Rig Tech I


About this Program

Apprenticeship is a great way to develop employable skills while working and earning a paycheck. In fact, apprentices are required to find a job before they go to school.

There are three levels of credential in the Rig Technician Apprenticeship program:

  • Rig Technician 1 - Motorhand
  • Rig Technician 2 - Derrickhand
  • Rig Technician 3 - Driller

Motorhands (Level 1) are responsible for:

  • Maintaining equipment and keeping maintenance records up to date
  • Supervising, training and working with floorhands and labourers, ensuring they work safely and efficiently
  • Participating in rig mobilization and de-mobilization (rig-up and tear-out)

Derrickhands (Level 2) are responsible for:

  • Operating and maintaining drilling fluid systems and pumps during drilling
  • Mixing fluid chemicals and additives as required by the program
  • Handling sections of drill string assembly from a platform on the rig derrick during tripping operations
  • Monitoring and recording mud flows and volumes and fluid properties (i.e. mud weight)

Drillers (Level 3) are responsible for:

  • Operating the draw-works, rotary equipment, pumps
  • Supervising the assembly of drill string
  • Ensuring that safety and support equipment is functioning properly
  • Monitoring the progress of the drilling operation
  • Communicating with well-site supervisors
  • Keeping a current record of drilling progress
  • Training crew members

Normally an apprentice will spend at least a year in each position. To work in Alberta, a rig technician must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • a certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized trade certificate


The first step to becoming an apprentice is finding a job in the trade you would like to study. This is like any other job search, except you are looking for an employer who is willing to hire you as an apprentice in a trade. Once you have found employment, you can complete the Apprenticeship Application and Contract. This will allow you to be accepted as an apprentice tradesperson. Access the form at

After your application has been accepted, you will begin training with your employer and are now eligible to register for training at Medicine Hat College. You will then be sent an information package from the college on how to proceed with your registration.

Apprenticeship Contracts

You and your employer will sign a contract. Before signing the contract, read it carefully to know your obligations and responsibilities and those of your employer. Once signed, the contract must be delivered to Apprenticeship and Industry Training. An identification card, course outline booklet and, for most trades, an apprenticeship record book are issued to you. At this point, your apprenticeship training begins.

Attending Technical Training Classes

A notice to attend technical training will be sent about two months before classes begin. Class schedules are posted at Registration for your technical training must be arranged through Medicine Hat College in the appropriate trades program.


Trades students register for technical training courses through

Rig Technicians are employed by drilling contractors who own and operate oil and gas well drilling rigs and who contract with oil producers to drill wells. Work schedules for Rig Technicians vary with industry demand, but an example of a Rig Technician's work schedule is two weeks of work followed by one week off from work.

Rig Technicians may be promoted to Rig Managers, or to management positions within the drilling industry. Experienced rig technicians may also be hired by specialist companies for occupations such as mud technician, directional driller, or for service occupations. For example, they may go on to drilling-related equipment sales, employment as rig training providers, occupations in rig regulation, occupations in rig supervision, oil and gas well supervision or rig safety, or various other career paths.

What is your education going to cost?

Our TUITION and FEES page provides a total cost estimate for your program including books and supplies and related expenses.

Looking for ways to help fund your education?

There are lots of options like student loans, scholarships, bursaries and emergency funding available.
Check out our FINANCIAL AID page for more information.

Many programs offered at Medicine Hat College qualify for transfer credits to other institutions. In some cases, you must transfer to another institution to complete your program and gain your credential.

The ACADEMIC CALENDAR has official information on transfer options for each program.
Please consult the calendar or meet with an academic advisor for more information.

At MHC, we care about students and want to help you succeed.

As a student, there may be times when you require support. Our SERVICES page provides you with links to a number of campus supports including academic success, counselling and care, health and wellness, and many other resources.

Have you always wanted to study abroad?

Enhance your education, share in cultural diversity and embrace new experiences. Visit the INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY PROGRAM section to find out more.

Graduation Requirements

You will be awarded an Alberta Completion of Apprenticeship Certificate when you successfully complete all requirements of your apprenticeship contract. In addition to and depending on the trade, you will receive a Journeyman certification.

Trades eligible for an Interprovincial Red Seal Certificate have an additional exam to write and upon successful completion of the exam, the seal is affixed to the Journeyman certificate when issued.

In the province of Alberta, there are two kinds of regulated trades.

  1. Compulsory Certification Must be either a journeyman or apprentice to work in the trade as legislated under the Alberta Industry and Training Act.
  2. Optional Certification Trades training is offered but optional.

Promotion Requirements

You must write an Apprenticeship and Trade Certification exam at the end of each technical training class. The passing mark is 70%. If you do not pass, you may be offered an apprenticeship supplemental exam. You must take the course again if you do not pass the supplemental exam.

To progress from one training period to the next and get a wage increase, you must

  • pass the apprenticeship exam.
  • receive an acceptable mark in the course.
  • obtain the required number of hours of work experience.
  • receive a satisfactory report from your employer.