About the job
Equipment operator is the general term for all careers involving driving, maneuvering, and controlling heavy machinery, including cranes, pavers, excavators, and loading machines.
What you'll do
Although a variety of machinists fall into this category, most operators have similar duties. For example, they must ensure that all equipment functions properly for safe operation. They also clean, maintain, and make basic repairs to machines and are responsible for reporting any problems to their supervisors. To operate these machines, operators need to be able to push pedals, move levers, and turn valves; many of these positions also require special certifications to operate the machinery.
Becoming an equipment operator
Being a machine operator is considered to be a trade career, although some operators learn on the job. Many operators start their careers by learning techniques on smaller equipment or being supervised by a more experienced operator. Machines controlled by electronics and hydraulics require greater skill and possibly certification; however, a large number of operators complete an apprenticeship or attend technical school. The chief requirement to commence an apprenticeship is a high-school diploma or equivalent.
All the other details
Types of operators
Unafraid of heights
What you'll make
In 2017 the average salary was $39,555 with most people making between $30,614 and $44,026.