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Tool pusher

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Summary of occupation

Toolpushers supervise the operation of offshore oil rigs and mining drills on land rigs. They manage the personnel that work on the rig and report to the head of operations regarding the work that is undertaken on the rig. They co-ordinate the various departments on a drilling rig and ensure that the work undertaken on the rig meets appointed deadlines. They may co-ordinate human resources, organise the delivery of tools, fuel and other resources to the drilling site, resolve work-based problems or disputes, make recommendation about improving productivity, oversee general safety and administer payroll.

ANZSCO description: Toolpushers supervise the operation of oil  rigging and mining drills.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Blasthole Driller, Foundation/Construction Driller, Geotechnical Driller, Mineral Exploration Driller, Oil and Gas Driller, Water Well Driller
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A toolpusher needs:

  • good health and physical fitness, with the ability to pass a medical examination
  • to be able to work as part of a team
  • leadership skills
  • organisational skills
  • the ability to handle machinery
  • a clean police record and the ability to pass a drug and alcohol clearance
  • to be 18 years of age or older
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Working conditions

Toolpushers work in the offices that supervise the operation of drilling rigs. Although they are required to have practical and technical knowledge about the operation of drilling rigs they mostly undertake administrative work in an office environment.

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Salary details

Toolpushers, classified under drillers, miners and shotfirers, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week on average ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a toolpusher develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Toolpushers need to be familiar with all the equipment required in drilling operations, including the drills and their various components. However, as toolpusher is a mostly administrative role they also need to be familiar with office equipment such as phones, faxes and computers.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

As an administrative role in the oil and gas industry, the most appropriate pathway for becoming a toolpusher is by entering the industry as a driller's offsider/leasehand, where you will learn to become a driller. You can then work your way up into the toolpusher role.

To enter the industry as a driller's assistant you can complete a Certificate II in Drilling Operations. This course is available at State Training Organisations and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

It is also possible to complete a traineeship in drilling operations. The traineeship usually takes 12 to 24 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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