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  2. Operators
  3. Directional Driller

Directional Driller

NOC #83101

  • Environment Primarily outdoor work
  • Education High school diploma
  • Average salary $54,000 to $107,000

Career profile

Directional drillers control the direction of a wellbore with a variety of specialized bottom hole assembly (BHA) tools and configurations designed to steer a drilling head. They monitor information transmitted from several downhole and surface sensors to measure the real-time performance of a drilling operation.

Directional drillers work with other well services members at the well site. They coordinate closely with the measurement while drilling (MWD) specialist to collect data that keeps a drilling project on track. Depending on the employer, there may be several levels of seniority within this occupation. Progression between levels is based on experience, performance and company need.

Oil and gas services

In this occupation activities may include:

  • Providing client representatives with accurate directional survey data
  • Inspecting and selecting bottom hole assembly (BHA) equipment appropriate for the job, such as bit, bit sub, directional drilling equipment, mud motor, measuring equipment, stabilizers, drill collar, drill pipe, jarring devices and crossovers
  • Working with the Measurement While Drilling (MWD) Specialist to ensure BHA compatibility and that the planned operating parameters meet the job specifications
  • Assisting with the inspection of all company equipment for use in the directional portion of the work when delivered to the work site
  • Assisting in the completion of service tickets and relevant paperwork, such as well data spreadsheets and daily reports


  • A high school diploma (or equivalent) is typically required. A strong aptitude for math is an asset. Most Directional Drillers have progressed through their careers on a drilling crew or have experience as a Measurement While Drilling Specialist or Logging While Drilling Operator. Those with MWD or LWD experience are likely to have a post-secondary diploma in engineering, science, geology, petroleum or another technical discipline.


  • Standard and emergency first aid
  • H2S Alive®


  • Class 5 licence and a clean driving record

Additional Requirements

  • Ability to pass a pre-employment physical assessment and drug test

  • Minimal or no travel
  • Shiftwork/variable work hours
  • Primarily outdoor work
  • Physical work
  • Safety-sensitive environment
  • Work away from home/in camps

You’re skilled with drilling – so much so that you spend most of your job instructing other drillers while you collect and process data. You take pride in your ability to clearly communicate critical information, while problem solving and course correcting in real time.

  • Active listening
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanics
  • Judgment and decision making
  • Attention to detail
  • Engineering and technology
  • Selecting equipment
  • Monitoring operations
  • Troubleshooting
  • Using computers