How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator

The heavy equipment operator profession is one designed around the use and function of equipment such as cranes, bulldozers, excavators, and forklifts. In its most basic form it is simply the day to day operation of heavy equipment. This includes maintenance and proper care of their giant construction and mobility equipment.

Educational Requirements

There are no specific educational requirements for becoming a heavy equipment operator. An individual interested in this field can begin training in the necessary skills straight out of high school. However, most construction teams and similar businesses that use such equipment will only seriously consider an applicant that has been certified in heavy equipment operation via the National Center for Construction Education and Research. There are many educational institutes, such as community colleges, that provide coursework allowing for the acquisition of this type of certification.

Necessary Job Skills

A heavy equipment operator will normally need a commercial driver’s license. Most operators are also required to have a high school diploma at the minimum, though an equivalency is also viable in some instances. General knowledge of how a construction site operates and the usage of smaller construction equipment is a definite bonus. The knowledge of traffic laws, operation and maintenance of heavy equipment, and the awareness of the safety precautions for the hazard are specific requirements. It should also be noted that some states require special operating licenses for specific equipment as well.

Job and Career Outlook

This is an ever expanding job market due to the fact that it requires specialized skills. This job field is a necessity for the maintenance and repair of existing structures as well as the creation of new ones. Heavy equipment operator salaries vary from job site to job site. However, the average salary is $42,540 a year.

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