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Drilling and Service Rig Manager

Oil and gas well drilling and service rig managers supervise large crews of workers on drilling and service rigs.

  • Avg. Salary $90,987.00
  • Avg. Wage $45.41
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 15,200
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Service Rig Manager, Service Rig Manager, Toolpusher

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service (8222) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service (I122) 
  • 2011 NOC: Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling and services (8222) 
  • 2016 NOC: Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling and services (8222) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Drilling and Service Rig Manager is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service

Interest in supervising the activities of workers who drill for oil and gas, operate service rigs and provide oil and gas well services; and in requisitioning materials and supplies


Interest in co-ordinating and scheduling the activities of workers; and in resolving work problems


Interest in understanding the functioning of equipment and machinery used in oil and gas drilling and services; may set up machines and equipment

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2019

Drilling and service rig managers supervise rig operations. They are responsible for safety on site. They act as the senior onsite representatives for rig contractors.

In general, rig managers:

  • Manage the work of rig crews with a co-ordinator and field supervisor (a drilling rig has two or three crews)
  • Make sure the entire drilling or well-servicing operation runs smoothly, safely, and efficiently
  • Make sure operations comply with company policies and government regulations
  • Prepare areas for drilling (on drilling rigs)
  • Co-ordinate the crew to drive the rig equipment to proper locations (on service rigs)
  • Organize the setup and take-down of rigs
  • Make sure emergency evacuation and medical procedures are posted and understood
  • Make sure workers practice emergency drills and understand emergency plans
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Rig managers work in all types of weather. Drilling and service rigs may run year-round, but most rig activity takes place in winter. Summer activity on service rigs is slower.

Work hours, job location, and travel requirements vary, depending on the company and type of job. Larger operations often employ two drilling rig managers. They split the day into 12-hour shifts. They are always on call and live at the rig site.

A rig manager who is solely in charge must be at the site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This can go on for periods no less than 3 weeks at a time.

In Alberta, oil and gas wells may be in remote areas or near small communities. Most service rig crews travel daily. They usually travel in a 160-kilometre radius of the service rig contractor’s central location. Drilling rig crews move with the rig to new locations. This can mean being away from home for long periods.

Rig managers often work long hours. They may need to be on call.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Rig managers need:

  • A safety-conscious attitude
  • The ability to work quickly
  • The ability to think ahead to the next procedure
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • The ability to plan and direct the work of others

They should enjoy solving problems. They should like working with tools, instruments, and machinery. They should be comfortable co-ordinating the work of others. They should enjoy training and teaching people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Rig managers need a valid driver’s licence with air brake endorsements on service rigs. They also need the following certificates. These may be earned through in-house training:

  • Petroleum Safety Training (PST)
  • Standard First Aid and CPR (2-day course)
  • Fall Protection and Rig Rescue
  • H2S Alive (specialized hydrogen sulfide training for rig crews)
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
  • Waste Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS)
  • Second Line Well Control (drilling rig managers), Well Service Well Control (service rig managers), or equivalent training from the International Well Control Forum (IWCF) and International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC)
  • Special Oilfield Boilers
  • Safety Management and Regulatory Awareness for Wellsite Supervision
  • Electronic General Safety Orientation (eGSO)
  • Detection and Control of Flammable Substances
  • Well Service Blowout Prevention

Energy Safety Canada (in Calgary and in Nisku, near Edmonton) is the oil and gas industry’s safety association. It provides training for those who work on drilling and service rigs.

Rig managers should also know about the environmental issues related to oil and gas well drilling.

Drilling rig managers may have earned a Rig Technician journeyperson certificate while working in a rig crew role. Rig Technician journeyman certification is not a legal requirement for this occupation. However, rig managers are encouraged to apply for it. For more information, see the Rig Technician occupational profile.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Drilling rig managers begin as leasehands or floorhands. They may work as motorhands, derrickhands, and drillers before becoming rig managers. Service rig managers begin as floorhands and work as derrickhands and operators or drillers before becoming rig managers. For more information, see the Drilling Rig Leasehand and Floorhand, Service Rig Personnel and Rig Technician occupational profiles.

Rig managers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 8222: Oil and gas drilling and service supervisors. In Alberta, 82% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

Over 14,600 Albertans are employed in the Supervisors, oil and gas drilling and service occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.9% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 131 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As drilling and service rig managers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for drilling and service rig managers.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

In Alberta, the I122: Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.9% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 131 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Drilling rig managers typically are paid a day rate. Depending on location and hours of service, service rig managers may be paid a day rate or an hourly rate. Service rig managers earn somewhat less. This is because they are not required to travel and work away from home as drilling rig managers do.

Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling and services

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $21.00 $68.18 $36.41 $31.47
Overall $22.28 $102.56 $45.41 $37.73
Top $24.92 $115.00 $51.82 $43.27

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Oil & Gas Extraction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC) website:

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) website:

Energy Safety Canada website:

Petroleum Human Resources (PHR) Careers in Oil & Gas (COG) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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