Throughout the world, mining operations offer employment to countless people with various credentials, educational histories, and training. Mine work can be exceptionally dangerous, but also very rewarding: the pay for many mining positions can be high, and the work can be interesting. A miner will often need to work long hours, and the work can be physically exhausting; in some cases, the mine worker may need to travel often to accomplish his or her job responsibilities. Modern mining techniques often involve trained professionals with post-secondary education credentials, which is different from historic mining positions, in which most miners were relatively uneducated.
The highest paying mine work positions will require a job candidate to earn a college degree. Engineering, geology, ecology, and other sciences are the most common degree choices for job candidates wishing to enter the mining field. This means, of course, that the student will need to invest a significant amount of time and money into earning a college degree. This may not be possible for all job candidates, which can limit a candidate's ability to obtain the best paying jobs. It is possible, however, to obtain higher paying positions by taking part in job training, with or without a specific level of formal education.
Perhaps the most significant disadvantage of mine work is the dangerous nature of the work. Operating in mines poses inherent risks, especially since it may be necessary to work in confined spaces. Much of the mining done in modern mines can be done with machines, but it is still often necessary for human workers to enter dangerous areas within a mine to extract various materials. Explosive materials are also commonly used, thereby presenting yet another danger to the well-being of mine workers. Every worker must be trained how to execute mine work safely and effectively before operating any machinery or explosives.
The living conditions at a mine camp can vary. Sometimes mining companies will set up mine camps or give miners stipends for living in local towns. These mine camps can include comfortable amenities, or they may be simple living arrangements that are fairly rustic. Miners will spend a significant amount of time in these settings, which can be difficult; the miner may end up spending a significant amount of time away from his or her family as well, as miners may travel to various mines to find work throughout the year.