How do I Become a Drilling Supervisor?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2018
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A drilling supervisor is a man or woman who oversees operations at a drill site. He or she may arrange for materials and equipment to be delivered, figure out budgets, determine how many workers are needed for a job, set deadlines, and inspect the quality of work. In order to become a drilling supervisor, an individual must possess a number of important skills and character traits, such as the ability to communicate clearly, make important decisions, and solve problems. Most employers require drilling supervisors to obtain associate or bachelor's degrees in engineering technology and gain experience in other drilling jobs. In addition, professional licensing and certification is required to become a drilling supervisor in some industries.

Anyone who wants to become a drilling supervisor should develop strong interpersonal, computer, and problem-solving skills to prepare for the job. Drilling supervisors communicate with employees, government agency representatives, engineers, and company executives on a regular basis. Written communication skills and computer proficiency are essential, as supervisors often record information about progress and needs, analyze financial situations, send emails to other professionals, and manage employee payrolls and schedules. If a problem or dispute occurs at a drilling site, the supervisor must make quick decisions, implement changes, and discipline workers when necessary.


A college education and drilling experience are usually necessary to become a drilling supervisor. Prospective supervisors usually pursue two-year associate degrees or four-year bachelor's degrees in engineering technology. A student might enroll in a general engineering program or specialize in mechanical, industrial, or civil engineering. Upon completion of a program, individuals often obtain entry-level positions in a drilling company, either as laborers or assistants to established drilling supervisors. After gaining experience in the field and proving their abilities to employers, workers may be able to advance to supervisory positions.

Many drilling jobs require an individual to obtain special licensing or certification from an international or national organization before he or she is able to become a drilling supervisor. A candidate may need to enroll in specialized training programs or take written licensing exams to gain special credentials. Organizations such as the International Association of Drilling Contractors and the International Well Control Forum offer certification to individuals who hope to obtain oil well drilling supervisor jobs. A person seeking a position with an offshore drilling company may need to complete additional training and tests, including Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus certification programs. With the appropriate training, education, and credentials, individuals are able to enjoy important, satisfying drilling jobs.


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Post 4

@Charred - Yes, I think they feel the pressure from all around; they have their own internal pressures, like getting the project done on time and under budget.

In addition they have to make sure that they meet government regulations. On top of that, depending on where they’re drilling, they may face the ire of the public or other people who are impatient with the project itself, or with the time it takes to complete it.

Post 3

I think the drilling supervisor carries a heavy weight of responsibility on their shoulders. I can’t tell you in our area the number of times that I’ve seen drilling projects delayed for one reason or another.

Perhaps it had to do with regulations or permits or something like that. Drilling is not something you do in isolation, so I imagine the drilling supervisor would need a certain amount of finesse in dealing with people, and would have to stay up on government regulations.

It’s disheartening to see a drilling project that is started and then stopped for a period of time.

Post 2

@KaBoom - I'm not surprised that drilling supervisors are expected to have decent credentials. I read in an article awhile back that drilling is a pretty dangerous profession. If you mess up, a lot of people could get hurt. Not to mention the environmental impact a mistake could have. Scary.

Still, with that being said, some drilling supervisors make around 100K per year. So I can see why some people are tempted to go into this field.

Post 1

I had no idea so many credentials were need to be a drilling supervisor! I never imagined you would need to have an engineering background. I always considered drilling to be more of a construction type job.

Still, I'm glad most businesses require experience before just putting people in charge of a drilling operation. Even though I thought drilling was more construction than engineering, I still wasn't under the illusion it was an easy job!

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