How Do I Become a Tool Pusher?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2020
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A tool pusher is a managerial employee who oversees all operations on an oil drilling rig. In order to become a tool pusher, you will need to start at the bottom and work your way up through the various jobs on an oil rig. This means you will generally start out as a roughneck, performing manual labor jobs on an oil rig. This is the first step in a long process that will help you become a tool pusher; above all, you will need to be prepared to spend a significant amount of time away from home, and you will need to stay in peak physical condition.

Once you are hired by an oil drilling company, it is a good idea to do some research into the specific steps you will need to take in order to become a tool pusher. Don't be surprised if the process takes you several years, as you will need to spend a few years in each position in order to get promoted to the next level. Most oil companies hire from within, so it is best to stick with one company for the long term if possible. You will also need to get at least four years of drilling experience before you can become a tool pusher, so be prepared to devote the time and energy to the task.


While you work in the various positions on an oil rig, it is best to develop a good work ethic as well as good relationships with other employees on the rig. Take leadership positions whenever they are offered, and work hard as part of a team to show senior employees you are prepared for career advancement. Remember that you will often need to undergo extensive training for each position you take on an oil rig, and tool pushers are no exception; once you reach that level in the company, you will be expected to undergo training specific to the job.

Once you take such a position, understand that you will be relied upon for added responsibilities and job tasks, which means you may end up working long hours. You will probably end up spending a significant amount of time away from your home and your family, and you may need to fill in for employees on the rig should there be a shortage of manpower. This means you will need to maintain your physical fitness, even though the job of a tool pusher is mostly managerial and not as physically intensive.


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