Live and work on an oil rig in the thick of the extraction process.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$30,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Derrickhands do?

Oil (and fuels derived from oil) powers so much of our modern world. However, getting that oil from deep underground is a huge job. As a Derrickhand, you’re one of the most crucial parts of that extraction process. Derrickhands operate the essential machinery involved in drawing oil out of the ground, and may also perform other duties like collecting soil and rock samples, and determining new drilling sites.

Every day on an oil site is different. One day, you’re just bringing in the crude, and everything is fine. The next day, an equipment failure calls for you to spring into action, coordinating a repair effort with the Oil Rig Mechanics, and trying to prevent injuries and stay on schedule.

The ability to be flexible, adapt to changing conditions, and solve problems is crucial to being a Derrickhand. Your team is counting on you to keep them safe, and on an oil rig, a lot can go wrong.

As with most mining and resource extraction jobs, the worksite is often far from civilization. You may live onsite for days or weeks at a time, with extended vacation periods at set intervals. Naturally, you work outside most of the time, but controls may be located inside a booth. You may also need to go down into cramped access areas to service machinery.

While on site, you have a set shift schedule, but may be called upon for overtime, or activated during your off time in case of an emergency. This is not your standard nine-to-five. It’s challenging and dynamic, and will push your mind and body to their limits.

Should I be a Derrickhand?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Derrick Hand, Derrick Man, Derrick Worker

    How to become a Derrickhand

    Derrickhands often have an Associate's degree or higher. Chart?chd=s:9dcaaa&chl=no+college+%2891%25%29|certificate+%285%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,91,91
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