Slickline operators raise and lower downhole tools used in the maintenance of oil and gas wells.
Slickline operators raise and lower downhole tools used in the maintenance of oil and gas wells.
Field Operator (Well Logging and Testing), Wireline Operator
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:
In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.
Interest in controlling the operation of wirelines, unit controls, and equipment and instruments in mobile testing and logging units
Interest in driving well service and wireline trucks to well sites
Interest in compiling information to direct the operations of wireline and unit controls to conduct required procedures and tests; may perform limited data interpretation
To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.
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 for this NOC group 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.
To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.
A Quick Guide
You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.
The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.
The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.
Slickline operators draw their name from the slender, flexible, metal cable used to lower special instruments into oil and gas wells. The length and grade of slickline used depends on the job (for example, the weight of the tools it is raising or lowering) and the depth of the well hole. Slicklines are used for temperature and pressure surveys, downhole completion operations, well optimization and production enhancement. They are connected at one end on the surface to spooled drums on slickline trucks and at the other end to slickline sheaves that direct the slickline down the wellbore.
From the surface, slickline operators:
In Alberta, this is a designated occupation with the following levels:
Precision and accuracy in the direction of slickline operations is extremely important and involves a great deal of skill.
Slickline operators primarily work outdoors and may find themselves on tasks up to 5 metres from the ground. They are sometimes exposed to extremes in weather as well as to the dirt, dust, noise and fumes common around wells. Other times they may be working in heated and air-conditioned operators compartments.
Hours of work vary from one company to another but may include 12-hour rotating shifts with 2 weeks on and 1 week off. Occasionally operators will need to work overnight or be on 24-hour call. When wells are in remote locations, slickline operators may stay in camps or hotels.
The work is physically demanding and may involve lifting items that weigh up to 25 kilograms. Workplace hazards include working on high-pressure sour gas wells, working near or with heavy tools and moving machinery, and exposure to chemical substances such as paint, motor oil and drilling mixture substances and explosives.
Safety is very important in slickline operations, so operators must follow safety practices and participate in safety meetings and emergency procedure drills.
Slickline operators need:
They should enjoy having clear rules and guidelines for their work, working with equipment and machinery, and working in a team environment.
This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 20 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 04, 2021 and May 17, 2022.
Review these skills to learn:
|Personal Suitability: Accurate||17|
|Personal Suitability: Team player||17|
|Personal Suitability: Dependability||16|
|Personal Suitability: Reliability||16|
|Area of Specialization: Oil and gas well drilling and well servicing||13|
|Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication||13|
|Personal Suitability: Judgement||13|
|Ensure safety procedures are followed||12|
|Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication||11|
|Personal Suitability: Client focus||9|
There are no formal requirements for becoming a slickline operator. Employers generally provide in-house training programs for new employees and ongoing courses for experienced employees. Some employers may require employees to obtain certificates such as:
Slickline operator is a designated occupation in Alberta. This means that training and certification are not required but trainees can apply to Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training for an Alberta Occupational Certificate. Certification requires completion of a petroleum competency program managed by Energy Safety Canada. Applicants for slickline operator certification may apply at any level without holding a certificate at a lower level. However, the assessment at each level includes assessment of all the lower levels.
It is possible to gain technical knowledge and advance more quickly by taking courses in different aspects of drilling or service operations. For a list of available training, see Energy Safety Canada or other similar organizations.
The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.
To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.
Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.
Slickline operators raise and lower downhole tools used in the maintenance of oil and gas wells. For more information, see the Trades and Occupations section of Alberta’s Tradesecrets website.
In Alberta, optional government-legislated certification is available for slickline operators.
For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Slickline Operator.
Certified tradespeople who want to build their business skills may obtain an Achievement in Business Competencies (Blue Seal) Certificate from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Slickline operators are employed by:
New employees usually begin as helpers or junior operators and often are hired initially as seasonal workers for the winter months. With experience, they have the opportunity to take on higher levels of responsibility. Advancement depends on the company and the worker’s ability and potential to assume responsibility and supervise operations.
Some employers perform routine drug testing of their employees.
Slickline operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 8232: Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers. In Alberta, 82% 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:
In Alberta, the 8232: Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 332 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.
Slickline operators can earn $60,000 to $180,000 annually, depending on experience (2009 estimates).
In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.
Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.
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.
To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.
Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.
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.
|Wages*||Low (5th percentile)||High (95th percentile)||Average||Median|
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.
Pay brackets for hourly wages
|Oil & Gas Extraction||$81,684|
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca
Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) website: caodc.ca
Energy Safety Canada website: www.energysafetycanada.com
Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) website: www.psac.ca
PetroLMI, Career in Oil and Gas (COG) website: careersinoilandgas.com
Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.
Updated Mar 31, 2020. 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.