Rig Design Engineer

Design and build oil rigs.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$50,000 – $139,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Rig Design Engineers do?

It’s no easy task to create drilling rigs that can sponge oil from hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean or beneath hardened bedrock in Alaska. But Rig Design Engineers know enough about the industry, geology, and technology to design machines that do just that.

As a Rig Design Engineer, you work in conjunction with the Rig Manager. After all, it’s his show, so you make sure the rig performs up to his standards.

Often, that begins at the development stage. Where will this rig be used? What is the temperature there? How deep will it be required to go? The answers to these and myriad other questions help you create a plan for the rig.

While your duties as a Rig Design Engineer flex your teamwork and communication skills, you also use drafting and computer-aided design software. That requires some computer savvy and an understanding of engineering principles.

Once you’ve designed the rig, you’re often on site during the manufacturing and building phases. That demands a constant dose of problem solving, the ability to clearly communicate ideas, and decision-making skills.

And even after it’s built, you won’t see the last of your creation. When something goes wrong or the rig requires maintenance, you get the call. Because you’re knowledgeable about hydraulic and pneumatic systems, you even work on rigs designed by someone else.

Should I be a Rig Design Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become a Rig Design Engineer

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Rig Design Engineer-related education!
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