Mining is a dangerous occupation, as mines are susceptible to accidents and cave-ins that can jeopardize miners' safety. Miners also work in cramped, uncomfortable conditions for many hours at a time. However, miners fulfill an essential role in society, and despite the drawbacks, there are several benefits to becoming a miner.
One advantage of being a miner is above-average wages. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, coal miners earned an average hourly wage of $23.01 as of 2008. This compares favorably with workers in all other industries, where the average hourly wage was $18.08. The highest-earning mining classification was oil and gas extraction, with an average hourly wage of $27.28 per hour, followed by metal ore miners at $25.94 an hour and coal miners at $23.27 an hour.
Providing Needed Products
Miners can take pride in the knowledge that their labor provides products individuals and the economy needs. Despite the trend toward using renewable energy sources such as solar power as of 2011, coal is still a prominent source of fuel used to heat homes and businesses. Metal ore miners supply the raw material needed in industry. The mining process is used to unearth precious metals needed to produce gemstones sold by jewelers.
No Formal Education
Becoming a coal miner does not normally require formal education, as some mining companies may not even require a high school diploma, according to StateUniversity.com. Aspiring miners can gain an advantage by completing a certification program that may not require a high school diploma, although candidates may need to demonstrate basic math and English skills to gain acceptance. Two-year associate degree mining programs are also available. New miners typically receive on-the-job training provided by veteran miners.
Part of a Team
Mining can appeal to individuals who relish being part of a team. The high focus on safety requires miners to depend heavily on one another, and strong teamwork is necessary to complete mining tasks. Should disaster strike, the teamwork developed on the job can even help miners survive, as evidenced by events such as the 2002 Quecreek mining accident in Somerset, Pennsylvania, where a group of miners was rescued alive, despite being trapped underground for more than 75 hours.