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Water Well Driller


We all know water is essential to all life. But, did you know that roughly 75 percent of the human body is made up of water? Without water we could not live. This is why the job of water well drillers is so important. Water well drillers help to locate, drill for and tap into clean water sources. This is particularly necessary in rural areas where there are no water systems and fresh water is required.

Water well drillers operate and service drilling equipment to find water sources. They must also have sufficient knowledge of geological formations to be able to locate water sources that are clean and safe for drinking. These workers must follow safety procedures when drilling, as they are responsible for protecting the ground water source so that it does not become contaminated. They are also responsible for installing and servicing water pumps.

Water well drillers also need to provide customer services in locating and estimating the cost of construction of new wells or restoration of existing services. They must also be able to complete well records and reports as required. Water well drillers do not just drill for water. Sometimes, they work for construction companies drilling holes for pilings of drilling test holes, or they may also work on water purification systems and water pumping systems.
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  Interests and Skills  
Besides being able to run heavy machinery these workers will need to have good customer service skills since they will communicate directly with their clients. These workers like to work outdoors and are interested in using tools and implements for drilling. Some well drillers run their own small business and therefore will need to have some management and sales skills.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Review client requirements and proposed locations for water wells
  • Operate water well drilling rigs and other equipment to drill, bore and dig for residential, commercial and industrial water wells and install well screens, casings and other well fixtures
  • Perform routine mechanical maintenance work on water well drilling rigs and equipment
  • Install, test, maintain and repair water well pumps, piping systems and equipment
  • Perform pumping tests to assess well performance
  • Provide other drilling services, such as repair or dismantling of the existing water well structure
  • Because more wells are located in urban areas water well drillers travel to different and sometimes remote locations daily. They spend most of their time outdoors, and instead of a typical 40-hour week they work until the job is complete. The work is loud and dirty and drillers must be physically fit to use the large equipment. They must also have good customer service skills to interact with customers.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Water well drillers are employed by water well drilling contractors, governments or they may be self-employed.

  Long Term Career Potential  
With additional training, water well drillers may move into related drilling occupations in the petroleum exploration or construction industries.

  Educational Paths  
Water well drillers 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 water well driller, 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 water well driller 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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