Construction Equipment Operators: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
A high school diploma or equivalent is required for most jobs. Vocational training and math courses are useful, and a course in auto mechanics can be helpful because workers often perform maintenance on their equipment.
Training Required
Many workers learn their jobs by operating light equipment under the guidance of an experienced operator. Later, they may operate heavier equipment, such as bulldozers. Some construction equipment with computerized controls requires greater skill to operate. Operators of such equipment may need more training and some understanding of electronics.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 12% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Construction equipment operators often need a commercial drivers license (CDL) to haul their equipment to various jobsites. State laws governing CDLs vary.
Median pay: How much do Construction Equipment Operators make?
$45,040 Annual Salary
$21.65 per hour

Construction equipment operators drive, maneuver, or control the heavy machinery used to construct roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures.

What do Construction Equipment Operators do?

Construction equipment operators typically do the following:

  • Clean and maintain equipment, making basic repairs as necessary
  • Report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors
  • Move levers, push pedals, or turn valves to control equipment
  • Drive and maneuver equipment
  • Coordinate machine actions with crew members using hand or audio signals
  • Follow safety standards

Construction equipment operators use machinery to move construction materials, earth, and other heavy materials at construction sites and mines. They operate equipment that clears and grades land to prepare it for the construction of roads, bridges, and buildings, as well as runways, power generation facilities, dams, levees, and other structures.

The following are examples of types of construction equipment operators:

Careers for Construction Equipment Operators

  • Angle dozer operators
  • Asphalt pavers
  • Asphalt paving machine operators
  • Asphalt roller operators
  • Asphalt tamping machine operators
  • Blacktop-paver operators
  • Blade grader operators
  • Bulldozer operators
  • Concrete paving machine operators
  • Diesel pile hammer operators
  • Ditching machine operating engineers
  • Grader operators
  • Hydraulic pile hammer operators
  • Hydraulic press-in operators
  • Motor grader operators
  • Operating engineers
  • Paver operators
  • Paving and surfacing equipment operators
  • Paving equipment operators
  • Pile-driver operators
  • Road graders
  • Scraper operators
  • Screed operators
  • Steam shovel operating engineers
  • Steam shovel operators
  • Surfacing equipment operators
  • Tamping equipment operators
  • Vibratory pile drivers

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