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Oswego Career Ladders - Driller

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Industry: Energy
Area: Geothermal

Geothermal energy production involves tapping the heat present in subsurface rock and soil units. Geologists and drillers study the data to decide whether to recommend drilling. Geothermal reservoirs suitable for commercial use can only be discovered by drilling. First, a small- diameter "temperature gradient hole" is drilled (some only 200' deep, some over 4000 feet deep) with a truck-mounted rig to determine the temperatures and underground rock types. Production-sized wells require large drill rigs that can cost as much as a million dollars or more to drill. Geothermal wells can be drilled over two miles deep. On these large rigs, drilling continues 24 hours per day.

Work Settings

Workplace conditions for Drillers can be physically challenging due to the difficult drilling conditions found in geothermal environments and the size and weight of the equipment.


The majority of entry level rig jobs do not require a formal education as the employer is more interested in your ability to do your job well and learn quickly than in how many years you went to school. Some jobs, such as a ballast controlman, mud engineer, etc., require at least a high school education.


It is not uncommon for a person starting at the bottom with no previous experience to be making $40,000 to $60,000 a year.

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