Coal Miners


Coal Miners


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 2018, approximately 82,830 workers were employed as coa...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Internship or part-time experience





Personality Traits



According to the U.S. Department of Labor, continuous mining machine operators (CMMOs), a specialized coal mining occupation, employed in the coal mining industry had mean annual earnings of $56,110 in 2018. Those with considerable experience can receive even higher earnings. The top 10 percent of all CMMOs earned $74,800 annually, and the lowest 10 percent earned $36,310 per year.The National ...

Work Environment

Coal mining is hard work involving harsh and sometimes hazardous conditions. Workers in surface mines are outdoors in all kinds of weather, while those underground work in tunnels that are cramped, dark, dusty, wet, and cold. They are all subjected to loud noise from the machinery and work that is physically demanding and dirty. The National Mining Association reports that coal miners worked an...


Employment in mining is expected to decline through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Technological advances have increased productivity and reduced the number of workers in the field. Stricter federal environmental regulations, such as the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, and increased competition from foreign producers will limit growth in this industry. Despite this prediction, ...