Oil well drillers operate drilling rig components to drill wells according to client or job specifications. Entry level drilling positions are generally entirely unskilled labor. With more training and experience, an oil well driller can become a leader of a drilling team, controlling the rate and continuity of drilling progress. They must have knowledge of how the drilling equipment works and occasionally need to carry out repairs and maintenance. Some drillers focus exclusively on vertical well drilling, but others venture into the more complex field of directional drilling, i.e. drilling wells on a slant. Their work is mainly done outdoors so there can be some harsh working conditions--extreme temperatures and confined spaces, for example.
Advanced degrees aren't needed in the field of drilling. A few companies prefer candidates who hold a two year technical degree, but most positions only require a high school diploma or GED. Sometimes candidates don't even need a diploma at all if they have at least two years of drilling experience. Basic math skills are needed, and more advanced math may be required for directional drilling positions. Those interested in this line of work must be extremely physically fit as it's a very physically demanding job. With the amount of danger involved in oil well drilling, drillers must maintain a high standard of safety and be willing and able to comply with all safety laws, regulations and company safety policies. In the event that an emergency situation does arise, oil drillers must be able to remain calm and keep everyone's safety in mind.