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Career profile Service Rig Operator

Also known as Pulling Unit Operator, Reverse Unit Operator-Fisherman, Rig Operator, Service Operator, Service Rig Operator, Tool Pusher, Well Servicing Rig Operator, Wireline Operator

Service Rig Operator

Also known as Pulling Unit Operator, Reverse Unit Operator-Fisherman, Rig Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$31,400 - $79,750 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Maintain and perform safety inspections on equipment and tools.
  • Operate controls that raise derricks or level rigs.
  • Listen to engines, rotary chains, or other equipment to detect faulty operations or unusual well conditions.
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What does a Service Rig Operator do?

Service Rig Operators operate equipment to increase oil flow from producing wells or to remove stuck pipe, casing, tools, or other obstructions from drilling wells.

In addition, Service Rig Operators includes fishing-tool technicians.

What kind of tasks does a Service Rig Operator perform regularly?

Service Rig Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Maintain and perform safety inspections on equipment and tools.
  • Operate controls that raise derricks or level rigs.
  • Listen to engines, rotary chains, or other equipment to detect faulty operations or unusual well conditions.
  • Prepare reports of services rendered, tools used, or time required, for billing purposes.
  • Install pressure-control devices onto wellheads.
  • Confer with others to gather information regarding pipe or tool sizes or borehole conditions in wells.
  • Operate pumps that circulate water, oil, or other fluids through wells to remove sand or other materials obstructing the free flow of oil.
  • Drive truck-mounted units to well sites.
  • Interpret instrument readings to ascertain the depth of obstruction.
  • Thread cables through derrick pulleys, using hand tools.
  • Select fishing methods or tools for removing obstacles such as liners, broken casing, screens, or drill pipe.
  • Close and seal wells no longer in use.

The above responsibilities are specific to Service Rig Operators. More generally, Service Rig Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others
Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

What is a Service Rig Operator salary?

The median salary for a Service Rig Operator is $47,380, and the average salary is $52,510. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Service Rig Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Service Rig Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Service Rig Operators earn less than $31,400 per year, 25% earn less than $37,220, 75% earn less than $62,420, and 90% earn less than $79,750.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Service Rig Operators is expected to change by 22.7%, and there should be roughly 6,600 open positions for Service Rig Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$47,380
Typical salary range
$31,400 - $79,750
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
22.7%

What personality traits are common among Service Rig Operators?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Service Rig Operator are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Service Rig Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Service Rig Operators typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Service Rig Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Service Rig Operators strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Service Rig Operators moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Service Rig Operators moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Service Rig Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, initiative, and leadership.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Service Rig Operators, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

What education and training do Service Rig Operators need?

Working as a Service Rig Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Service Rig Operators need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Service Rig Operators

  • 17.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 47.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 25.3% completed some college coursework
  • 3.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.7% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Service Rig Operators

Service Rig Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, mathematics, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Service Rig Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Important Abilities needed by Service Rig Operators

Service Rig Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Service Rig Operators need abilities such as problem sensitivity, control precision, and arm-hand steadiness in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Service Rig Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Multilimb Coordination
The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Service Rig Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Service Rig Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Service Rig Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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