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Life As an Oil and Gas Derrick Operator

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

A Day in the Life of an Oil & Gas Derrick Operator

  • Start pumps that circulate mud through drill pipes and boreholes to cool drill bits and flush out drill cuttings.
  • Listen to mud pumps and check regularly for vibration and other problems to ensure that rig pumps and drilling mud systems are working properly.
  • String cables through pulleys and blocks.
  • Clamp holding fixtures on ends of hoisting cables.
  • Inspect derricks, or order their inspection, prior to being raised or lowered.
  • Weigh clay, and mix with water and chemicals to make drilling mud, using portable mixers.

Oil & Gas Derrick Operator Required Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Oil and Gas Derrick Operators say are important on the job.

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 and Gas Derrick Operator

  • Well Service Derrick Worker
  • Derrick Operator
  • Driller
  • Rotary Derrick Operator
  • Derrick Worker

Is There Going to be Demand for Oil and Gas Derrick Operators?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 11,100 jobs in the United States for Oil and Gas Derrick Operator. 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. There will be an estimated 1,800 positions for Oil & Gas Derrick Operator per year.


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.

Salary for an Oil & Gas Derrick Operator

The typical yearly salary for Oil and Gas Derrick Operators is somewhere between $33,290 and $64,960.


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

How much do Oil and Gas Derrick Operators make in each U.S. state?

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

Tools & Technologies Used by Oil and Gas Derrick Operators

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?

What education is needed to be an Oil and Gas Derrick Operator?


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where do Oil and Gas Derrick Operators Work?


Below are examples of industries where Oil and Gas Derrick Operators work:



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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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