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Become An Engineering Equipment Operator

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Working As An Engineering Equipment Operator

  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Getting Information
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $44,580

    Average Salary

What Does An Engineering Equipment Operator Do

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:

  • Clean and maintain equipment, making basic repairs as necessary
  • Report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors
  • Move levers, push pedals, or turn valves to control equipment
  • Drive and maneuver equipment
  • Coordinate machine actions with crew members using hand or audio signals
  • Ensure that safety standards are met

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.

  • Asphalt spreader operators turn valves to regulate the temperature and flow of asphalt being applied to the roadbed. They must ensure a constant flow of asphalt into the hopper and that the machine distributes the paving material evenly.
  • Concrete paving machine operators control levers and turn handwheels to move attachments that spread, vibrate, and level wet concrete. They must watch the surface of the concrete carefully to identify low spots that need additional concrete.
  • Tamping equipment operators use machines that compact earth and other fill materials for roadbeds, railroads, or other construction sites. They may also operate machines with interchangeable hammers to cut or break up old pavement and drive guardrail posts into the ground.

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.

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How To Become An Engineering Equipment Operator

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:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work
  • Valid driver’s license

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.

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Engineering Equipment Operator jobs

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Engineering Equipment Operator Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    95.8%
  • Female

    3.1%
  • Unknown

    1.2%

Ethnicity

  • White

    81.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    11.1%
  • Asian

    5.1%
  • Unknown

    1.6%
  • Black or African American

    0.4%
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Languages Spoken

  • Carrier

    50.0%
  • Spanish

    50.0%

Engineering Equipment Operator

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Engineering Equipment Operator Education

Engineering Equipment Operator

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Real Engineering Equipment Operator Salaries

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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Top Skills for An Engineering Equipment Operator

SafetyStandardsHeavyConstructionEquipmentDumpTrucksEngineerConstructionEquipmentFront-EndLoadersBackhoeLoaderDozerPreventativeMaintenanceEquipmentOperationSnowRemovalEquipmentMotorGradersFederalJobAirfieldEmergencySuperviseRoadGradersWGGradeGradePotentialHazardsUtilityLinesBobcat

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Top Engineering Equipment Operator Skills

  1. Safety Standards
  2. Heavy Construction Equipment
  3. Dump Trucks
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Monitored operations to ensure that health and safety standards were met.
  • Informed work leader of any vehicle and heavy construction equipment safety discrepancies.
  • Operate dump trucks with trailers for hauling stone, sand, and top soil.
  • Attach snow chains to various types of equipment including trucks, snow plows, graders and front-end loaders.
  • Operated heavy equipment including excavator, finish dozer, loader, and roller.

Top Engineering Equipment Operator Employers

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