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The US is rich in minerals and resources. Although, technology has advanced to make mining safer than ever before, it is still a dangerous industry to work in.

There are a few different areas in which miners might work. They may be above ground drilling, blasting, and operating machinery or below ground in mine construction. Some miners will be trained to install air and water pipes into mines. Whatever they are doing miners must always be aware of their surroundings.

Miners sometimes work in small, cramped, dark spaces with an ever-present danger of collapse, explosion or gas leaks. These workers are focused with a steady hand, ready to detonate a blasting device or excavate a mine. They are physically fit and able to withstand varied weather and temperature conditions such as extreme heat, cold, and dark.
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Miners are skilled at what they do. These workers are skilled at using all sorts of machinery related to the industry. They have a steady hand and an understanding of the explosives they are working with. Miners are mechanically inclined and able to perform routine maintenance as needed on equipment. These workers are able to work in sometimes cramped, dirty and dangerous conditions on a daily basis.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Set up and operate drills and drilling machines to produce a designated pattern of blasting holes
  • Operate diamond drills or other specialized drills such as raise boring machinery to test geological formations or to produce underground passageways
  • Set up and operate mining machinery to shear coal, rock or ore from the working face
  • Load explosives, set fuses, and detonate explosives to produce blasting patterns and rock fragmentation in underground mines
  • Operate scooptram, load-haul-dump (LHD) machine or mucking machine to load and haul ore
  • Perform duties required to ensure safety and to support the mining advance, such as scaling loose rock from walls and roof, drilling and installing rock bolts, extending and installing air and water pipes, operating ore loading machinery, and constructing timber supports and cribbing
  • Perform routine maintenance of mining machinery.
  • Underground miners operate drilling machines to produce blasting holes, test geological formations or produce underground passageways. Their activities also include working with explosives, operating load-haul-dump machines and maintaining mining machinery. They may also be required to install air and water pipes, scale loose rock and construct timber supports and cribbing.
  • Oil and gas well drillers and well servicers direct rig crews in setting up for exploration and operate controls for drilling and hoisting machinery. They also operate recorders and computers to collect data, maintain operation records and data interpretation. In some cases, workers drive well service or wireline trucks to and from well sites.
  • Miners, depending on their area of employment, will work an 8- to 12-hour day. Sometimes there is shift work, weekends and overtime involved. Miners sometimes work in small, cramped, dark spaces with an ever present danger of collapse, explosion or gas leaks. They may work in above ground equipment cabs, or underground putting in pipes, drilling or tunneling. A typical day for a miner always involves lots of dirt, noise, and possible danger.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Miners are employed by coal, metal and non-metallic mineral underground mines and by specialized contractors in mine construction, shaft sinking and tunnelling.

  Long Term Career Potential  
With training in a college or university program in mining technology or engineering and/or years of experience workers in this group may move onto supervisory positions.

  Educational Paths  
Miners receive their training either through informal, on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship program. Trade certification can be obtained either through an apprenticeship program or after several years of work experience. While trade certification is not mandatory in all areas to become a miner, it can be a requirement for many employers and can also help secure employment.

Apprenticeship programs involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. A pre-apprenticeship course may also be available which takes about five to six months to complete at a community college and is designed to help you get connected with a good company to apprentice with. It is important to apprentice with a reputable company as that is your education. While some apprenticeship programs may not require a high school diploma, it is important to note that employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates.

Apprenticeships can vary, however a typical apprenticeship lasts four to five years. The apprenticeship is a paid position, however wages are about 50 percent of what an employer pays the journeyperson, with yearly increases. After successfully completing the apprenticeship requirements, their industry training and apprenticeship office awards the miner a certificate of completion.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

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