Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining
SOC: 47-5013.00


Operate equipment to increase oil flow from producing wells or to remove stuck pipe, casing, tools, or other obstructions from drilling wells. May also perform similar services in mining exploration operations. Includes fishing-tool technicians.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
64,900 employed

Projected (2024):
69,600 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:

  • Coiled Tubing Operator
  • Coiled Tubing Supervisor
  • Fisherman
  • Fishing Tool Operator
  • Fishing Tool Supervisor
  • Oil and Gas Field Technician
  • Oil and Shale and Tar Processing Technician
  • Oil Processing Technician
  • Oil Well Fishing Tool Technician
  • Oil Well Fishing-Tool Technician
  • Oil Well Service Operator
  • Oil Well Service Unit Operator
  • Operator
  • Pulling Unit Operator
  • Reverse Unit Operator
  • Reverse Unit Operator-Fisherman
  • Rig Operator
  • Service Operator
  • Service Rig Operator
  • Service Unit Operator
  • Shale Processing Technician
  • Spray Rig Operator
  • Swabber
  • Tar Processing Technician
  • Tool Pusher
  • Well Cleaner
  • Well Service Pump Equipment Operator
  • Well Services Operator
  • Well Servicing Rig Operator
  • Wireline Operator
  • Wireline Supervisor
  • Work Over Rig Operator

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

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • 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
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • History and Archeology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Confer with others to gather information regarding pipe or tool sizes or borehole conditions in wells.
  • Drive truck-mounted units to well sites.
  • Install pressure-control devices onto wellheads.
  • Thread cables through derrick pulleys, using hand tools.
  • Operate pumps that circulate water, oil, or other fluids through wells to remove sand or other materials obstructing the free flow of oil.
  • Close and seal wells no longer in use.
  • Operate controls that raise derricks or level rigs.
  • Direct drilling crews performing activities such as assembling and connecting pipe, applying weights to drill pipes, or drilling around lodged obstacles.
  • Perforate well casings or sidewalls of boreholes with explosive charges.
  • Prepare reports of services rendered, tools used, or time required, for billing purposes.
  • Operate specialized equipment to remove obstructions by backing-off or severing pipes by chemical or explosive action.
  • Select fishing methods or tools for removing obstacles such as liners, broken casing, screens, or drill pipe.
  • Examine unserviceable wells to determine actions to be taken to improve well conditions.
  • Insert detection instruments into wells with obstructions.
  • Interpret instrument readings to ascertain the depth of obstruction.
  • Monitor sound wave generating or detecting mechanisms to determine well fluid levels.
  • Apply green technologies or techniques such as the use of coiled tubing, slim-hole drilling, horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, or gas lift systems.
  • Maintain and perform safety inspections on equipment and tools.
  • Listen to engines, rotary chains, or other equipment to detect faulty operations or unusual well conditions.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Adjustable hand wrenches
  • Cement mixers
  • Cement pumps
  • Channel lock pliers
  • Chemical casing cutters
  • Chemical pipe cutters
  • Claw hammers
  • Continuous sucker rods
  • Depth gauges
  • Desktop computers
  • Diesel motors
  • Downhole object retrieval equipment
  • Electric downhole pumps
  • Free point tools
  • Handheld data loggers
  • Hex wrenches
  • Hoisting equipment
  • Hydraulic hoisting equipment
  • Hydraulic pumping systems
  • Jet casing cutters
  • Jet pipe cutters
  • Laptop computers
  • Mallets
  • Mud pumps
  • Personal computers
  • Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Pipe elevators
  • Pipe slips
  • Pipe tongs
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Power drills
  • Pressure control devices
  • Pressure indicators
  • Programmable logic controllers PLC
  • Protective ear muffs
  • Ratchet sets
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Slickline severance tools
  • Sonar equipment
  • Steel measuring tapes
  • Straight screwdrivers
  • Strain gauges
  • Stuck pipe tools
  • Torpedo levels
  • Truck-mounted derricks
  • Utility knives
  • Well tubing perforation guns
  • Wellhead drives
  • Wire cutters
  • Computerized maintenance management system CMMS software
  • Data logger software
  • Inventory tracking software
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
  • Time and attendance software

  • construction and extraction

    industry stats

    SOC: 47-0000

    Total Employed: 5,477,820

    Average Annual Salary: $47,580