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Service Rig Personnel

Oil and gas well service rig personnel perform general labourer duties on service rigs and operate specialized equipment to service, complete and abandon wells.

  • Avg. Salary $75,145.00
  • Avg. Wage $36.52
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 4,500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Driller, Oil and Gas Well Service Rig Personnel, Roughneck

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: Oil and Gas Well Drilling Workers (8412.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Oil and Gas Well Drilling Workers and Services Operators (I142) 
  • 2011 NOC: Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators (8412) 
  • 2016 NOC: Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators (8412) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Service Rig Personnel is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Oil and Gas Well Drilling Workers

Interest in controlling and maintaining drilling mud systems and pumps during drilling and mixing of mud chemicals and additives; and in operating and maintaining diesel motors, transmissions and other mechanical equipment


Interest in compiling information to record mud flows and volumes and to take samples; and in assisting in setting up, taking down and transporting rigs


Interest in speaking with floor hands and labourers to supervise their activities

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 Dec 16, 2016

Service rig personnel include floorhands, derrickhands and service rig operators. In general, their work involves:

  • lowering and raising equipment to pull up broken tubing, casing and pump rods
  • lowering and raising testing instruments or special servicing tools such as fishing tools or paraffin scraping devices
  • driving service rig equipment in convoy with other service rig vehicles from one well location to another.

Floorhands spend a lot of time working on the rig floor. There often are two floorhands on a service rig crew. In general, floorhands:

  • operate the elevator and tongs
  • assist other members of the service crew as needed
  • clean and maintain equipment
  • perform housekeeping duties (keep the lease area tidy, scrub or paint around the rig).

Derrickhands work high above the rig floor on a platform called a tubing board. From there, they:

  • guide lengths of tubing, instruments and tools as they are being raised from or lowered into the well
  • steady items while they are being connected or disconnected.

Derrickhands also: 

  • inspect the derrick before it is raised or lowered
  • assist operators (see below)
  • help train new and junior crew members.

Service rig operators (also known as drillers) ensure that crews do their jobs safely and efficiently. They report directly to service rig managers and are responsible for the crew when the rig manager is not present. In general, service rig operators:

  • operate hoisting equipment control panels
  • monitor the progress of operations
  • keep records 
  • train crew members
  • introduce new procedures that may help the crew to work more safely and effectively.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Working conditions vary depending on rig locations and weather conditions. Service rig personnel work outdoors, often year round in remote locations, exposed to extremes in weather as well as to the dirt, dust, noise and fumes common around rigs.

Hours of work and the number of crews involved depend on well site location and the types of service required. Service rig crews usually work 12 hour day shifts which include commuting time to and from work. On the rare occasion that the rig is required in a remote location, crews operate out of a camp or stay at a nearby hotel and work rotating 12 hour shifts to keep the rig running 24 hours a day.

The work is physically demanding and may involve lifting items that weigh over 20 kilograms. Workplace hazards include working on slippery rig floors, working near or with heavy tools, moving machinery and exposure to chemical substances (such as paint, motor oil and drilling mixture substances). Service rig crew members must follow standard safety practices and participate in safety meetings and emergency procedure drills.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Service rig personnel need the following characteristics:

  • physical strength, stamina and agility
  • emotional stamina
  • an interest in working outdoors and in remote areas
  • the ability to work quickly, think ahead to the next procedure and respond appropriately in emergency situations 
  • the ability to get along well with co-workers.

They should enjoy having clear rules and guidelines for their work, working with equipment and machinery, and working in a team environment.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Service rig personnel acquire the skills and knowledge they need by learning on the job and taking courses. High school graduation is not required for employment as a floorhand but may be an asset for further advancement. Some service rig contractors require their employees to participate in the Enform - CAODC Service Rig Competency Program.

Employers require applicants to:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have an unrestricted Class 5 driver's license
  • hold a first aid certificate
  • hold first line blowout prevention certification
  • hold an H2S Alive certificate (specialized hydrogen sulfide training for rig crews).

The following additional certification also is required for service rig workers in Alberta but may be provided by employers through in-house training:

  • Petroleum Safety Training (PST) or equivalent
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
  • Fall Arrest training
  • Electronic General Safety Orientation (eGSO).

Employers will provide a safety orientation program and industry-specific commercial vehicle driver training. Some service rig personnel need a Special Oil Well Operator Certificate for working with boilers. 

Enform in Calgary and Nisku (near Edmonton) is the oil and gas industry's safety association and provides training for drilling and service rig crews. 

Related Education

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

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Service rig personnel are employed by oil and gas well service contractors. Some service rigs operate year round but employment often is seasonal.

The most important requirements for advancement are on-the-job training, experience and the ability to learn new things quickly. Floorhands may advance to derrickhand and service rig operator positions, or they may move into well service equipment operator positions. A conscientious, hard working individual who has good leadership skills can advance to a rig manager position relatively quickly.

Not everyone is capable of becoming a good derrickhand. Individuals who do not feel comfortable working in high places do not usually move into this position. However, those wishing to advance to senior positions must have a good understanding of the derrickhand's duties.

Service rig personnel are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 8412: Oil and gas well drilling workers and services operators. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction (PDF) industry.

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

  • time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the I142: Oil and Gas Well Drilling Workers and Services Operators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.6% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 37 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) has published the following recommended wages for service rig crews October 2013:

  • Floorhands: $27.30 an hour plus daily subsistence
  • Derrickhands: $30.00 an hour pus daily subsistence
  • Operators: $34.00 an hour plus daily subsistence
  • $12.00 an hour for travel time for all three crews.
Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators

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 $15.00 $50.51 $31.82 $30.01
Overall $20.95 $55.00 $36.52 $36.00
Top $26.00 $75.96 $43.02 $41.50

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
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
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 Dec 16, 2016

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) website:

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) employment information websites: and

Enform website:

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 25, 2015. 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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