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Working as a Drilling Rig Operator

A career as a drilling rig operator falls under a more comprehensive job category of rotary drill operators, oil and gas. They set up or operate various drills to remove underground oil and gas or extract core specimens for testing during oil and gas exploration.

To pursue a successful career as a drilling rig operator, you must understand the correct use of drilling and power-producing equipment, the construction of drilling rigs and towers, and the accurate methods of boring and widening holes. The work on the drilling rig requires the ability to assess the equipment's technical condition and carry out necessary repairs.

As a drilling rig operator works in the open air, in the freezing conditions of winter and summer heat, the work presents a considerable physical challenge. So, alongside technical skills, you also require good health; physical endurance and strength; good eyesight; developed coordination and fine motor skills; and prudence and quick reactions.

The average drilling rig operator salary in the United States is $41,312 as of January 29, 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $40,170 and $45,362. Your salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including your education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a drilling rig operator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $22.65 an hour? That's $47,102 a year!

What Does a Drilling Rig Operator Do

There are certain skills that many drilling rig operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, coordination and mechanical skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a drilling rig operator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 26.0% of drilling rig operators included cdl, while 11.4% of resumes included osha, and 7.5% of resumes included weather conditions. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the drilling rig operator job title. But what industry to start with? Most drilling rig operators actually find jobs in the energy and construction industries.

How To Become a Drilling Rig Operator

If you're interested in becoming a drilling rig operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 12.6% of drilling rig operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.0% of drilling rig operators have master's degrees. Even though some drilling rig operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a drilling rig operator. When we researched the most common majors for a drilling rig operator, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on drilling rig operator resumes include bachelor's degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a drilling rig operator. In fact, many drilling rig operator jobs require experience in a role such as driller. Meanwhile, many drilling rig operators also have previous career experience in roles such as welder or assistant manager.

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Average Salary$47,102
Job Growth Rate4%

Drilling Rig Operator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Drilling Rig Operator

Driller
10.6 %
Welder
9.2 %

Top Careers After Drilling Rig Operator

Driller
9.8 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Drilling Rig Operator

Drilling Rig Operators in America make an average salary of $47,102 per year or $23 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $71,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $30,000 per year.
Average Salary
$47,102

Best Paying Cities

0

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Drilling Rig Jobs-Colorado (30952)
Drilling Rig Jobs-Colorado (30952)
Precision Drilling
Precision Drilling
01/25/2021
01/25/2021
$45,91401/25/2021
$45,914
URD Bore Rig Directional Drill Operator
URD Bore Rig Directional Drill Operator
HKA Enterprises
HKA Enterprises
01/08/2021
01/08/2021
$54,26201/08/2021
$54,262
Drilling Rig
Drilling Rig
Precision Drilling
Precision Drilling
12/04/2020
12/04/2020
$45,91412/04/2020
$45,914
Drill Rig Operator, WG (Term-Deu-Ys)
Drill Rig Operator, WG (Term-Deu-Ys)
Geological Survey
Geological Survey
05/21/2020
05/21/2020
$50,21305/21/2020
$50,213
Drill Rig Operator
Drill Rig Operator
Cybercoders
Cybercoders
03/05/2020
03/05/2020
$62,61003/05/2020
$62,610

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Drilling Rig Operator Demographics

Gender

male

92.8 %

female

4.3 %

unknown

2.9 %

Ethnicity

White

72.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

16.0 %

Black or African American

7.7 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Arabic

50.0 %

Spanish

50.0 %
See More Demographics

Drilling Rig Operator Education

Majors

Business
22.7 %

Degrees

High School Diploma

55.0 %

Associate

17.1 %

Bachelors

12.6 %
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Drilling Rig Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 26.0% of drilling rig operators listed cdl on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and coordination are important as well.

How Do Drilling Rig Operator Rate Their Jobs?

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5.0

FiveMay +0000

5.0

Zippia Official LogoFiveMay +0000

What do you like the most about working as Drilling Rig Operator?

I like working with people and operating different types of underground drilling machines Show More

What do you NOT like?

I don't like misunderstanding Show More

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5.0

Five starsMay +0000

5.0

Zippia Official LogoFive starsMay +0000

What do you like the most about working as Drilling Rig Operator?

First of all I love my career as drill rig operator,and the most thing I love is to drill and putting all my mind on drilling Show More

What do you NOT like?

I don't like working without a drilling plan Show More

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Top Drilling Rig Operator Employers

1. Union Drilling
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$57,187
Drilling Rig Operators Hired: 
3+
2. McKinney
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$48,856
Drilling Rig Operators Hired: 
3+
3. Cascade Drilling
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$74,073
Drilling Rig Operators Hired: 
3+
4. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$48,167
Drilling Rig Operators Hired: 
3+
5. CJ America
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$57,438
Drilling Rig Operators Hired: 
2+
6. Key Energy Services
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$61,595
Drilling Rig Operators Hired: 
2+
Updated October 2, 2020