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Life As an Oil and Gas Derrick Operator

Career Description Rig derrick equipment and operate pumps to circulate mud through drill hole.

Daily Life Of an Oil & Gas Derrick Operator

  • Prepare mud reports, and instruct crews about the handling of any chemical additives.
  • Repair pumps, mud tanks, and related equipment.
  • Weigh clay, and mix with water and chemicals to make drilling mud, using portable mixers.
  • String cables through pulleys and blocks.
  • Inspect derricks, or order their inspection, prior to being raised or lowered.
  • Steady pipes during connection to or disconnection from drill or casing strings.

What an Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Should Know

When polled, Oil and Gas Derrick Operators say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Repairing: Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

Types of Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Jobs

  • Derrick Operator
  • Oil Derrick Operator
  • Derrick Hand
  • Driller
  • Rotary Derrick Operator

Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 11,100 jobs for Oil and Gas Derrick Operator in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 25.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 2,800 new jobs for Oil and Gas Derrick Operator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,800 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Oil and Gas Derrick Operators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Oil & Gas Derrick Operator are Wyoming, North Dakota, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, or Florida. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Average Salary

Oil and Gas Derrick Operators make between $33,290 and $64,960 a year.

Salary Ranges for Oil and Gas Derrick Operators

Oil and Gas Derrick Operators who work in North Dakota, Wyoming, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Oil and Gas Derrick Operators in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alaska $55,960
Arkansas $40,680
California $52,300
Colorado $51,390
Kansas $43,330
Louisiana $47,550
Michigan $43,130
Mississippi $46,590
Montana $49,950
New Mexico $48,310
North Dakota $59,550
Oklahoma $48,470
Pennsylvania $50,540
Texas $44,920
Utah $45,860
Wyoming $55,040

What Tools do Oil and Gas Derrick Operators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Oil and Gas Derrick Operators:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Data entry software

How do I Become an Oil & Gas Derrick Operator?

Education needed to be an Oil and Gas Derrick Operator:

Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become an Oil & Gas Derrick Operator?

Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Work Experience

Where do Oil and Gas Derrick Operators Work?

Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Oil and Gas Derrick Operators employed by various industries.

Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Industries


Image Credit: Tomwsulcer via Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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