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Service Rig Personnel

Oil and gas well service rig personnel perform general labourer duties on service rigs. They also operate specialized equipment needed 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 Mar 31, 2019

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, such as keeping the lease area tidy, and scrubbing or painting 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 raised from or lowered into the well
  • Steady items while they are connected or disconnected

Derrickhands also inspect the derrick before it is raised or lowered, assist operators (see below), and help train new and junior crew members. On a service rig, they operate what is called the rod basket. This is used to store sucker rods, which are pulled from the well. They are also responsible for pumping fluid and maintaining the pump and tank on location.

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 Mar 31, 2019

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

Hours of work and the number of crews 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.

The work is physically demanding and may involve lifting heavy items. Workplace hazards include working on slippery rig floors, working near or with heavy tools, and moving machinery. Workers may be exposed to chemical substances, such as paint, motor oil, and drilling mixtures. Service rig crew members must follow standard safety practices. They must take part in safety meetings and emergency procedure drills.

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

Service rig personnel need:

  • Physical strength, stamina, and agility
  • Emotional stamina
  • Quick thinking
  • Interpersonal skills

They should enjoy having clear rules and guidelines for their work. They should like working with equipment and machinery. They should be at ease working on a team.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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. However, it may be an asset for advancement. Some service rig contractors require their employees to take part in further service rig competency training.

Service rig personnel are required to have an H2S Alive certificate (specialized hydrogen sulfide training for rig crews) from Energy Safety Canada. They can obtain this on the job.

Employers require applicants to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have an unrestricted Class 5 driver’s licence
  • Hold a standard first aid certificate

Service rig workers in Alberta also require:

  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Petroleum safety training or equivalent
  • Transportation of dangerous goods
  • Fall arrest training
  • Electronic general safety orientation

Employers may provide this training in-house.

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

Energy Safety Canada, formerly ENFORM, in Calgary and Nisku (near Edmonton), provides training for drilling and service rig crews. It is the industry’s safety association, but other organizations also offer this training.

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 Mar 31, 2019

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Service rig personnel work for oil and gas well service contractors. Some service rigs operate year-round. However, jobs are often seasonal.

The most important requirements for advancement are on-the-job training, experience, and the ability to learn quickly. Floorhands may advance to derrickhand and service rig operator positions. They may move into positions as well service equipment operators. A conscientious, hard-working individual with leadership skills can advance to a rig manager position quite quickly.

Not everyone can become a good derrickhand. Individuals who are not at ease at heights should not 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 [pdf] in this occupation is 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • 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 Mar 31, 2019

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) published the following recommended wages for service rig crews in October 2018:

  • Floorhands: $25.70 an hour plus daily subsistence
  • Derrickhands: $28.25 an hour pus daily subsistence
  • Operators: $32.00 an hour plus daily subsistence
  • $12.50 an hour for travel time
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 Mar 31, 2019

Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) website:

Careers in Oil and Gas (COG) website, Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Energy Safety Canada:

Energy Safety Canada 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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