The highly-rated coach has spent almost a decade at Wolves as part of the club's backroom staff but has taken up the opportunity to once again work with Rams manager Nigel Clough after their days together at Nottingham Forest.
Perkins told the club's official website: "I've spent nine years at Wolves and enjoyed every minute of it. There are some very good people at the club and I'm delighted they have now gone back into the Premier League.
"It was a really hard decision for me to leave but it's a position that's closer to my home and I've known Nigel for many years. It's a fresh challenge for me to look forward to but at the same time there is a lot of sadness at leaving Wolves where I've made many good friends over the years."
Clough hailed his new recruit, telling Derby's official website: "John is a top-class operator. It is a fantastic addition to the club and one we are delighted to have secured.
"He brings with him vast experience and expertise but also a passion for the game and an enthusiasm for finding and developing talented young players. His knowledge of young players in the midlands is unrivalled."