Derrick Operators: Salary Overview
Derrick operators erect and position derricks and inspect and maintain the derrick components.
Their job description varies depending on the industry of employment.
Derrick operators who work in the field of gas extraction maintain and operate drilling equipment, mix drilling fluids, and inspect rigs.
Those who work in the construction and shipping industry move heavy materials and equipment using guy derricks and cables.
Salaries for this profession vary depending on the derrick operator’s specialty.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for oil and gas derrick operators was $46,140 per year which means that half the workers in this profession earned less than this amount and half earned more.
Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors, including the level of experience and skills, the industry, and the region of employment.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,270 per year while the top 10 percent made more than $64,460.
The median annual wage for crane and tower operators was $56,690 per year but salaries for this profession also vary widely.
As a crane and tower operator, you can earn anywhere between less than $32,250 and more than $91,840 a year.
Derrick Operator Salary by Industry
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of oil and gas derrick operators worked for companies that provide support activities for mining.
In this sector, the average annual wage for derrick operators was $47,710.
The average annual wage was $47,680 for derrick operators who worked in the field of oil and gas extraction and $33,250 for those who worked in the field of utility system construction.
Crane and tower operators who worked for other specialty trade contractors earned, on average, $71,230 per year.
The average annual salary was $46,080 per year for crane and tower operators who worked for merchant wholesalers of durable goods and $62,260 per year for those employed by companies that provide support activities for water transportation.
Crane and tower operators who worked for iron and steel mills and ferroalloy manufacturers earned, on average, $49,650 per year while those who worked in the field of nonresidential building construction made, on average, $73,680 per year.
There are many other factors that may influence a derrick operator’s salary and experience is one of them.
As an entry-level derrick operator, your starting salary will most likely be somewhere in the range of $30,000-$35,000.
After earning a few years of experience your annual wage will move closer to the 25th percentile, or $38,090.
The most experienced 25 percent of derrick operators typically earn more than $56,030 per year.
As a derrick operator, you can earn either an hourly rate or a fixed salary paid weekly or monthly.
The median hourly rate for derrick operators was $22.18 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics but rates vary between less than $16 and more than $30 per hour.
Total earnings for derrick operators who are paid on an hourly basis vary depending on the number of hours worked.
Wages also vary depending on the region of employment.
The report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the highest annual wages were reported by derrick operators who worked in Alaska, California, Colorado, Wyoming, and North Dakota.
Derrick operators in Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, and Michigan, on the other hand, typically earn lower-than-average salaries.
Wages for derrick operators may also vary depending on the season of the year.
For example, those who operate cranes in the construction field may work more during warm months and face periods of unemployment in winter.
In conclusion, there are many factors that determine a derrick operator’s salary, and if you want to have better chances of finding a better-paid position you should first earn a few years of experience.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Derrick Operators. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.