Your Drilling Rig Career


The most common pay schedule is every two weeks.

Non-Camp Work. When the rig is operating near a town, crews typically stay in hotels and receive a per diem for food and accommodation.

Work Camps. Work camps offer both room and board, paid for by the company.

Drilling rig employees will usually work overtime, and many contractors will offer comprehensive benefits packages.

Rig Crew & Schedule

Most drilling rig crews have six positions: Rig Manager (Tool Push), Driller, Derrickhand, Motorhand, Floorhand, and Leasehand.

The Rig Manager is the senior supervisor on site, and is in complete charge of the rig.  He is responsible for the rig crews, the equipment and the overall operation.  The Rig Manager's direction and leadership keeps the operation running smoothly.

The Driller monitors and records the progress of the drilling operation and communicates this to the rig manager and the well site supervisor.  He also is responsible to develop a well-trained, reliable and safety-conscious crew.

The Derrickhand assists the Driller with equipment maintenance and looks after the pumps and mud system.  When required, the Derrickhand will climb the derrick (about 25 metres above the rig floor) where he is positioned to guide the pipe into the derrick structure.

The Motorhand looks after the engines and other machinery.  He works on the rig floor with the Floorhands and is involved in the training and supervision of junior crew members.

The Floorhand handles the drill pipe on the rig floor.  Some rigs will have 2 Floorhands.  A Floorhand's responsibilities also include equipment maintenance, mixing mud, and chemicals and assisting other crew members.

The Leasehand performs general labour and maintenance tasks around the rig site, such as helping to dig drainage ditches and to grease equipment.  Some rig crews to not have Leasehands.  On these crews, the entry-level position is Floorhand.

Drilling rigs typically operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week. To do so, most rigs have two or three crews that work 12 hour shifts on schedules offsetting one another. Day and night crews will alternate so each crew has a chance to work days and nights. Most crews will work 14 days straight with a week off in-between “hitches”.

As a new employee, your job will likely involve the tasks below:

  • Driving the crew truck

  • Cleaning of the rig and the surrounding area

  • Assist with “Rig Up” and “Rig Out” (moving the rig)

  • Following all company safety regulations

  • Working on the rig floor and handling drill pipe

  • Assisting other crew members with their tasks

To work on a drilling rig, you must be able to get to and from location. While not mandatory, having reliable transportation is considered an