Driller (Surface)

Driller (Surface)

Non – Apprenticeship


As a Certified Driller, your duties may include the following:
  • Drive, operate and completely understand different varieties of drilling machines {rotary, Tophammer, Down the Hole (DTH)} in the open-pit mining or quarrying sectors
  • Operate drilling machines to drill blast holes in different rock conditions for road or other construction applications
  • Operate tracked or truck-mounted equipment to drill holes for building foundations or pilings
  • Identify location and stake out pattern of holes to be drilled, load blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore or rock
Possible Career Path for a DRILLER:

Source: Driller in Training, Intro Module (MCSC)


Surface drillers work in these types of work environments:

  • Drilling contracting
  • Construction companies
  • Quarrying companies

Surface drillers need to be aware of the following:

  • It is common to work outdoors in all kinds of weather
  • It is a physically demanding job
  • Possible Occupational Hazards: injury from heavy equipment and risks associated with explosion and implosion

Drillers (may) have to:

  • Set up and operate heavy machinery
  • Be responsible for usign their equipment properly & keep it in good condition
  • Work long hours - usually 9 to 11 hours a day
  • Travel to remote locations
  • Spend extended periods of time away from home
  • Spend a lot of time on the road
  • Drive to different construction sites

Source: Careercruising.com (Surface Driller)


If you answer YES to the questions below, then a career as a Driller could be right for you!

  • Are you strong and fit?
  • Are you a self-motivated learner?
  • Are you ready for a challenge?
  • Do you like working independently and as part of a team?
  • Are you motivated, self-reliant, dependable and responsible?
  • Do you like solving problems?
  • Do you enjoy travel and working outdoors?
  • Do you like working with machines?
  • Are you computer literate?

Source: Driller in Training, Intro Module (MCSC)


According to jobbank.gc.ca, and their Labour Market Information for Manitoba, they list low, medium, and high wages for Power Engineers as the following:
Low WageAverage WageHigh Wage
$17.00/hour (average in MB)$26.49/hour (average in MB)$33.33/hour (average in MB)


If you are still in high school, here are some suggested subject areas to study that could help prepare you for further training in this field. Please check if these courses are available at your school and/or whether they will meet your graduation requirements. Some examples may include the following:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science: Physics, Chemistry
  • Computers, Electronics & Communications Technology
  • Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Source: www2.careercruising.com (Explosives Specialist) 

In 2016, Manitoba Construction Sector Council (MCSC) partnered with Austin Powder Ltd., Atlas Copco, Agassiz Drilling, Hugh Munro Construction Ltd. (HMCL), and the Province of Manitoba to develop a Driller in Training Certificate.

Entrance Requirements to become a Driller-in-training:
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Clear driver's abstract
  • Clear criminal record
  • Must be able to pass a drug test
  • Construction experience preferred

This certificate program is an independent study program that can be completed between 6 months to 1.5 years.

  • A mentor driller needs to be assigned by the company and
  • Approved / Registered with MCSC


Module 1: Safety at the Site

Module 2: Rocks, Drilling and Maintenance

Module 3: Drill patterns, Navigation and Start up Procedures

Module 4: Simulator Basics

Module 5: Simulator Pre-ops, Controls and Booms

Module 6: Simulator Advanced Tramming and Positioning

Module 7: Simulator Accurate Drilling

Module 8: On-the-Job: A final Review

In order to receive a certificate from MCSC, you need to successfully complete the 8 modules, including:

  • Review questions
  • Personal log
  • Case studies
  • Worksite assignments
  • Simulation exercises
  • Mid and final performance reviews by the mentor driller


Click the links below for associations related to this career!