What does a construction equipment operator do?
Construction equipment operators operate many different types of construction equipment such as bulldozers, tractors, scrapers, and pile drivers. Some equipment is used to clear and prepare land for building a variety of structures and others is used to dig trenches for pipes and sewers. They use machines to raise heavy construction materials and spread concrete and asphalt on roads and other structures. Construction equipment operators also inspect equipment, perform maintenance and minor repairs, and make necessary adjustments. They maneuver the equipment using foot pedals, levers, joysticks, and operating switches.
What kind of training does a construction equipment operator need?
Construction equipment operators must have at least a high school diploma. Many learn their skills on the job and some complete formal apprenticeship programs. Courses in mechanical drawing, science, and mechanics are very helpful. Apprenticeship programs usually take at least 3 years to complete and involve classroom instruction and on the job training. Construction equipment operators that complete apprenticeship programs often have better job opportunities. Some private vocational schools also offer construction equipment operation programs. Construction equipment operators usually obtain a commercial driver’s license to enable them to transport their equipment to many different job sites. They must stay up to date on current technological advancements and safety procedures and they often complete continuous training throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a construction equipment operator?
Employment of construction equipment operators is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Population and business growth and increase in construction projects will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for construction equipment operators with extensive experience and can use a variety of equipment. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace construction equipment operators that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do construction equipment operators make?
As of October 2009, construction equipment operators with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $11.86 and $17.42. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average hourly rates between $13.62 and $19.43 (2).
A career as a construction equipment operator is a great choice for people who are interested in the construction field and enjoy operating a variety of equipment. Construction equipment operators must have a strong mechanical aptitude and be in good physical condition. They need a great sense of balance, eye-hand-foot coordination, and ability to judge distances. They must also have great communication skills because they interact with many different workers. They must be able to work safely and efficiently in less desirable and often dangerous conditions.