Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas
SOC: 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.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
20,000 employed

Projected (2024):
22,700 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:

  • Auger Operator
  • Blast Hole Driller
  • Blaster
  • Blasting Production Technician
  • Boring Machine Operator
  • Churn Drill Operator
  • Churn Driller
  • Coal Mine Bore Hole Drill Operator
  • Construction Driller
  • Core Drill Operator
  • Core Driller
  • Core Sampler
  • Deep Well Contractor
  • Diamond Driller
  • Directional Driller
  • Drill Hand
  • Drill Operator
  • Drill Runner
  • Driller
  • Drilling Machine Operator
  • Drilling Machine Runner
  • Earth Auger Operator
  • Earth Boring Machine Operator
  • Electric Drill Operator
  • Environmental Sampler
  • Explosive Bore Hole Driller
  • Foundation Drill Operator
  • Geotechnical Operating Engineer
  • Geothermal Operating Engineer
  • Ground Water Contractor
  • Hard Rock Drill Operator
  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Highwall Drill Operator
  • Hole Digger Operator
  • Horizontal Drill Operator
  • Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operator
  • Hydraulic Rock Drill Operator
  • Jumper
  • Machine Driller
  • Mine Equipment Operator
  • Operating Engineer
  • Overburden Drill Operator
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Post Hole Digging Machine Operator
  • Raise Driller
  • Rock Drill Operator
  • Shot Core Drill Operator
  • Soil Sampler
  • Stoper
  • Test Borer
  • Test Driller
  • Tunneling Machine Operator
  • Wagon Drill Operator
  • Wagon Driller
  • Wagoner
  • Wash Driller
  • Water Well Driller
  • Well Digger
  • Well Drill Operator
  • Well Driller
  • Well Driller Helper
  • Well Testing 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

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

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Adjustable combination wrenches
  • Air rotary drills
  • Alternating current AC generators
  • Backhoe-equipped tractors
  • Bobcats
  • Cable tool drills
  • Chain slings
  • Core drill rigs
  • Desanders
  • Digital video cameras
  • Downhole hammers
  • Downhole well testing equipment
  • Drill pipe tongs
  • Drilling collars
  • Earth drilling machines
  • Field forklifts
  • Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Grout pumps
  • Handheld remote thermometers
  • Laptop computers
  • Lube guns
  • Marsh funnels
  • Mud balances
  • Mud guns
  • Mud mixers
  • Mud pumping equipment
  • Mud rotary drills
  • Personal computers
  • Pipe retrieval fishing tools
  • Portable air compressors
  • Power augers
  • Precision levels
  • Rotary drilling tools
  • Shale shakers
  • Submerged arc welding tools
  • Tablet computers
  • Trenchers
  • Truck mounted cranes
  • Truck-mounted water pumps
  • Water level meters
  • Water logging tools
  • Water monitoring samplers
  • Water sampling bailers
  • Water test kits
  • Work trucks
  • Data entry software
  • Global positioning system GPS software
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Word

  • construction and extraction

    industry stats

    SOC: 47-0000

    Total Employed: 5,477,820

    Average Annual Salary: $47,580