Three High-Paying Jobs in the Oil Sands

Posted on: 10 July 2015

The Oil Sands of Fort McMurray, Alberta contain the third highest amount of crude oil reserves in the world. With 168 billion barrels of oil, only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have more untapped underground oil. Because of energy exploration in the Oil Sands, there are many high paying jobs in the area. Here are three of them.


While the average hourly wage for welders in Canada is $22.80, welders in Edmonton, Alberta can make closer to $30 an hour.  Companies in the Oils Sands may want to hire you if you have welding experience along with the following qualifications:

  • Certified by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB)
  • Certified to weld on certain materials like carbon steel, stainless steel and chrome
  • High degree of attention in order to avoid injury to self and others
  • Ability to read and interpret documents

As with many jobs in the Oil Sands, welders can expect to work long 12-hour days for 14 straight days and then get 14 days off. For more information about working as a welder, contact a welding company in your area, such as Underpressure Welding Inc.

Heavy Equipment Operator

For those working in the Oil Sands, heavy equipment operators can make up to $31.92 an hour, which equals just over $77,500 a year. If you have experience working with big equipment such as front-end loaders, graders, bulldozers and power shovels, this might be the perfect opportunity for you. Other qualifications might include:

  • Clean driving record
  • Class 5 Driver's License
  • Willingness to promptly report all incidences, including injuries and damage to equipment
  • Have passed Oil Sands Safety Association (OSSA) and Construction Safety Training System (CSTS) pre-employment tests

Heavy equipment operators also must be able to meet physically demanding requirements, including climbing up into equipment.

Land Surveyor

If you are a land surveyor looking for work, the outlook is good all over Canada. However, if you want to make the highest wages possible as a land surveyor, those in the Edmonton area can make up to $48 an hour. Land Surveyors are in charge of conducting legal surveys in order to establish boundaries and locations for buildings and other structures on the land. Some companies require the following qualifications:

  • Degree or diploma in survey/geomatics
  • Knowledge of advanced survey methods
  • Ability to work on-site in various weather conditions
  • Certifications in CSTS, OSSA, and underground/line locating

Land surveyors must also have strong and effective communication skills.

If you have experience in any of the above areas, are not afraid of hard work and long days, and desire to make good money, there is most likely a job in the Oil Sands waiting for you.