What Does A Snow Plow Operator Do?

Here are examples of responsibilities from real snow plow operator resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Set up and operate production equipment in accordance with current best manufacturing practices and standard operating procedures.
  • Facilitate inter-departmental communication to effectively provide customer support.
Snow Plow Operator Traits
Physical strength
Physical strength refers to one's ability to lift, carry and move physical objects.
Unafraid of heights
People who are unafraid of heights have no problem operating machinery that lifts them far off the ground.
Physical stamina
Physical stamina shows that you are able to exert your energy for long periods of time without tiring.

Snow Plow Operator Overview

When it comes to understanding what a snow plow operator does, you may be wondering, "should I become a snow plow operator?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, snow plow operators have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 10% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of snow plow operator opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 44,000.

A snow plow operator annual salary averages $38,156, which breaks down to $18.34 an hour. However, snow plow operators can earn anywhere from upwards of $30,000 to $47,000 a year. This means that the top-earning snow plow operators make $17,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a snow plow operator, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a highway maintainer, highway maintenance technician, highway maintenance worker, and highway worker.

Snow Plow Operator Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 33% of Snow Plow Operators are proficient in CDL, Heavy Equipment, and Snow Removal. They’re also known for soft skills such as Physical strength, Unafraid of heights, and Physical stamina.

We break down the percentage of Snow Plow Operators that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • CDL, 33%

    Have CDL would drive swab unit to job and rig up and swab well in then turn it over to production

  • Heavy Equipment, 33%

    Drive heavy equipment and vehicles with adjustable attachments to remove snow and ice, and spread salt and sand.

  • Snow Removal, 13%

    Operate snow removal equipment at commercial facilities

  • Hazardous Materials, 4%

    Delivered hazardous chemicals and materials to customers.

  • DOT, 4%

    Operate vehicle following all DOT and company policies.

  • General Maintenance, 3%

    Operated equipment and performed general maintenance on various machinery in a very fast paced environment.

Some of the skills we found on snow plow operator resumes included "cdl," "heavy equipment," and "snow removal." We have detailed the most important snow plow operator responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a snow plow operator to have in this position are physical strength. In this excerpt that we gathered from a snow plow operator resume, you'll understand why: "construction equipment operators may be required to lift more than 50 pounds as part of their duties." According to resumes we found, physical strength can be used by a snow plow operator in order to "experienced in installing equipment such as amplifiers and repeaters in order to maintain signal strength of communication transmissions."
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform snow plow operator duties is the following: unafraid of heights. According to a snow plow operator resume, "construction equipment operators may work at great heights." Check out this example of how snow plow operators use unafraid of heights: "used a company vehicle to remove snow and clear lots, and roadways of over 25 businesses and residential properties."
  • Yet another important skill that a snow plow operator must demonstrate is "mechanical skills." construction equipment operators often perform basic maintenance on the equipment they operate This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a snow plow operator who stated: "inspect equipment prior to operation for mechanical working condition, safety and ensure emergency equipment is in good working order."
  • See the full list of snow plow operator skills.

    We've found that 19.6% of snow plow operators have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 0.6% earned their master's degrees before becoming a snow plow operator. While it's true that some snow plow operators have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every two snow plow operators did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those snow plow operators who do attend college, typically earn either business degrees or criminal justice degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for snow plow operators include general studies degrees or heavy/industrial equipment maintenance technologies degrees.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a snow plow operator. We've found that most snow plow operator resumes include experience from Mammoth Mountain, State of Wyoming, and Dayton Freight. Of recent, Mammoth Mountain had 3 positions open for snow plow operators. Meanwhile, there are 3 job openings at State of Wyoming and 2 at Dayton Freight.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, snow plow operators tend to earn the biggest salaries at Dayton Freight, Des Moines Public Works Department, and Roy Jorgensen Associates. Take Dayton Freight for example. The median snow plow operator salary is $48,907. At Des Moines Public Works Department, snow plow operators earn an average of $46,314, while the average at Roy Jorgensen Associates is $43,922. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies. While Dayton Freight has 2 job listings for snow plow operators, Des Moines Public Works Department and Roy Jorgensen Associates only have 1 and 1 job listings respectively.

    View more details on snow plow operator salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire snow plow operators from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include Verizon Communications, United States Army, and United States Navy.

    In general, snow plow operators fulfill roles in the retail and construction industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the snow plow operator annual salary is the highest in the retail industry with $41,383 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the construction and hospitality industries pay $41,373 and $30,630 respectively. This means that snow plow operators who are employed in the retail industry make 60.8% more than snow plow operators who work in the professional Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious snow plow operators are:

      What Highway Maintainers Do

      We looked at the average snow plow operator annual salary and compared it with the average of a highway maintainer. Generally speaking, highway maintainers receive $3,959 higher pay than snow plow operators per year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between snow plow operators and highway maintainers are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like cdl, heavy equipment, and snow removal.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A snow plow operator responsibility is more likely to require skills like "on-call," "general maintenance," "safety rules," and "job sites." Whereas a highway maintainer requires skills like "air brakes," "road surfaces," "dump truck," and "general care." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      On average, highway maintainers reach similar levels of education than snow plow operators. Highway maintainers are 1.2% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Highway Maintenance Technician?

      Next up, we have the highway maintenance technician profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a snow plow operator annual salary. In fact, highway maintenance technicians salary difference is $6,572 lower than the salary of snow plow operators per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Snow plow operators and highway maintenance technicians both include similar skills like "cdl," "snow removal," and "general maintenance" on their resumes.

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, snow plow operator responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "heavy equipment," "on-call," "hazardous materials," and "dot." Meanwhile, a highway maintenance technician might be skilled in areas such as "highway maintenance," "clean driving record," "cpr," and "equipment maintenance." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      Highway maintenance technicians may earn a lower salary than snow plow operators, but highway maintenance technicians earn the most pay in the professional industry with an average salary of $37,747. On the other side of things, snow plow operators receive higher paychecks in the retail industry where they earn an average of $41,383.

      In general, highway maintenance technicians study at similar levels of education than snow plow operators. They're 1.2% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.0% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Highway Maintenance Worker Compares

      Highway maintenance workers are employees who are responsible for performing various tasks to provide safety and working order to all highways and roads. These workers must visit problematic areas to assess the situation of highways and then perform duties such as paving uneven or damaged highways or painting traffic lines and dividers. They must work during times of extreme weather by operating plows to clear the roads of fallen trees, rocks, or other debris that are blocking the highway. They must also possess the skills to perform repairs on heavy machinery such as salt trucks, blowers, and forklifts.

      The highway maintenance worker profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of snow plow operators. The difference in salaries is highway maintenance workers making $3,439 lower than snow plow operators.

      Using snow plow operators and highway maintenance workers resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "cdl," "heavy equipment," and "snow removal," but the other skills required are very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from snow plow operators resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "on-call," "safety rules," "bobcat," and "maintenance checks." But a highway maintenance worker might have skills like "highway maintenance," "emergency," "backhoe," and "dump truck."

      Interestingly enough, highway maintenance workers earn the most pay in the government industry, where they command an average salary of $32,631. As mentioned previously, snow plow operators highest annual salary comes from the retail industry with an average salary of $41,383.

      Highway maintenance workers are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to snow plow operators. Additionally, they're 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.0% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Highway Worker

      Now, we'll look at highway workers, who generally average a higher pay when compared to snow plow operators annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $1,053 per year.

      According to resumes from both snow plow operators and highway workers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "cdl," "heavy equipment," and "snow removal."

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "on-call," "hazardous materials," "general maintenance," and "safety rules" are skills that have shown up on snow plow operators resumes. Additionally, highway worker uses skills like dump truck, traffic control, public safety, and maintenance equipment on their resumes.

      In general, highway workers reach similar levels of education when compared to snow plow operators resumes. Highway workers are 1.5% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.