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Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted November 6, 2013

10 Highest-Paying Jobs in North Dakota’s Oil Boom

The Fiscal Times: It’s no secret that North Dakota’s oil industry is booming. Advancements in hydraulic fracturing have helped Western North Dakota experience month after month of record-setting oil production, making for one of the fastest-growing economic expansions the U.S. has ever seen.

With the region having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and generating over 75,000 new jobs in the past few years, thousands of workers have showed up searching for high-paying jobs. Oil field workers in the state saw an average annual wage of $112,462 in 2012. Competition has intensified since the boom started around 2007, but entry level rig workers still average about $66,000 a year, according to Rigzone, an industry information provider and job website. 

Though the salary figures may sound appealing, be warned that few of these jobs are located in a cushy office environment or require a mere 40 hours a week. Most employees report working anywhere from 80 to 120 hours a week, and conditions in North Dakota can be brutal, with temperatures regularly dropping below minus 30 degrees during the long winters. Housing is difficult to find, and many workers live in man camps with shared bathrooms and dining quarters.

If you’re thinking about giving the oil industry a try despite all those warnings, what can you expect? Which jobs should you shoot for? Here’s a rundown of the highest-paying jobs in North Dakota’s oil industry.

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More industry news:

  • Natural Gas from 100 Utica Shale Wells is Now Coursing Through a New Billion-Dollar Processing System:


Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.