New drill rig operator program launched at NAIT

Published on September 14, 2017

The two-year program - the first of its kind in North America - will start in January, 2018

EDMONTON – NAIT is launching the first two-year training program for foundation drill rig operators in North America, starting in January, 2018.

The program was developed by NAIT at the request of the industry association in Western Canada, which provided about $480,000 in funding. A task force of industry members worked with NAIT teaching specialists to build the drill rig operator program.

It will include nine online courses in areas such as operations, safety, mechanics and blueprint reading, as well as 1,500 hours of on-the-job experience.


  • There is currently no formal training or certification required for drill rig operators in Western Canada.
  • NAIT’s drill rig operator program will provide the skills and knowledge required for the safe operation of foundation drill rigs, used in the construction industry.
  • There are approximately 400 drill rig operators in Western Canada


Malcolm Haines, Dean, School of Skilled Trades at NAIT
“As a polytechnic, we are committed to supporting industry with hands-on learning. We’re proud to be working with the ADSC to promote a more productive and safer work environment in this sector.”

Kevin Sharp, past-president, Western Canadian Chapter of the Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors (ADSC)
“My uncle was seriously hurt in a drill rig accident. I want to make sure I leave this industry better than I found it, and proper training is a big part of that. This program will increase safety and understanding among drill rig operators.”


Foundation Drill Rig Operator program information
Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors (ADSC), Western Canadian Chapter

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta’s top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

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