Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operator

Carefully punch holes under existing structures to install pipelines.
picture of Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$27,000 – $62,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operators do?

Pipes can carry liquids and gases across long distances. Since they’re located deep beneath the ground, they aren’t easily punctured or tampered with, and their gray exteriors don’t mar the beautiful landscape. Laying pipe beneath the ground often means punching holes beneath existing structures such as bridges, roads, and canals. A Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operator runs the machine that drills these holes.

When you’re a Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operator, you begin a job by finding out where the pipe is sitting now and where it should continue. With the help of your crew, you dig a pilot hole for the machine, and determine the sort of materials you’ll drill through. This helps you select the proper bit for your machine.

Your assistant lowers the machine into the hole you’ve dug, as per your instructions, and you use tools to ensure that the machine is at the proper depth and pointing in the right direction. Then, you turn it on and move it forward and back to punch a hole and lay pipe in the hole you’re digging.

At the end of each job, you check the machine carefully and make sure it isn’t damaged. You also clean it and lubricate its moving parts before you take it away for the next job.

Working outside with a large and noisy machine can be dangerous. That’s why Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operators are careful to wear the proper safety equipment. At the beginning of the shift, you make sure your team is wearing safety equipment, too. While the team may tease you about your motherly nature, they appreciate the steps you take to keep them safe.


Should I be a Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to Become a
    Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operator

    Most Horizontal Earth Boring Machine Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9rdaaa&chl=no+college+%2874%25%29|certificate+%2821%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,74,74
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