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Old 02-19-2014, 12:15 PM
10 posts, read 9,496 times
Reputation: 20


My family is considering a move to Billings, MT. My husband is interested in getting into the field of energy. He doesn't have any experience (He's worked in insurance for the past 10 years) but he's personable, a very hard worker, and educated.

1. What are the types of well paying jobs in Billings right now? Are they open to entry level/training? If you can suggest some of the better companies, that would be great.

2. What kind of pay is that line of work providing? (salary/hourly)

3. Is there any animosity about the keystone pipeline in Montana?

4. We would like to purchase 10+ acres and build a house with possibly animals (chickens, goats, maybe horses) at some point. Any suggestions for areas closer to town but not feeling like you are surrounded by neighbors/neighborhoods? We would like more rolling hills than being IN the mountains. Of course mountain views are great! A 30 minute drive to town is fine. Internet is important.

5. What is the winter and summer like? Will I need to have a snow plow to get out of drive? Do we need 4 wheel drive?

6. How do the people of Billings take to new comers? We are from Florida(Yes, I know we'd be the only ones in winter coats when everyone else in shorts up there!) but we are very friendly and hard workers. We want our kids to grow up in a city/town with values and conservative Christian view points.

7. What kind of community is there for home schoolers? I have 3 kids and all will be home schooled, but I want to make sure to connect with the community and make friends.

8. Are there good churches around? Ones with a strong since of community and follow true to scripture?

THANKS to everyone who responds! We have dreamed a long time about living closer to God's country and we feel Montana has a lot to offer!
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:58 PM
Location: C-U metro
1,364 posts, read 2,722,237 times
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I guess my first concern would be why he wants to change industries. Insurance isn't something that's going to have a lot of overlap unless you are in an energy company's offices. Most energy companies have an insurance and/or risk department that may be suited towards his current skill set. Have you looked at ANY of those positions first? If he just wants $$$, there's far better ways to go about it.

1) Take a look at insurance agencies in MT and see if they are hiring. State Farm has a regional office in Billings. It's small compared to the ones in Florida but they do a lot of work all over the state. I don't know if the other majors have regionals in Billings. I don't think it would be difficult to get licensed in Montana if he's licensed in Florida.

2) Learn about the energy industry. Where does he feel comfortable or knowledgeable in? Gas and oil exploration are different than "midstream" or finished fuels. Major chains like Holiday Stores (Minneapolis HQ) is big enough to have an insurance department. Billings does have a few small production firms but most are in Denver, Tulsa, OKC, Dallas and Houston.

3) What about banks? Glacier Bank and First Interstate Bank need actuaries if he qualifies for those positions.

So if he's just an insurance salesman, not an agent, and wants out, I would not recommend him trying to get a job on Keystone XL. He's not a welder, mechanic, heavy equipment operator or trucker. Those are basically the "well-paid" positions in pipeline projects. Everyone else is some brand of "helper" which pays roughly $15 an hour. Decent money but your travel costs from Billings will eat any profit.

MSU-Billings has a set of courses training people to be plant operators. Its a good certification program that takes 2 years to complete and the grads are getting job offers after they complete their first year. Some operating companies are willing to "co-op" the program where the student takes classes one semester and works at the facility the next. I would recommend this if he's going to commit. These people get their hands dirty and lift equipment too so it isn't a desk job.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:41 PM
4,641 posts, read 3,960,964 times
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I'm confused by your post. Your husband wishes a job in energy industry but he presently sells insurance?
Oil patch entry level jobs are highly physical blue collar jobs that are performed over long hours in extreme conditions typically by very physically fit young men.

His best opportunity would be to move to Billings or Casper, Wyoming AFTER receiving a 4 year degree in accounting or finance with an emphasis in oil & gas accounting or taxation.
Or he could go to a truck driving school and get a CDL and apply to become a truck driver hauling something in the oil patch. Lack of solid work experience would be an issue.
The oil patch is many hours from Billings.

Well paying jobs in Montana are those in usual professions; law, banking, accounting,medicine, & more lately IT. There are skilled laborers like plumbers & electricians and specialty welders that are well paid.

Montana is not home of inexpensive real estate. 10 acres of completely undeveloped land commutable to Billings could perhaps cost as little as $10,000 an acre. That would not include water, septic, electricity, site prep, etc.

Homeschooling is not uncommon.

Keystone pipeline is quite a ways from Billings.

4 wheel drive is desireable but not necessary in Billings or anywhere in Montana, out of Billings would depend on location.

People in Montana are private about their religious beliefs as they are private about most beliefs.

Billings could be 35 below in winter and over 100 in summer.

Last edited by historyfan; 02-19-2014 at 05:46 PM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 02-23-2014, 01:15 PM
8,938 posts, read 8,037,957 times
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Billings is not really in the energy field for employment. Hundreds of miles away. Some offices here, but that is about it.

Billings is a normal middle class city of 100,000 people. Billings has about a just under 4% unemployment rate at this time. As mentioned about $100,000 for 10 acres with no improvements and up.
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