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Water Well Driller Job Description, Career as a Water Well Driller, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

income drillers drilling rig equipment

Education and Training: High school plus training

Salary: Median—$33,570 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Water well drillers sink wells into the earth to tap natural water supplies. They drill agricultural wells for irrigation, commercial or industrial wells, and wells for homes that are not served by municipal water systems. They keep records of wells drilled and, in many states, report their work to government officials.

Usually drillers hire a crew consisting of well driller helpers, pump service rig operators, and pump service rig helpers. They set up a truck-mounted derrick or rig with the drill and other required equipment. Once the drilling rig is set up and working, the drillers continue to monitor the operation.

As the well shaft goes into the ground, the drillers line the shaft with steel or plastic pipe to prevent the ground from caving in and to keep out water that may be polluted. The drillers fill the shaft with fluid to keep the bit cool. They may adjust the pressure or impact of the drilling rig and change the bit as it penetrates different layers of the earth. The well drillers or their helpers may splice worn or broken cable and use welding and cutting equipment to do repairs. Sometimes they use special fishing or retrieval tools to recover broken or lost drill bits and pieces of pipe.

When they drill the well, they install a pump designed for the depth, diameter, and capacity of the well. They sterilize the entire system to prevent the growth of bacteria. Finally, they start the pump to bring water up through the system.

Water well drillers do not always work on new wells. They may set up a rig to repair or restore wells that have stopped producing. They may also plug or cap deteriorated wells to prevent contamination of the groundwater.

Education and Training Requirements

A high school diploma or its equivalent is required. High school courses such as geology, chemistry, and physics will explain rock formations, minerals, and the properties of water. Shop classes will provide a background in running and maintaining machines and small tools. Algebra, trigonometry, and English are also important.

After high school, an apprenticeship with a certified water well driller is recommended. Apprenticeships include classroom study and on-the-job training and last from two to four years, depending on the state. After completing an apprenticeship, a trainee becomes eligible to take a state certification test.

Several two-year colleges offer well drilling technology programs with courses in geology, mathematics, and inorganic chemistry. Techniques for finding good-quality water, methods of drilling, and equipment operation are explained. Other classes cover equipment maintenance and repair, setting specifications, inspection and quality control, and record keeping and accounting.

Getting the Job

In many states, water well drillers have to be certified by passing a written exam. Many states also require that a water well driller serve an apprenticeship before being certified. In addition, a voluntary certification program is sponsored by the National Ground Water Association. That certification can be helpful in getting a job.

Prospective apprentices will find employers listed in the Yellow Pages under "Water Well Drilling and Service" and "Drilling and Boring Contractors." Other sources of job information are drilling-rig manufacturers, geological consulting firms, newspaper classified ads, Internet job banks, and state and local employment offices. Technical school graduates can check with the placement offices of their schools.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Water well drillers are already at the top of their craft. Most work for drilling contractors, and others may work as consultants, sales representatives, or service technicians for equipment manufacturers. They may also work for state or federal agencies concerned with the use and control of water resources. After some years of experience, they may set up their own drilling businesses.

Employment for water well drillers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all jobs through 2014. As with most jobs in construction, employment mainly depends on general economic conditions. However, there will always be a demand for drillers because an increasing population always needs more water. Groundwater supplies must also be found to replace surface water supplies that are often polluted and too expensive to clean up.

Working Conditions

Water well drillers perform hard physical labor in all kinds of weather. They stoop, squat, and crawl to do their work. They often work on narrow, slippery surfaces. They lift heavy equipment. They may suffer muscle strains, bruises, and cuts from handling the material and equipment associated with the job. Noise and vibration may require the use of ear plugs and other safety devices.

The number of working hours in a week depends on the completion dates. Usually water well drillers work about fifty hours per week. The hours may be irregular because of emergencies.

Where to Go for More Information

National Ground Water Association
601 Dempsey Rd.
Westerville, OH 43081-8978
(800) 551-7379

Groundwater Management Districts Association
P.O. Box 905
Colby, KS 67701
(913) 462-3915

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Society
John W. Powell Federal Bldg.
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr.
Reston, VA 20192
(888) 275-8747

Water Systems Council
1101 Thirtieth St. NW, Ste. 500
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 625-4387

Earnings and Benefits

The median income of water well drillers in 2004 was $33,570 per year. Benefits may include health plans, pensions, and paid vacations.

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over 6 years ago

I am Bedasto from Tanzania(Dar es Salaam).I apply as adriller to your company.I have been working in ministry of water for 3 years as Hydrogeology Technician.I am interrested to work with your company.I hope you will consider me.

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over 6 years ago


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over 7 years ago

Dear Sir,
I am Adil Aftab from Pakistan i am apply for water well driller

Adil Aftab
Water Well Driller

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about 3 years ago

i am black in coloure and tall and iwork 10 years in the fild i am also driver mechanic i have my certificate thak you

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over 3 years ago

Ref: Water Well Driller
I am high qualified water well drilling expert currently seeking an employment opportunity with in successful and reputable company. I am writing for your company of my outline my skill and experience which I trust you will find of interest.
I have over 18 years experience in the water well drilling industry. I am operate have mechanical machinery Percussion and rotary rigs.
Carried out preventive maintenance task on regular basis.
I am British National. I would be prepared to travel nation and international wide and have excellent language skills being multi lingual speaking: ENGLISH,JAPANESE, URDU, and Pusho.
Please contact me on my mobile or e-mail:
my mobile Tel phone :0044-7802844573
kind regard
Malik Amjad AFRIDI

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almost 5 years ago

hello, i found the job,thanks !

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over 4 years ago

hi sir you have driller job in your company thanks

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over 5 years ago

i am interested

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about 6 years ago

Im michael metante,im already experince of doing water driller for 11 years.For now im working at provincail government of apllying for any vacant position regarding of my experience. And also i can drive of anything even truck and heavy equipment.

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over 6 years ago

Dear Sir/Madam

I have 35 years of total experience in Central ground Water Board, Ministry of Water Resources (Govt. of India) as Exploration Geophysicist conducting Geophysical Investigation i.e. Geophysical Profiling and Soundings and Well Logging of Boreholes. I was deputed by Govt. of India for more than five years in ERITREA (North-East Africa) and Lesotho (Southern Africa) under special program of F.A.O. of the United Nations, three years on deputation in HSMITC (Govt. of Haryana) & two years in Geotechnical Division of Rail India Technical & Economical Division (RITES) in the field of surface water & ground water exploration , developments & management for irrigation and drinking purposes with specialization in

DUGWELLS & HAND PUMPS to avoid contamination of polluted
water with potable drinking water and thus to avoid water borne

(b) Community based low cost small scale irrigation projects on
surface & ground water using non-conventional energy source to
minimize the total cost of the schemes.

My professional experience includes more than 5 years in AFRICA--

1. Three years in ERITREA (North East Africa) as Member Planning (Irrigation).
2. More than two years in LESOTHO (Southern Africa) as Expert (Irrigation)

under Special Programme on Food Security (S.P.F.S.) for Food Deficit Countries known as South-South Co operation Programme of Food & Agriculture Organisations (FAO) of the United Nations.

With kind regards

Kuldeep Kumar

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almost 7 years ago


This is uppal from Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emriates.I am working in water well drilling Industry from last 36 year's in different position like Driller, Drilling supervisor, Drilling Engineer.Having a 32year's of Gulf experience,from 2003 upto now(Jan 2012) working in Abu Dhabi oil field on Cathodic Protaction Projects and completed till date almost 3000 CP wells in different oil&Gas field's and as well as in the Gas Plants and having a vast experience in HSE.Also a winer of three safety awards in different project in oil&gas field.

Right now looking for a job in your company.

Awating for your reply in this regard.


uppal qaiser pervaiz

Abu Dhabi Oil & Gas field

United Arab Emriates

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about 7 years ago

Dear Sir / Madam,

Good day. I am Agapito Hilario from Philippines applying as a Driller Supervisor in your company. I already send my CV on your email add at Hope for your response