Jobs on offshore oil rigs are among the most sought after in the oil and gas industry, and for good reason. It is exciting work, and an adventure. The pay is extreme (experienced offshore drilling jobs can pay upwards of 100k). Even entry level offshore jobs can pay over 60k. The camaraderie is like being in the military; your buddy has your back, and you have his. You get to work in new and exotic places. And you get 6 months off a year to enjoy all of these benefits.
Most, if not all, jobs on offshore oil rigs do come with a good benefits package - health and life insurance, 401k, medical, dental, long-term care, and other retirement benefits. Travel is paid for, and of course room and board while on the offshore rig are covered. The exception are highly paid positions such as underwater welder; you are paid a day rate or a per job rate (that can approach $900.00 a day in some locations). With that kind of wage, one can buy his own benefits.
Jobs on offshore oil rigs are dangerous - before you set foot on the rig, you will have to undergo safety training and helicopter survival training. The importance of this training can be seen by a recent helicopter crash; the chopper was transporting 19 workers to the offshore rig, and went down. All 19 workers survived. You will find that the competition to obtain a high paying oil rig job is tough, especially for entry level positions, but if you know where to send your CV or Resume, and who to speak to, then it all becomes a lot easier.
The hardest thing about getting jobs on offshore oil rigs is landing the first hitch - it seems most employers want offshore experience more than even oil rig experience. Fortunately, there are companies that hire for entry level offshore jobs, such as roustabouts and roughnecks. Your best bet is to apply in person, at the onshore managing facility for the offshore rigs. In the United States, this will be in Houston, Texas, and Lafourche, Louisiana. If that isn't possible, the next best choice is to either find the hiring web pages of all the offshore drilling contractors yourself and submit your resume, or hire someone to do it for you.
If you have relevant experience in the major trades (welding, electrician, mechanic), try the Danos Corporation. Transocean is always hiring for those with experience. There are literally hundreds of offshore drilling contractors worldwide; if you apply at all of them, you are bound to get a job, because in the end, it's a numbers game - but persistence is required, especially in this economy.
In the intermediate-long term, the demand for jobs on offshore oil rigs is only going to go up. World energy demand will resume skyrocketing as we emerge from this recession, and the wage rates for offshore workers will resume their upward spiral as well. It's an amazing career, full of adventure and stories that will last a lifetime.