If you appreciate the technical side of power and energy, but want a more unconventional career in the electrical industry, an oil rig, or offshore electrician job, could be perfect for you.
What Oil Rig Electricians Do
As an oil rig electrician, you can be expected to perform maintenance on a drill or pump. These are typically located on a floating rig or an artificial island. Some facilities are even attached directly to the ocean floor.
An oil rig electrician is expected to have knowledge of power generation, motor controls, safety devices, and instrumentation. A background in Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is also helpful when you're applying for a job.
An oil rig technician can expect an erratic schedule, but it’s an exciting life. You may have the chance to move to an exotic location or experience a different culture when you work as an offshore electrician.
Learning the Trade
You'll learn the ropes in a diploma or degree program at a trade school or community college. As you complete your coursework, you'll start to learn more about what it means to actually work near and in the sea. Some electricians even have to learn how to scuba dive in order to fix and install lines deep under water.
Pay special attention to automated and cooling systems when in electrical school, and try to tailor your studies as much as possible (either through independent reading or specific courses) toward the oil rig industry.
In addition to knowing the wiring and functions of your workplace, it will be beneficial to display good leadership qualities. You'll need to be able to both give direction, and follow direction, from your team and superiors. A successful oil rig electrician will need to be able to work alone, and with a group, to maximize productivity.
Feel Comfortable with the Future
While the future of energy may shift away from oil, it's unlikely that oil will lose its value any time soon. Deciding to pursue this career when you are young may allow you to build your skills that translate to another profession in the energy industry later in life if need be.
While adventure is certainly one factor that draws people to this profession, the high wages also contribute to making this a competitive field. People with a thirst for something new and different are attracted to oil rig electrical work.
Your best bet in getting a great job may be to have a clear idea of where you want to be as soon as you start your training. In doing so, you can find out exactly what will be expected of you in the position from the very beginning and prepare accordingly. If you continue to perfect your skills, then this field can be lucrative for you.
Find an electrical trade school near you.