Career Profile: Water Well Driller

Career Profile: Water Well Driller

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Everyone needs water for all kinds of purposes, such as drinking, taking showers, washing clothes, and watering plants. People who live in cities usually get their water from a central system that takes water from a lake or river, purifies it, and sends it through pipes to homes and businesses,. When those systems are unavailable or not working properly, people get their water from wells; that’s when water well drillers can help.

The first step in drilling a well is to look for the best place to find water. Some areas might be too rocky, or the soil might not be right, or the water level might be too low. Water well drillers need to know the most likely places to find enough clean water and to do tests to find out whether or not the location is good for a well.

After finding the right spot, water well drillers use large machines to drill the well and install pumps and other equipment to help draw the water out of the well. This step can take a lot of knowledge and possibly some physical strength if the drillers have to move heavy equipment around. In remote areas where many machines are unavailable, the drillers might even need the strength to do some digging with hand-held tools like shovels.

No special education is necessary to become a water well driller, although it helps to know about soil, rock, and other environmental factors. Most people in this trade learn on the job through apprenticeships, working together with experienced drillers.

However, it can be helpful to take courses in equipment maintenance or environmental topics to gain a better understanding of the job. Some knowledge of accounting is also useful for estimating costs for customers and keeping track of expenses. Many water well drillers are self-employed, and they might need to learn the basics of running a small business and of supervising other people on the job.

The way that water well drillers work changes with new technology and different environmental conditions, but the basic need for water means that there will always be a need for this trade. However, if people in this field can transfer their skills to a similar field, such as oil and gas extraction, that will help them to find work to keep them going throughout the year.

Salaries for water well drillers can be high, especially after they gain some experience. Generally, people in this trade start at about $20 per hour and they can get to $45 per hour with experience. Many drillers work fairly long hours each week, and they have to be prepared for all temperatures but also be willing to cancel work in case of bad weather.

If you decide to become a water well driller, you will be able to earn a good living by helping people find something that can sustain an entire community.


Alberta Learning Information Service. “Water Well Driller.”


Careers.org. “Career Occupational Profile for: Water Well Driller.”


Industry Training Authority. “Water Well Driller.” http://www.itabc.ca/program/water-well-driller.

Payscale.com. “Driller Salary (Canada).”


Leave a comment!