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What’s A Derrickman? Job Description And Salary

...Tomiwa Oladipo Published November 2022

What’s a Derrickman?

A derrickman or derrickhand is a drilling crew member who works on a platform attached to the derrick or mast, usually about 20-25 meters above the rig floor. The derrick supports the rig’s drilling assembly.

They are also known as Drilling Fluid Operators (DFO).


What are the duties of a derrickman?

A derrickman:

  • Participates in the erection and dismantling of the drilling rig
  • Assures the integrity of the rig derrick structure, valve position, hoisting systems, circulating systems, and other drilling rig components
  • Carries out safety maintenance, daily inspection, and general repairs of the mud equipment as directed by the Mud Engineer.
  • Maintains mud pits and rig floor and acts as a guide in the mud pump area as directed by the Driller and ToolPusher.
  • Ensures the proper functioning of the tools in the mud, chemical, and pump rooms
  • Assists the Driller and Roughnecks in drilling operations
  • Ensures chemicals (Oil-Based Mud Additives – Water-Based Drilling Fluid Additives) and drilling fluid mixture according to the needs of drilling activities.
  • Supervises proficient loading of liquid mud products on water vessels
  • Prepares necessary paperwork, permits, and risk assessments as instructed by operators
  • Monitors the volume, pressure, weight, density, and fluid levels and adjust pumps and drilling when necessary
  • Optimizes drilling tools, such as rig diesel motors, pump and drilling mud apparatus, mud chemicals, cement, transmissions, additives, etc
  • Supervises safety regulations and takes essential steps in any variation in drilling fluid, mud properties, and mixing pumps.
  • Maintains accurate records and optimal working conditions of all equipment running in the Mud Tanks
  • Ensures correct tools’ calibrations, takes preventive measures on high-pressure pump mud materials, and replaces fluids when necessary.
  • Ensures safe working procedures in the drilling area
  • Controls casing running procedures, including casing fill-up, stab casing, forklift, pumps, mixing, fluid systems, and monitoring systems.
  • Provides relief to drillers when trained and performs other drilling roles as directed by the management.
  • Monitors crew members and ensures all participants properly acknowledge the necessary equipment used in the drilling operations.
  • Ensures all drilling operations comply with Health Safety & Environmental policy and procedures.
  • Actively participate in accident/incident investigations when required.
  • Maintains a friendly working environment with other workers and does adequate management in case of any anomaly.

If you need further assistance in becoming a Derrickman, we're glad to help. Whether looking for available Derrickman jobs that match your skillset or clarifications on the roles and responsibilities listed above, our friendly team at Manup can help point you in the right direction.


What Skills and Education Do You Need to Become a Derrickman?

  • Before venturing into this job, ensure you're comfortable working at heights and can climb, lift, bend, and pull or push heavy loads of drilling mud and equipment. You must also be comfortable working in harsh, often remote environments onshore and offshore. Once you're okay with that, you're good to go.


  • You don't usually need formal qualifications for entry, but having a High school diploma or General Educational Development Test (GED) certificate is best.


Other Job Skills and Requirements

You need the following skills to land your dream derrickman job:

  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Physical and cognitive ability to perform all responsibilities
  • Stamina and good physical fitness
  • Capable of repetitive ladder climbing and comfortable working above the drilling rig floor.
  • Agility and a good head for heights
  • Functional knowledge of drill equipment, diesel motors, mud systems, tripping pipe process, pipe alignments, etc
  • Numerical competence
  • Flexible enough to work for long hours while wearing safety gear
  • Knowledge of all safety and training measures to ensure a safe working environment
  • Leadership qualities for efficient drilling operations management
  • Ability to wear respiratory devices
  • Self-motivated and good work ethic
  • Agile enough to take prompt actions as instructed.
  • Structured and organized mindset and high analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills for effective crew members coordination


Derrickman Salary

The average salary of derrickman is $70,548 per annum. The average salary of a derrickman may vary depending on the location, years of experience, company, and level of education.



Who Does a Derrickman Answer to?

A derrickman reports directly to the Driller, Assistant Driller, or Junior Driller, where applicable. He can also take instructions from the Mud Engineer or ToolPusher.


How Much Does a Derrickman Make?

The average salary of a derrickman may vary depending on the location, years of experience, company, and level of education. The average salary of derrickman is $70,548 per annum.


How Do You Become a Derrickman?

Becoming a derrickman does not require advanced qualifications. But strength and physical stamina are essential attributes in this job.

You must also be comfortable working at heights while wearing a safety harness.

Usually, you’d start working as a Roughnecks (Floorhand) or Roustabout and must be at least 18 years of age to work offshore.

It would be best if you also had a high school diploma or GED certificate with one to two years of related experience and good problem-solving skills.

Besides, you need a good command of English to give and understand oral and written instructions and provide adequate status reports.


What certifications do I need to become a Derrickman?

Required certifications may vary, depending on the location and company. But the following credentials will make you stand out:

  • High school diploma or General Educational Development Test (GED) certificate (minimum)
  • Valid International Well Control Forum (IWCF) Well Control Certificate
  • Offshore survival course certification, such as the Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training Certificate (BOSIET)
  • Necessary Medical certificates
  • Minimum Industry Safety Training (MIST) certificates


How long does it take to become a derrickman?

It takes one to two years to acquire all the necessary training and certifications to become a derrick hand.


Derrickman Jobs Near Me

For more information on becoming a derrick hand or assistance finding derrickman jobs, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team. We're happy to chat with you about how our global energy talent marketplace can help connect you with oil and gas companies hiring for rig workers.

You should also register here to access ongoing projects needing your skillset.