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Construction equipment operators drive, maneuver, or control the heavy machinery used to construct roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures.Duties
Construction equipment operators typically do the following:
Construction equipment operators use machinery to move construction materials, earth, and other heavy materials at construction sites and mines. They operate equipment that clears and grades land to prepare it for the construction of roads, bridges, and buildings, as well as runways, power generation facilities, dams, levees, and other structures.
Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators work with one or several types of power construction equipment. They may operate excavation and loading machines equipped with scoops, shovels, or buckets that dig sand, gravel, earth, or similar materials. In addition to operating bulldozers, they operate trench excavators, road graders, and similar equipment. Sometimes, they may drive and control industrial trucks or tractors equipped with forklifts or booms for lifting materials. They may also operate and maintain air compressors, pumps, and other power equipment at construction sites.
Paving and surfacing equipment operators control the machines that spread and level asphalt or spread and smooth concrete for roadways or other structures.
Pile-driver operators use large machines mounted on skids, barges, or cranes to hammer piles into the ground. Piles are long, heavy beams of concrete, wood, or steel driven into the ground to support retaining walls, bridges, piers, or building foundations. Some pile-driver operators work on offshore oil rigs.
Many workers learn equipment operation on the job after earning a high school diploma or equivalent, while others learn through an apprenticeship or by attending vocational schools.Education
A high school diploma or equivalent is required for most jobs. Vocational training and math courses are useful, and a course in auto mechanics can be helpful because workers often perform maintenance on their equipment.
Education at a private vocational school may be beneficial in finding a job, and the variety of construction equipment that is taught varies from school to school. However, people considering this kind of training should check the school’s reputation among employers in the area and find out if the school offers the opportunity to train on actual machines in realistic situations.
Many training facilities incorporate sophisticated simulators into their training, allowing beginners to familiarize themselves with the equipment in a virtual environment before operating real machines.Training
Many workers learn their jobs by operating light equipment under the guidance of an experienced operator. Later, they may operate heavier equipment, such as bulldozers. Technologically advanced construction equipment with computerized controls requires greater skill to operate. Operators of such equipment may need more training and some understanding of electronics.
Other workers learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. On the job, apprentices learn to maintain equipment, operate machinery, and use special technology, such as a Global Positioning System (GPS). In the classroom, apprentices learn operating procedures for special equipment, safety practices, and first aid, as well as how to read grading plans. Because apprentices learn to operate a wider variety of machines than do other beginners, they usually have better job opportunities.
A few groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:
After completing an apprenticeship program, apprentices are considered journey workers and perform tasks with less guidance.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Construction equipment operators often need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to haul their equipment to various jobsites. State laws governing CDLs vary.
A few states have special licenses for operators of backhoes, loaders, and bulldozers.
Currently, 17 states require pile-driver operators to have a crane license because similar operational concerns apply to both pile-drivers and cranes. In addition, the cities of Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Omaha, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC require special crane licensure.Important Qualities
Hand–eye–foot coordination. Construction equipment operators should have steady hands and feet to guide and control heavy machinery precisely, sometimes in tight spaces.
Mechanical skills. Construction equipment operators often perform basic maintenance on the equipment they operate. As a result, they should be familiar with hand and power tools and standard equipment care.
Physical strength. Construction equipment operators may be required to lift more than 50 pounds as part of their duties.
Unafraid of heights. Construction equipment operators may work at great heights. For example, pile-driver operators may need to service the pulleys located at the top of the pile-driver’s tower, which may be several stories tall.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Engineering Equipment Operator
Top Careers After Engineering Equipment Operator
Hispanic or Latino11.1%
Black or African American0.4%
Engineering Equipment Operator
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
Community College of the Air Force11.8%
University of Phoenix8.8%
University of Wyoming5.9%
Prairie State College5.9%
University of Denver5.9%
Barstow Community College5.9%
Michigan Technological University2.9%
Northland Pioneer College2.9%
Texas Southern University2.9%
Lamar Institute of Technology2.9%
Northeastern State University2.9%
University of Maryland - University College2.9%
Western Illinois University2.9%
University of Massachusetts - Boston2.9%
Engineering Equipment Operator
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Best Concrete Mix Corp.||NY||Mar 17, 2011||$82,576|
|Operating Engineers & Other Construction Equipment Operators||Pct Constructionllc||New York, NY||Aug 07, 2012||$82,535|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Persico Contracting & Trucking, Inc.||Mount Vernon, NY||Mar 14, 2012||$82,534|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Fidelity Industries, Inc.||Wayne, NJ||Sep 22, 2008||$78,909|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Fidelity Industries, Inc.||Wayne, NJ||Feb 06, 2008||$78,909|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Sandman Inc. DBA Star Concrete||San Jose, CA||Nov 25, 2013||$68,474|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Fidelity Industries, Inc.||Wayne, NJ||Jul 16, 2010||$60,606|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Green Gold Development Corp.||NY||May 15, 2008||$60,606|
|Operating Engineers & Other Construction Equipment Operators||Richmond Construction Associates, Inc.||New York, NY||Jul 02, 2008||$56,871|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Thomas Stass Farming||Marysville, CA||Aug 20, 2010||$56,078|
|Operating Engineers& Other Construction Equipment Operators||Copp Contracting, Inc.||Buena Park, CA||Dec 07, 2010||$55,162|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||LKD Realty Corp.||Montgomery, NY||Aug 30, 2012||$52,770|
|Operating Engineers & Other Construction Equipment Operators||Woodcrest Homes, LLC||Jericho, NY||Jun 17, 2008||$51,549|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Zandri Contractor, LLC||Ridgefield, CT||Dec 22, 2009||$50,526|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Fidelity Industries, Inc.||Wayne, NJ||Nov 22, 2008||$49,942|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Saco, Inc.||Crofton, MD||Dec 19, 2013||$46,925|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Olney Masonry Corporation||Beltsville, MD||Dec 10, 2013||$46,895|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Shelton Corporation||Glen Allen, VA||Jun 24, 2008||$33,601|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Total Engineering, Inc.||Aberdeen, MD||Feb 11, 2013||$32,947|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||A-1 Striping & Paving Company||Houston, TX||Mar 12, 2010||$31,514|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Boremasters, Inc.||Wilson, NC||Mar 28, 2012||$31,430|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Boremasters, Inc.||Wilson, NC||Apr 06, 2012||$31,430|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Adrian's Lease Service, Inc.||Mission, TX||Mar 12, 2008||$30,554|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Korando Corporation||Oct 23, 2013||$29,510|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Fehr Metal Buildings||Seminole, TX||Jul 01, 2013||$28,018|
|Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators||Fehr Metal Buildings||Seminole, TX||Jul 03, 2013||$28,018|
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