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Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas
SOC Code: 47-5021.00

Operate a variety of drills such as rotary, churn, and pneumatic to tap sub-surface water and salt deposits, to remove core samples during mineral exploration or soil testing, and to facilitate the use of explosives in mining or construction. May use explosives. Includes horizontal and earth boring machine operators.

Sample of reported job titles: Blast Hole Driller, Diamond Driller, Drill Operator, Driller, Hard Rock Drill Operator, Highwall Drill Operator, Rock Drill Operator, Underground Drill Operator, Water Well Driller, Well Driller

Tasks

  • Operate controls to stabilize machines and to position and align drills.
  • Start, stop, and control drilling speed of machines and insertion of casings into holes.
  • Regulate air pressure, rotary speed, and downward pressure, according to the type of rock or concrete being drilled.
  • Select and attach drill bits and drill rods, adding more rods as hole depths increase, and changing drill bits as needed.
  • Drive or guide truck-mounted equipment into position, level and stabilize rigs, and extend telescoping derricks.
  • Operate machines to flush earth cuttings or to blow dust from holes.
  • Monitor drilling operations, checking gauges and listening to equipment to assess drilling conditions and to determine the need to adjust drilling or alter equipment.
  • Verify depths and alignments of boring positions.
  • Perform routine maintenance and upgrade work on machines and equipment, such as replacing parts, building up drill bits, and lubricating machinery.
  • Select the appropriate drill for the job, using knowledge of rock or soil conditions.
  • Document geological formations encountered during work.
  • Drive trucks, tractors, or truck-mounted drills to and from work sites.
  • Assemble and position machines, augers, casing pipes, and other equipment, using hand and power tools.
  • Record drilling progress and geological data.
  • Retrieve lost equipment from bore holes, using retrieval tools and equipment.
  • Fabricate well casings.
  • Pour water into wells, or pump water or slush into wells to cool drill bits and to remove drillings.
  • Create and lay out designs for drill and blast patterns.
  • Place and install screens, casings, pumps, and other well fixtures to develop wells.
  • Operate water-well drilling rigs and other equipment to drill, bore, and dig for water wells or for environmental assessment purposes.
  • Review client requirements and proposed locations for drilling operations to determine feasibility, and to determine cost estimates.
  • Drill or bore holes in rock for blasting, grouting, anchoring, or building foundations.
  • Perform pumping tests to assess well performance.
  • Disinfect, reconstruct, and redevelop contaminated wells and water pumping systems, and clean and disinfect new wells in preparation for use.
  • Design well pumping systems.
  • Signal crane operators to move equipment.
  • Withdraw drill rods from holes, and extract core samples.
  • Inspect core samples to determine nature of strata, or take samples to laboratories for analysis.
  • Retract augers to force discharge dirt from holes.
  • Observe electronic graph recorders and flow meters that monitor the water used to flush debris from holes.

Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software - Data entry software
  • Mobile location based services software - Global positioning system GPS software
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Air compressors - Portable air compressors
  • Backhoes - Backhoe-equipped tractors
  • Cargo trucks - Work trucks
  • Combination wrenches - Adjustable combination wrenches
  • Conventional truck cranes - Truck mounted cranes
  • Core drills - Air rotary drills; Core drill rigs
  • Densitometers - Mud balances
  • Depth indicators - Water level meters
  • Diesel generators - Alternating current AC generators
  • Digital camcorders or video cameras - Digital video cameras
  • Downhole fishing poles - Pipe retrieval fishing tools
  • Drill collars - Drilling collars
  • Forklifts - Field forklifts
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver - Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Grease guns - Lube guns
  • Grouting pump - Grout pumps
  • Hammer drills - Downhole hammers
  • Hydraulic rock drills - Cable tool drills; Earth drilling machines
  • Laboratory bailers - Water sampling bailers
  • Levels - Precision levels
  • Logging instruments for water wells - Water logging tools
  • Makeup tongs - Drill pipe tongs
  • Mud mixers - Mud guns
  • Mud pumps - Mud pumping equipment
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Personal computers
  • Plaster or mortar mixers - Mud mixers
  • Remote reading thermometers - Handheld remote thermometers
  • Rotary drills - Mud rotary drills; Rotary drilling tools
  • Sand control screens - Desanders
  • Shale shakers
  • Skid steer loaders - Bobcats
  • Slings - Chain slings
  • Soil core sampling apparatus - Power augers
  • Submerged arc welding machine - Submerged arc welding tools
  • Tablet computers
  • Trenching machines - Trenchers
  • Viscosimeters - Marsh funnels
  • Water analyzers - Water test kits
  • Water pumps - Truck-mounted water pumps
  • Water samplers - Water monitoring samplers
  • Well testing downhole tools - Downhole well testing equipment

Knowledge

  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills

  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Equipment Selection - Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Abilities

  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Depth Perception - The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Interests

  • Interest code: RIC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 84% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 76% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 66% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 71% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 79% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 53% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 40% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Exposed to Whole Body Vibration - 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 39% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Consequence of Error - 52% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 55% responded “Important results.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 44% responded “Every day.”
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment - 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 41% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 34% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 50% responded “Very important.”
  • Telephone - 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting - 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 45% responded “Every day.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment - 39% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 33% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions - 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 34% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 39% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Time Pressure - 25% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
73%High school diploma or equivalent
15%Less than high school diploma
12%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $21.08 hourly, $43,850 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 20,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 2,600

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