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Career profile Derrick Operator

Also known as Derrick Hand, Derrick Man, Derrick Operator, Derrick Worker, Floor Hand

Derrick Operator

Also known as Derrick Hand, Derrick Man, Derrick Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$33,860 - $69,820 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Education and Training
Core tasks
  • Inspect derricks for flaws, and clean and oil derricks to maintain proper working conditions.
  • Inspect derricks, or order their inspection, prior to being raised or lowered.
  • Control the viscosity and weight of the drilling fluid.
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What does a Derrick Operator do?

Derrick Operators rig derrick equipment and operate pumps to circulate mud or fluid through drill hole.

What kind of tasks does a Derrick Operator perform regularly?

Derrick Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Inspect derricks for flaws, and clean and oil derricks to maintain proper working conditions.
  • Inspect derricks, or order their inspection, prior to being raised or lowered.
  • 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.
  • String cables through pulleys and blocks.
  • Steady pipes during connection to or disconnection from drill or casing strings.

The above responsibilities are specific to Derrick Operators. More generally, Derrick Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.

What is a Derrick Operator salary?

The median salary for a Derrick Operator is $47,920, and the average salary is $50,280. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Derrick Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Derrick Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Derrick Operators earn less than $33,860 per year, 25% earn less than $39,740, 75% earn less than $58,200, and 90% earn less than $69,820.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Derrick Operators is expected to change by 30.0%, and there should be roughly 1,500 open positions for Derrick Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$47,920
Typical salary range
$33,860 - $69,820
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
30.0%

What personality traits are common among Derrick Operators?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Derrick Operator are usually higher in their Realistic, Conventional, and Investigative interests.

Derrick Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. 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.

Also, Derrick Operators typically have moderate Conventional interests. 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.

Lastly, Derrick Operators typically have moderate Investigative interests. 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.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Derrick Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Derrick Operators strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Derrick Operators moderately value 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.

Lastly, Derrick Operators somewhat value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Derrick Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, cooperation, and stress tolerance.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Derrick Operators, ranked by importance:

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.

What education and training do Derrick Operators need?

Working as a Derrick Operator may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Derrick Operators need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Educational degrees among Derrick Operators

  • 17.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 47.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 25.3% completed some college coursework
  • 3.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.7% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Derrick Operators

Derrick Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, mathematics, or education and training knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Derrick Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Transportation
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.

Important Abilities needed by Derrick Operators

Derrick Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Derrick Operators need abilities such as multilimb coordination, control precision, and reaction time in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Derrick Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
Reaction Time
The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
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.

Critical Skills needed by Derrick Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Derrick Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Derrick Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations 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.
Repairing
Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.