Entry Senior

Directional Driller

Photo courtesy of Shell Canada

About This Career

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 a number of downhole and surface sensors to measure the real-time performance of a drilling operation. Directional drilling is more complex than straight-hole drilling. The operator is required to take into account more factors and use specialized software to complete their tasks. 

Directional Drillers work with other well services members at the well site. In particular, 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 identified within this occupation. Progression between levels is based on experience, performance and company need.

Education: 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.

Employment: This occupation is found in both onshore and offshore environments and is typically employed in the oil and gas services sector of the oil and gas industry.

Example titles: Rotary Drill Operator, Horizontal Driller

Work Activities
Applying Health and Safety Principles
Practicing all duties in accordance with safety policies and safe work practices.
Participating in on-site safety and emergency drills.
Promoting health, safety, environment and quality awareness.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
Providing client representatives with accurate directional survey data.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers or Subordinates
Interfacing with the Measurement While Drilling (MWD) Specialist to ensure bottom hole assembly (BHA) compatibility and that the planned operating parameters meet the job specifications.
Documenting/Recording Information
Maintaining records of all directional drilling equipment at the well site.
Maintaining a drilling computer database for ongoing jobs.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures or Material
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.
Checking equipment and advising on repair requirements.
Assisting with the inspection of all company equipment for use in the directional portion of the work when delivered to the work site.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Assisting the Motor Reliability Analyst with Field Data.
Performing Administrative Activities
Assisting in the completion of service tickets and relevant paperwork, such as well data spreadsheets and daily reports.
Assisting in the completion of the bottom hole assembly (BHA) performance report for each job.
Processing Information
Updating well profile plots.
Quality Assurance
Ensuring that the bottom hole assembly (BHA) equipment is assembled as planned.
Judgment and Decision Making
Attention to Detail
Operation and Control
Computer use
Career Path
  • Logging While Drilling Coordinator
  • Measurement While Drilling Coordinator
  • Rig Manager
  • Well Planning Consultant
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Working Conditions
  • Steeringwheel
    Driving Required
  • Variable weather
    Inclement Weather
  • Road
    Remote Locations
  • Industrial excavator
    Active Machinery
  • Arrow
    Shift Work
  • Load
    Heavy Lifting
  • Standing
    Long Periods of Standing
  • Physical
    Physically Demanding
  • Longshifts
    Long Shifts
Transferable Sectors
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Utilities, including renewables
Job Details

Job Category



Oil and gas services



Qualifications + Experience


  • High School Diploma (or equivalent)


  • 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