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Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas
SOC Code: 47-5011.00

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

Sample of reported job titles: Derrick Hand, Derrick Man, Derrick Operator, Derrick Worker, Floor Hand


  • Inspect derricks, or order their inspection, prior to being raised or lowered.
  • Inspect derricks for flaws, and clean and oil derricks to maintain proper working conditions.
  • Control the viscosity and weight of the drilling fluid.
  • Repair pumps, mud tanks, and related equipment.
  • Set and bolt crown blocks to posts at tops of derricks.
  • Listen to mud pumps and check regularly for vibration and other problems to ensure that rig pumps and drilling mud systems are working properly.
  • Start pumps that circulate mud through drill pipes and boreholes to cool drill bits and flush out drill cuttings.
  • Position and align derrick elements, using harnesses and platform climbing devices.
  • Supervise crew members, and provide assistance in training them.
  • Guide lengths of pipe into and out of elevators.
  • Prepare mud reports, and instruct crews about the handling of any chemical additives.
  • Clamp holding fixtures on ends of hoisting cables.
  • Weigh clay, and mix with water and chemicals to make drilling mud, using portable mixers.
  • String cables through pulleys and blocks.
  • Steady pipes during connection to or disconnection from drill or casing strings.

Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software - Data entry software
  • Electronic mail software - Microsoft Outlook
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Ball peen hammer - Ball peen hammers
  • Blocks or pulleys - Chain blocks
  • Blowout preventers - Blowout prevention equipment
  • C clamps - Safety clamps
  • Combination wrenches - Double ring wrenches
  • Crown blocks - Derrick crown blocks
  • Drawworks - Drilling draw works
  • Drill hoses - Mud hoses
  • Drill rig elevators - Casing elevators
  • Drilling casings - Borehole casings; Casing slips
  • Drilling screens - Dewatering screens
  • Ear muffs - Protective ear muffs
  • Ear plugs - Protective ear plugs
  • End cut pliers - Side cutting pliers
  • Facial shields - Face shields
  • Fire extinguishers - Portable fire extinguishers
  • Forklifts
  • Gas detectors - Hydrogen sulfide detectors
  • Goggles - Safety goggles
  • Hard hats - Protective hard hats
  • Hoists - Air hoists; Derrick hoists
  • Jacks - Hydraulic jacks
  • Ladders - Derrick ladders
  • Lifelines or lifeline equipment - Geronimo lines; Self-retracting lifelines
  • Lifting hooks - Derrick hooks
  • Makeup tongs - Breakout tongs; Hydraulic power tongs
  • Mud agitators - Mud agitating equipment
  • Mud cleaning equipment - Mud cleaners
  • Mud degassers - Mud degassing equipment
  • Mud manifolds - Desander manifolds; Desilter manifolds
  • Mud mixers - Mud guns; Mud hoppers; Mud mixing pumps
  • Mud pumps - Mud pumping equipment
  • Mud tanks - Drilling mud tanks
  • Oil country thread protectors - Drill pipe thread protectors
  • Oil field water oil centrifuges - Drilling fluid centrifuges
  • Personal computers
  • Pipe handling equipment - Stuck pipe tools
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Pneumatic impact wrenches - Spinning wrenches
  • Ratchets - Ratchet sets
  • Respiration air supplying self contained breathing apparatus or accessories - Self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Respirators - Protective respirators
  • Safety glasses - Protective safety glasses
  • Safety harness winders - Inertia reels
  • Safety harnesses or belts - Fall arrest harnesses
  • Scaffolding - Derrick scaffolds
  • Screwdrivers - Phillips head screwdrivers; Straight screwdrivers
  • Shale shakers - Drilling mud shale shakers
  • Sledge hammer - Sledgehammers
  • Specialty wrenches - Hammer wrenches; Sucker rod wrenches
  • Spill kits - Oil spill kits
  • Surface data logging units - Pit volume totalizers
  • Tablet computers
  • Taglines - Derrick taglines
  • Triple beam balances - Balance beam scales
  • Two way radios - Mobile radios
  • Viscosimeters - Marsh funnels
  • Winches - Derrick winches


  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.


  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Extent Flexibility - The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Depth Perception - The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Stamina - The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
  • Trunk Strength - The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Gross Body Equilibrium - The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Gross Body Coordination - The ability to coordinate the movement of your arms, legs, and torso together when the whole body is in motion.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Response Orientation - The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Speed of Limb Movement - The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Speed of Closure - The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.


  • Interest code: RCI
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Work Context

  • Exposed to Contaminants - 99% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 99% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 99% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 94% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 86% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 86% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 78% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 81% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Exposed to High Places
  • Contact With Others
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 15% responded “Important.”
  • Physical Proximity - 51% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Spend Time Standing - 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 46% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting - 76% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 12% responded “No results.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 21% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 19% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 17% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection - 44% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 46% responded “Very important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 11% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions - 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Whole Body Vibration
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 38% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 50% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Climbing Ladders, Scaffolds, or Poles - 13% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations - 25% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Telephone - 32% responded “Never.”
  • Time Pressure - 30% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover - 30% responded “Never.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 50% responded “Very important.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 32% responded “Extremely important.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
69%Less than high school diploma
23%High school diploma or equivalent
5%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $22.18 hourly, $46,140 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 11,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 1,800

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