Construction equipment operators work with heavy equipment, including excavators, loaders, trenchers, and much more. Aside from driving this equipment, they may also transport, clean and maintain it.
These machines are used to clear materials from job sites, as well as deliver construction materials. Equipment operators also grade surfaces to prepare them for roadwork, or erect new homes and commercial buildings.
In addition to learning how to operate the equipment, training courses focus heavily on safety and developing an understanding of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.
OSHA requires that any person operating heavy equipment receive training through an OSHA-approved training or certification program. Before registering for any course, make sure the school and course have the appropriate credentials to be compliant with OSHA guidelines.
Like most trade schools, the goal of construction equipment operator programs is to provide both a practical background of experience in addition to a high-level, theoretical look into the construction industry.
Unlike other vocational programs, a large focus of operating construction equipment revolves around safety for the operator, due to the nature of the work involved. Some examples of courses you can expect from one of these programs include:
For most heavy equipment operators, all that is required is a valid driver's license. However, those who wish to pilot extremely heavy construction equipment or cranes are required to:
In addition, many construction companies want their heavy equipment operators to have a commercial driver's license (CDL). You may not require a CDL to operate the equipment, but operators typically double as equipment transporters -- getting the machine to the job site -- which often requires a CDL.
Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Construction Equipment Operators relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov
Annual Median Salary
|Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land||13640||$47,610|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels||3610||$40,330|