What Are the Different Types of Oil Derrick Jobs?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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An oil derrick is sometimes more commonly known as a drilling rig, and it is a location at which drilling for oil is done. Oil derrick jobs range from unskilled laborers to managers, as well as non-oil related jobs such as catering and delivery. Roustabout positions are entry-level oil derrick jobs that require an employee to do a wide range of jobs on the rig. These are unskilled laborers, and the work they will do will be difficult and tiring, but this position is a great way to get into the field and perhaps work one's way up through the ranks.

Roughneck positions are oil derrick jobs that are one step above roustabouts. A roughneck is likely to be active in the process of installing pipe down into the oil well. Roughnecks must be in peak physical condition, as the jobs they must perform are exceptionally difficult physically, and the jobs can be dangerous. Safety training will be necessary to obtain these oil derrick jobs, and roughnecks usually start as roustabouts that will learn the process beforehand. The difference in pay between the two positions is not very large, but the position of roughneck is a step up in pay grade.


A mud logger is a person who monitors the materials that come out of the bore hole from the drill to form a report on the geology of the area. This is one of the more specialized oil derrick jobs, and a person performing these tasks must be educated; the person usually has at least a bachelor's degree from a college or university. A mud engineer is a person who analyzes the mud being used to cool the drill bit and essentially lubricate the drill; he or she will be responsible for making recommendations about the best chemicals or fluids to be used in specific situations to prevent drill breakdown.

A driller is a manager of the drill team, and he oversees the drilling process as well as the people working on that process. In some cases, a drill is fully automated, so the driller may just monitor the progress of the drill to help prevent damage or setbacks in the process. He or she will usually report to the tool pusher, who is the general manager of the entire drilling operation, both on land and offshore. The driller will often have an assistant known as a derrickhand; this person may have to work atop a drilling derrick to ensure proper positioning of the piping.


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