become roughnecks when there is a shortage on a team, or when the roustabout is ready for the rigors of the job. The new roughneck may work high in the drilling rigging, connecting pipes or addressing other mechanical issues. Once the person has gotten a fair amount of experience, he or she may work directly on the rig deck, connecting drill pipes that will extend down into the drilling hole.
Roughnecks may perform other duties, such as operating heavy machinery or attending to a mud room. It helps to boost your resumé with relevant work experience if you want to become a roughneck; you will be more likely to secure a position or work your way up the ladder quickly if you have previous experience working with heavy machinery or even working construction on dry land. Write up a resumé with your most relevant work experience, and submit it to the oil company. Be sure to follow up after a week or two to make sure you are still in the running for a position.