Coal Miners

Coal Miner Using Drill in a Mine

Coal miners extract coal from surface mines and underground mines. To do this, they operate complex and expensive machinery that drills, cuts, scrapes, or shovels earth and coal so that the fuel can be collected. Since coal is hard to reach, large portions of earth must be removed from the surface or dug out of mines so the coal miners can get to it. Some coal miners are explosives experts who use dynamite and other substances to remove earth and make the coal accessible. As of 2014, approximately 75,000 workers are employed as coal miners, according to the National Mining Association.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Coal Mining Technicians, Drillers, Stripping Shovel Operators
Duties Operate complex machinery to extract coal from surface and underground mines
Salary Range $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Primarily Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois are the states with the highest levels of employment of coal miners.
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
School Subjects
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Physical Education
Experience Internship or part-time experience
Personality Traits
  • Athletic
  • Realistic
  • Technical
  • Building/Trades
  • Math
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Poor
Outlook Decline
Career Ladder
  • Supervisor or Sales Representative
  • Coal Miner
  • Coal Mining Technician or Helper
  • Laborer

Related Industries