Career Profile: Earth Drillers, Except...

Career Profile: Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Many people, whether children or adults, enjoy digging in the earth to see what they can find. For some people, digging holes into the ground can be a career. Earth drillers can help to support many other jobs that make life easier and better for people.

In some parts of Canada, earth drillers work mainly with oil and gas companies to make these resources available. However, this job can support many other trades and help to make their work possible. Mining is one example where earth drillers are important. These tradespeople drill the shafts that miners need to find nickel, silver, gold, and many other metals. People in this field can also work for geologists or other scientific researchers, governments, and construction companies.

A high school education or the equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for earth drillers. Taking courses in geology or geography in high school can help, and courses in mathematics and English are useful for making calculations and for reading and understanding instructions. Apprenticeships and technical college courses after high school are good ways of learning the specific techniques of the job.

Some earth drillers do specialized work, such as handling or storing hazardous materials or working with earthquake detection machines, called seismographs. An ability in accounting can be very useful, especially for self-employed earth drillers or people working in small companies. Having a variety of skills can be helpful to ensure that people in this trade can continue working, even in difficult economic times.

Like in many other trades, earth drilling is often a seasonal job, with the bulk of the work taking place between late spring and early fall. However, some earth drilling still needs to happen even in winter, such as repairing broken water pipes. Jobs are easier to find in cities than in towns, although mines, where people search for gold and metals, are also good places to find work. Prospects vary according to the state of the economy. Depending on their location and experience, earth drillers can earn between $20 and $47 per hour, or $44,000 and $105,000 per year.

Operating heavy machinery for earth drilling does not necessarily require much strength, but it requires endurance to work for hours, often in the heat or the cold. Understanding different kinds of soil and rock is useful, and it is important to know the possible dangers of building in various areas. For example, areas near cliffs or riverbanks can be too unstable for many buildings or underground pipes.

Collaborating with others is an important part of this kind of work. In construction projects, earth drillers need to know what kind of structure is planned for the site or what size of pipe is supposed to go under the ground. Normally, builders and engineers do most of the planning, but earth drillers can also contribute their knowledge to help avoid potential problems.

One example where an earth driller’s knowledge could be useful is in understanding how earth settles after it has been dug up. Unless builders take that factor into account, they can sometimes encounter problems with the ground under the building settling unevenly. The most famous example of this issue is the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, which started to tilt soon after it was built in 1173. Earth drillers can help prevent that kind of issue.

Working as an earth driller might not seem very exciting, but it is important for people who work with Canada’s buildings and underground pipes. The job could be right for you.



College Grads. “Earth Drillers (Except Oil and Gas); and Explosives Workers, Ordnance Handling Experts, and Blasters.” https://collegegrad.ca/careers/earth-drillers.

Government of Canada. “Minerals Sector Employment.” https://natural-resources.canada.ca/science-data/science-research/earth-sciences/earth-sciences-resources/earth-sciences-federal-programs/minerals-sector-employment/16739.

Indeed.com. “Earth Drilling Jobs.” https://ca.indeed.com/q-earth-drilling-jobs.html?vjk=fc9175bbc9f2b305.

Pathways to Jobs. “Earth Driller (Except Oil and Gas).” https://pathwaystojobs.ca/career/162/Earth_Driller__Except_Oil_and_Gas.

Payscale Canada. “Average Driller Hourly Pay in Canada.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Driller/Hourly_Rate.

Pruitt, Sara. “Why Does the Leaning Tower of Pisa Lean?” https://www.history.com/news/why-does-the-leaning-tower-of-pisa-lean.

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