If you ever worked on a drilling rig then you know how demanding a Derrickman’s job can be. Not only do they man handle drill pipe at the top of the derrick, but they work the rig’s Mud, regularly lifting heavy loads. Since Derrickmen are second in rank after the driller, they are also partly responsible for the rig crew below them. So, what can a Derrickman expect to earn for all of their hard work? To find out, continue on the page below. We will take a look at the average Derrickman salary before we breakdown their earnings according to key areas of interest. After we understand what they make and where, we will finally highlight their basic entry level requirements. (Note: Average Derrick Man Salaries are currently on the rise)
Salaries by State
The average salary for Derrickmen in the U.S. totals close to $47,000 per year. Since this is known to vary according to location and demand, let’s take a look at some areas that typically pay more.
The average salary for a Derrickman in California is reported to be $50,000 per year. So what is it about California that makes their average a bit higher? Most likely the cost of living and the recent spike in demand. California’s San Joaquin Basin has had a jump in employment due to newly released estimates of recoverable oil and natural gas. In fact, Central California’s “Monterey Formation” has been found to hold 3.5 billion barrels of oil and 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
North Dakota and Montana are two more states that have reported Derrick man salaries above the national average. Posting average salaries of roughly $48,000 per year, these cold weather states are experiencing high levels of demand. In truth, many oil rig jobs in the North have been booming as the Bakken Shale play attracts new talent from across the United States. Recent surveys have shown that the Bakken formation most likely holds 4 billion barrels of oil and 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Derrickman salaries in New York are much higher than the national average coming in at $53,000 per year. Pennsylvania on the other hand averages a bit lower rounding out to $45,000 more or less. Clearly New York’s higher demand and increased cost of living have resulted in better salaries for those working in the state. Opportunities in the area are also on the rise as development of the Marcellus formation has brought more rigs into the region. The latest release from the USGS forecasts close to 144 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in reserve.
Virginia and West Virginia pay Derrickmen slightly more than the national average with surveys reporting salaries of approximately $48,000 per year. This is likely due to development of the Utica Shale formation which is geographically larger than the Marcellus nearby. Although the Marcellus is currently estimated to hold 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, most expect future development to produce much more than these projections. In sum, the area’s anticipated growth looks like a great opportunity for anyone trying to get started in one of these dynamic Derrickman Jobs.
To get started as a Derrickman you must meet a number of entry level requirements. First and foremost, employers require Derrickman to be in excellent physical condition. This is because climbing up and down the derrick takes its toll over time, especially when added to tasks like roping pipe and moving Mud products. The second requirement that employers often cite is the ability to use common tools both safely and responsibly. Tools are extensively used out on the rig and there is little patience in the field for on the job training. And the third requirement (which is sometimes assumed) is that applicants must have completed high school or have a high school equivalent.
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