Moving mountains may sound impossible, but material moving machine operators do it all the time, one load of earth at a time. They use machinery to move heavy materials around building sites, warehouses, ships and mines. Material moving machine operators use a variety of equipment in different settings. Most of these operators drive forklifts moving materials around warehouses, storage yards, or worksites. They may operate conveyor belts to pick up merchandise, and move it to and from large warehouses, building sites and vehicles. Many operators work for underground and surface mining companies digging mines to extract coal, ore and other materials. They load material onto shuttles or conveyors running from a mine to the surface. Some operate platforms and cages that raise workers and materials up to elevated construction sites or lower them down into mines and quarries. In construction, these machine operators clear space for buildings with excavators, and operate cranes to load and unload building materials. Cranes are also used at ports to move cargo, and at iron and steel mills. Dredge operators shift large quantities of sand and gravel from the bottom of rivers, lakes and other waterways so that ships and boats can move freely. Safe equipment operation is a top priority in this field; injury and illness rates are higher than most occupations. Workers wear gloves, hardhats, or respirators as needed. Most material moving machine operators work full time— sometimes with overnight shifts— and overtime is common. Although there are typically no formal education requirements, a high school education may be preferred for some positions, and is often required for crane operators, excavating machine operators, and dredge operators. Some states and cities require licensure for crane operators.
What they do:
Operate or tend machinery equipped with scoops, shovels, or buckets, to excavate and load loose materials.
On the job, you would:
Move levers, depress foot pedals, and turn dials to operate power machinery, such as power shovels, stripping shovels, scraper loaders, or backhoes.
Set up or inspect equipment prior to operation.
Become familiar with digging plans, machine capabilities and limitations, and with efficient and safe digging procedures in a given application.
Engineering and Technology
building and construction
Safety and Government
public safety and security
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
figuring out how to use new ideas or things
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
know where things are around you
imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed
decide which thing is closer or farther away from you or decide how far away it is from you
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
You might use software like this on the job:
Electronic mail software
Industrial control software
Machine control systems
Machine monitoring software
high school diploma/GED or no high school diploma/GED usually needed
Examples of Registered Apprenticeship programs include: