Job Opportunities in Heavy Equipment Operations

Even in today’s recession-hit world economics (which many experts say is already on the upturn), there is no marked let-up in the construction business. This means that the increase of job opportunities in heavy equipments operations is still on the upswing.

One big reason for this is that operating heavy equipments is a very specialized job, and cannot be filled up by just anybody. Heavy equipment operators spend considerable time in training to qualify for the jobs.

Nature of work

Heavy equipment operators drive machines that move soil, construction materials, and other heavy objects. There are equipments, too, that clear and grade the ground to prepare for further construction work.

There are also machines that dig the earth or make trenches. Some machines lay asphalt or concrete on roads. Some machines are simple loaders of materials but the size and amount of which need a professional and experienced driver-operator.

In addition to those who drive the familiar heavy equipments (bulldozers, backhoes, road graders, etc.) there are also operators who work on power air compressors, industrial pumps, and various other power machines.

All of these operators were trained for years for these specialty equipments. They are taught how to operate and handle their equipments with all the requisite care and precision. These are necessary because these equipments are huge and accidents resulting from mishandling them are just as huge and costly.

All of them are trained to work with their machines’ controls, moving levers, foot pedals, switches and joysticks. All these controls are power controls, which multiply their capacities into something huge and cannot be handled by simple manual means.

Today, new machines already have additional technology added, including dedicated computers and electronic gauges. Some new machines are now equipped with GPS (global positioning system) to help in grading and leveling construction sites. The additional know-how of these added computer and electronic gadgets have to be incorporated, too, into the training.

Education and training

Many heavy equipment operators learn their skills on the job. Today, there are formal apprenticeship programs that provide more comprehensive training.

Generally, apprentices have better job opportunities than other beginners because they are taught how to operate a wider variety of machines. These apprenticeship programs usually last for three years (or 6,000 hours) of paid on-the-job training. The program also includes around 144 hours of classroom instructions.

These days, there are also private vocational schools offering courses in the heavy equipments operation. Certifications are usually given to graduates of these schools as aid to potential employment. Certifications usually go for at least 3 to 5 years, and must be renewed.

Work prospects

In addition to the regular manpower turnover (leaving jobs, transfers, retirements, etc.), job opportunities in heavy equipment operations will come from the steady growth rise and demand for more buildings, roads, mining excavations, and other construction business.

Studies have indicated that employment in heavy equipment operations will increase to about 8% until 2016, which is also the average for all other jobs. However, the demand for operating engineers and operators will be driven by the demand for new construction work and repair.

This is particularly right in the light of the demand for construction of more roads (streets and highways) and bridges. This is over and above the need for repairs of these public structures that are used daily.

All in all, job opportunities in heavy equipment operation are still growing and still promise a good career prospect. Are you interested?