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What You Need to Know About Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator

Job Description: Operate one or several types of power construction equipment, such as motor graders, bulldozers, scrapers, compressors, pumps, derricks, shovels, tractors, or front-end loaders to excavate, move, and grade earth, erect structures, or pour concrete or other hard surface pavement. May repair and maintain equipment in addition to other duties.

Daily Life Of an Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator

  • Push other equipment when extra traction or assistance is required.
  • Locate underground services, such as pipes or wires, prior to beginning work.
  • Compile cost estimates for jobs.
  • Repair and maintain equipment, making emergency adjustments or assisting with major repairs as necessary.
  • Load and move dirt, rocks, equipment, or other materials, using trucks, crawler tractors, power cranes, shovels, graders, or related equipment.
  • Drive and maneuver equipment equipped with blades in successive passes over working areas to remove topsoil, vegetation, or rocks or to distribute and level earth or terrain.

Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator Needed Skills

Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Troubleshooting: Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Equipment Maintenance: Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Types of Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator

  • Grader
  • Equipment Operator
  • Engineering Equipment Operator
  • Mucker Operator
  • Back Hoe Operator

Job Demand for Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 371,100 jobs in the United States for Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 12.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 45,800 new jobs for Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 47,300 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator are Utah, Nevada, and Florida. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Alaska, or Kentucky. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators is somewhere between $31,320 and $84,160.

Salary Ranges for Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators

Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators who work in Illinois, Hawaii, or New Jersey, make the highest salaries.

How much do Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $40,930
Alaska $70,750
Arizona $47,110
Arkansas $36,750
California $73,130
Colorado $49,750
Connecticut $71,060
Delaware $42,820
District of Columbia $61,320
Florida $40,160
Georgia $37,580
Hawaii $78,470
Idaho $46,810
Illinois $77,090
Indiana $58,180
Iowa $48,510
Kansas $41,200
Kentucky $47,930
Louisiana $46,160
Maine $43,400
Maryland $49,560
Massachusetts $67,410
Michigan $52,800
Minnesota $62,770
Mississippi $38,310
Missouri $53,990
Montana $51,580
Nebraska $43,590
Nevada $58,410
New Hampshire $50,230
New Jersey $75,150
New Mexico $44,900
New York $81,930
North Carolina $39,990
North Dakota $55,440
Ohio $56,600
Oklahoma $41,710
Oregon $55,800
Pennsylvania $53,320
Rhode Island $64,820
South Carolina $40,220
South Dakota $44,150
Tennessee $41,180
Texas $41,730
Utah $48,640
Vermont $42,930
Virginia $42,470
Washington $67,260
West Virginia $45,280
Wisconsin $62,540
Wyoming $58,270

Tools & Technologies Used by Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Maintenance record software

How do I Become an Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator?

Individuals working as an Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator have obtained the following education levels:

Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become an Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator?

Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator Work Experience

Who Employs Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators?

Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Operating Engineer or Construction Equipment Operator Industries

References:

Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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