Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas
SOC: 47-5012.00


Set up or operate a variety of drills to remove underground oil and gas, or remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
27,700 employed

Projected (2024):
31,200 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Back Up Worker
  • Cable Driller
  • Cable Tool Driller
  • Cable Tool Operator
  • Clean Out Driller
  • Core Drill Operator
  • Core Driller
  • Daylight Driller
  • Directional Driller
  • Drill Foreman
  • Drill Hand
  • Drill Operator
  • Driller
  • Drilling Field Operator
  • Drilling Field Professional
  • Drilling Machine Operator
  • Drilling Rig Operator
  • Drilling Supervisor
  • Floor Hand
  • Motor Man
  • Natural Gas Shothole Driller
  • Oil and Gas Operations Management Professional
  • Oil and Gas Principal
  • Oil and Gas Superintendent
  • Oil Driller
  • Oil Rig Driller
  • Oil Well Cable Tool Driller
  • Oil Well Cable Tool Operator
  • Oil Well Driller
  • Prospecting Driller
  • Relief Driller
  • Rig Operator
  • Rotary Drill Operator
  • Rotary Driller
  • Rotary Rig Engine Operator
  • Shot Hole Driller
  • Spud Driller
  • Tool Pusher
  • Well Driller

  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed


    Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


    These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Train crews, and introduce procedures to make drill work more safe and effective.
  • Observe pressure gauge and move throttles and levers to control the speed of rotary tables, and to regulate pressure of tools at bottoms of boreholes.
  • Count sections of drill rod to determine depths of boreholes.
  • Push levers and brake pedals to control gasoline, diesel, electric, or steam draw works that lower and raise drill pipes and casings in and out of wells.
  • Connect sections of drill pipe, using hand tools and powered wrenches and tongs.
  • Maintain records of footage drilled, location and nature of strata penetrated, materials and tools used, services rendered, and time required.
  • Maintain and adjust machinery to ensure proper performance.
  • Start and examine operation of slush pumps to ensure circulation and consistency of drilling fluid or mud in well.
  • Locate and recover lost or broken bits, casings, and drill pipes from wells, using special tools.
  • Weigh clay, and mix with water and chemicals to make drilling mud.
  • Direct rig crews in drilling and other activities, such as setting up rigs and completing or servicing wells.
  • Monitor progress of drilling operations, and select and change drill bits according to the nature of strata, using hand tools.
  • Repair or replace defective parts of machinery, such as rotary drill rigs, water trucks, air compressors, and pumps, using hand tools.
  • Clean and oil pulleys, blocks, and cables.
  • Bolt together pump and engine parts, and connect tanks and flow lines.
  • Remove core samples during drilling to determine the nature of the strata being drilled.
  • Cap wells with packers, or turn valves, to regulate outflow of oil from wells.
  • Line drilled holes with pipes, and install all necessary hardware, to prepare new wells.
  • Position and prepare truck-mounted derricks at drilling areas specified on field maps.
  • Plug observation wells, and restore sites.
  • Lower and explode charges in boreholes to start flow of oil from wells.
  • Dig holes, set forms, and mix and pour concrete, for foundations of steel or wooden derricks.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Accumulator systems
  • Adapter spools
  • Air hoists
  • Cement pumping equipment
  • Chain driven draw works
  • Choke manifolds
  • Claw hammers
  • Double studded adapters
  • Downhole fishing tools
  • Drill casings
  • Drill pipe tongs
  • Drilling chokes
  • Drilling collars
  • Drilling crosses
  • Drilling draw works
  • Drilling mud mixers
  • Drilling rig rotary tables
  • Drilling spools
  • Drilling swivels
  • Explosives detonating equipment
  • Fall arrest systems
  • Gasoline engines
  • Gear driven draw works
  • Hammer wrenches
  • Hard hats
  • Hydraulic torque wrenches
  • Lifting taglines
  • Mobile radios
  • Mud mixing equipment
  • Multiphase flowmeters
  • Oil drilling pipes
  • Oil rig crown blocks
  • Oil well blowout preventers
  • Personal computers
  • Pipe covering blind flanges
  • Pipe slips
  • Portable air compressors
  • Power wrenches
  • Pressure recorders
  • Protective harnesses
  • Protective safety glasses
  • Reflective vests
  • Rig diesel engines
  • Rotary drilling rigs
  • Silicon controlled rectifiers SCR
  • Slush pumps
  • Spacer spools
  • Stuck pipe tools
  • Traveling blocks
  • Truck mounted derricks
  • Well cementing units
  • Well drill bits
  • Well packers
  • CAPSHER Technology SureTec
  • Drillingsoftware DrillPro
  • Drillingsoftware Tubular Database
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Pason WellView Field Solution
  • Schlumberger E&P software

  • construction and extraction

    industry stats

    SOC: 47-0000

    Total Employed: 5,477,820

    Average Annual Salary: $47,580