What does a Construction Equipment Operator do?

Median Pay $46,080
Growth Rate 12%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A construction equipment operator works on construction sites and operate the heavy machinery required to build structures and roads. They may spend a great deal of time outdoors, though would be protected by the elements when inside the equipment they are operating.

How to Become a Construction Equipment Operator

how to become a construction equipment operator

Most construction equipment operators learn on-the-job after earning a high school diploma or GED. Some learn how to operate this heavy-duty equipment at a trade school or through an apprenticeship program. According to O*NET OnLine, over 65% of those surveyed held a high school diploma and close to 20% have earned a post-secondary certificate after high school.

There are a few construction equipment operators (less than 15%) who have less than a high school diploma. In high school, taking any auto shop classes (if available) is helpful as some workers may perform general maintenance or small repairs at job sites if able.

Job Description of a Construction Equipment Operator

No matter the equipment these operators are driving or working, construction equipment operators must ensure they keep their equipment in working order – this means they would clean the equipment and maintain it. This is necessary not only for safety, but also to minimize lost time at a job site. They must also be good verbal and non-verbal communicators as they often need to communicate quick messages via hand signals and vocal commands.

Being a good team member is vital as construction crews work in unison to accomplish the task at hand together. An equipment operator’s role may be to move earth or other heavy materials to and from the construction site. They may also prepare a job site by clearing debris or other material so other workers or equipment can access the location.

There are also various types of construction equipment operators and a person may be skilled at operating multiple types depending on the job requirements.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Construction Equipment Operators.

National Center for O*NET Development. 47-2073.00. O*NET OnLine.