How to Become a Drilling Consultant

Drilling consultants are highly knowledgeable and skilled professionals who provide onsite supervision of day-to-day drilling operations on a contract basis on behalf of a operating company. These individuals ensure the safety of all personnel on location while successfully executing the operator’s drilling plan and reaching target depth as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

Many drilling consultants have 20 to 30 years of oilfield experience. However, it is not uncommon for individuals with 10 to 15 years’ experience to break into these roles. The typical path to becoming an onsite drilling consultant starts at the most basic position working on a drilling rig and builds over the years, with knowledge and experience gained at various levels.

Typical path to become a drilling consultant:

Non-Technical Degree

  • Rig Experience (min. 2-3 yrs)
    • Flood Hand, Motorhand, Derrickhand
  • Drilling Experience (min. 2-3 yrs)
    • Driller / Directional Driller
  • Management Experience (min. 2-3 yrs)
    • Toolpusher / Rig Manager
  • Drilling Consultant

Technical Degree

  • Drilling Experience (3-4 yrs)
    • Drilling Engineer, Directional Driller, etc.
  • Move to Management (3-4 yrs)
    • Rig Manager, Drilling Manager, etc.
  • Drilling Consultant


DTC recommends gaining the following skills and experience to become a drilling consultant:

  • Excellent safety record
  • Understanding of computer systems, including WellView & other reporting systems
  • Testing/maintaining motors and rigging up & down
  • Knowledge of underbalanced and overbalanced drilling
  • Knowledge and understanding of various mud systems (water-based, oil-based & air drilling)
  • Understanding well bores, supervising drilling rigs & crews, testing BOPs, training new personnel, performing cement calculations, setting casing, and purchasing supplies
  • Experience in a variety of well bores (horizontal, vertical, etc.)