Watching huge bulldozers, graders and earthmovers in action fascinates most people – but only a skilled few can actually operate them. Construction equipment operators use machinery to move earth, construction materials, and other heavy supplies. They prepare sites for major construction projects such as roads, bridges, and buildings, and also mines, dams, and other structures. Construction equipment operators work in all kinds of weather, and often get dirty, greasy, muddy, or dusty. Equipment can be noisy, and make no mistake – safety practices are essential. Communication is key in this field, but typically conducted with hand or audio signals rather than conversation. These workers generally work full time, at times in remote locations. Some projects demand around the clock shifts. Operators specialize in different equipment. Operating Engineers work with power construction equipment like bulldozers, trench excavators, and road graders. Paving and Surfacing Equipment Operators spread and smooth asphalt or concrete for roadways or other structures. Pile-Driver Operators use large machines to hammer heavy beams – called piles – into the ground for supporting bridges, piers, or building foundations. After earning a high school diploma or equivalent, many workers learn on the job starting with light equipment. Some attend vocational schools or learn through an apprenticeship. Most jobs require a commercial driver’s license to haul equipment to jobsites.
What they do:
Operate one or several types of power construction equipment, such as motor graders, bulldozers, scrapers, compressors, pumps, derricks, shovels, tractors, or front-end loaders to excavate, move, and grade earth, erect structures, or pour concrete or other hard surface pavement. May repair and maintain equipment in addition to other duties.
On the job, you would:
Learn and follow safety regulations.
Take actions to avoid potential hazards or obstructions, such as utility lines, other equipment, other workers, or falling objects.
Locate underground services, such as pipes or wires, prior to beginning work.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
use your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
do two or more things at the same time
pay attention to something without being distracted
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Facilities management software
Maintenance record software
Office suite software
high school diploma/GED or certificate after high school usually needed
Examples of Registered Apprenticeship programs include:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
Green jobs will increase the demand for this type of work.