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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.

Texas Construction Equipment Operator Schools

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.

  • Brightwood College: This school has several campuses around Texas, including Arlington. It offers flexible course loads and a work-life balance to help students with commitments to family and/or a full-time job.

  • Vista College: While the main campus is located in El Paso, Vista College has several locations around Texas for those pursuing construction equipment operator training. It also offers financial aid for those who require assistance.

  • Southern Texas Vocational Institute: Located in Corpus Christi, STVI offers several programs and courses for those looking to pursue careers in construction.

  • Brazosport College: Located in Lake Jackson in the Greater Houston Area, this school's construction management program offers a thorough look into the industry for those looking for an in-depth study.

  • Remington College: For those wishing to attend a non-profit school, Remington College may be a perfect fit. Its Dallas campus, like its other locations, provides career-focused training for those looking to excel in the trades.

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.

What to Expect From Construction Equipment Operator Programs

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:

  • Safety courses and related certification
  • Fundamentals of operating heavy equipment
  • On-the-job (sometimes paid) training in construction
  • Management and high-level education about the industry
  • Texas Construction Equipment Operator License

Licensing Requirements for Construction Equipment Operators in Texas

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:

  • Complete an approved OSHA safety course
  • Obtain certification from National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators
  • Special driving license for machinery weighing over 26,001 pounds

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.

Resources for Construction Equipment Operators in Texas

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Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Construction Equipment Operators

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Texas. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Construction Equipment Operators

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.

2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

Metro Area
Jobs
Annual Median Salary
Austin-Round Rock3120 $39,800
Abilene250 $35,080
Amarillo280 $35,430
Brownsville-Harlingen230 $30,730
Beaumont-Port Arthur1070 $49,420
College Station-Bryan200 $36,830
Corpus Christi700 $40,390
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington7970 $40,580
El Paso820 $35,200
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land10360 $44,230
San Angelo170 $38,750
San Antonio-New Braunfels3060 $36,880
Laredo130 $32,860
Longview540 $37,830
Lubbock230 $38,900
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission460 $27,040
Midland500 $43,410
Killeen-Temple370 $35,270
Odessa670 $49,270
Sherman-Denison110 $36,240
Tyler150 $37,330
Victoria120 $37,740
Waco410 $36,360
Wichita FallsN/A $33,820

Sources:

  1. Construction Equipment Operators, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/construction-equipment-operators.htm, accessed October 2, 2016.
  2. How Can I Earn a Heavy Equipment Operator License?, Learn.org, http://learn.org/articles/How_Can_I_Earn_My_Heavy_Equipment_Operator_License.html, accessed October 2, 2016.
  3. Total Equipment Training, http://totalequipmenttraining.com/training/, accessed October 2, 2016.

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