Pile drivers work with pile-driving rigs that drive metal, concrete, or wood piling into the earth during the early stages of construction. They are usually the first workers at a commercial job site. They drive metal sheet piling to hold back dirt during excavations, drive concrete, metal, and wood pilings as part of the foundation system for skyscrapers and drive wood and concrete pilings to hold up docks, wharves, and bridges. Some may work on offshore oil rigs as commercial divers involved in underwater construction. Pile drivers work with a variety of hand and portable power tools, and frequently cut, join, and fasten metal construction materials using welding equipment and oxy-acetylene torches.

Working Conditions

Pile driving work is very physical and involves climbing, kneeling, lifting and squatting. Work is done inside and outside, depending on the construction. Travel is often required. Pile drivers work where it is warm and dry, cold and wet, and at depths of 100 feet below or above ground. Pile drivers must be in good health, meet certain strength requirements, be agile, and have good hand-eye coordination.

Length of Apprenticeship

This apprenticeship lasts four years. Apprentices must complete a minimum of 120 related classroom hours per year and 8,000 on-the-job training hours.

Minimum Qualifications

Apprenticeship applicants must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, they must provide proof of high school graduation or general education development (GED) equivalent. Local apprenticeship committees may require additional qualifications.

Wage Averages for Oklahoma (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015)

Mean Hourly Wage: $18.98

Annual Mean Wage: $39,470