Someone who wants to become a derrickhand at an oil and gas drilling facility usually starts as an apprentice on the rigging team and works into this position. Oil and gas companies typically have low requirements for entry-level work, such as a high school diploma and a valid driver's license. With experience on the job, personnel can work into higher ranking positions with more opportunities for pay and advancement, as well as increased access to benefits.
Work in the oil and gas industry can require travel, sometimes to remote locations, as well as stationing on offshore rigs to provide services to crews there. A person who wants to become a derrickhand should prepare for travel far from home and potentially limited contact with friends and family in some cases. The work also requires a high degree of physical fitness and tolerance for harsh conditions like extreme heat.
Oil and gas companies regularly list their job openings. Someone who plans to become a derrickhand can pursue job openings and apply for available entry-level positions. The company typically conducts an interview to determine if an applicant is a good fit, and may ask for evidence of physical fitness for the work. If the company likes the applicant, it can extend a job offer. Assignments can vary, and in some cases applicants can request job assignments in specific areas.
While learning on the job as an entry level employee or apprentice, it is important to pay attention to supervisors, especially when discussing safety issues. As people acquire more experience, they can take on more complex tasks. Eventually, they can be assigned to watch and eventually take over responsibilities in the derrickhand position. After someone has become a derrickhand, the job includes assisting the driller with the control of drilling fluids and the lines associated with the drill.
A person who wants to become a derrickhand may find it helpful to pursue some safety certifications before looking for work or while in training as an entry-level employee. These can include training in safety harnesses, working up high, first aid, and handling oil and gas emergencies. These qualifications can make a job applicant more appealing and will be helpful when people are up for promotion. People with more training tend to be preferred, especially when the training shows that oil and gas personnel are committed to continuing safety education to work as safely and effectively as possible.