WHAT DO EQUIPMENT OPERATORS DO?
Want to drive a bulldozer, work a backhoe, or work with other big machines? You might be ready for a career as an equipment operator. Equipment operators are specially licensed and trained individuals who work on heavy equipment at construction sites. This can be an earthmover like a bulldozer or paving equipment like an asphalt spreader or a piledriver.
Equipment operators make sure that their machines are in proper working order and that all systems are working correctly. They do basic upkeep and repairs and tell supervisors about any malfunctions. When in operation, equipment operators communicate with other workers through hand or audio signals to operate the machines safely.
HOW MUCH DO EQUIPMENT OPERATORS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the median hourly income for equipment operators in 2010 was $18.97, which is $39,460 annually.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Employers are looking for at least a high school education, plus training. Often training begins on the job, starting on light equipment and moving up. There are also apprenticeships available that last 3 or 4 years. There are also schools that teach practical experience for operating heavy machinery.
Licensure is also required for many machines. Some may require a commercial driver's license (CDL), or a crane operator's certification. These rules vary by state and company.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Coordination: Equipment operators need use their eyes, hands and feet at the same time, in a coordinated way.
- Mechanical Skills: Basic upkeep and maintenance means that equipment operators need to be good with their hands, and understand the mechanics of their machine.
- Unafraid of Heights: Cranes and other equipment may be placed many stories in the air. Someone operating this equipment cannot be afraid of heights.
THE FUTURE OF EQUIPMENT OPERATORS
Jobs will grow fast between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS, as the need for new construction and infrastructure improvements continues to grow.