The Pros and Cons of Entering into Heavy Equipment Operations

Machines such as the excavators, bulldozers, and cranes are large and complicated, which requires that special training and skills be acquired before operating them. This field of work is very popular among people with a desire to operate large machinery and equipment with elements of danger and risk at worksites such as construction sites, mines, forests, and others. If you are a person who wants to get a job in which you will be able to operate large equipment, then a heavy equipment operator might be the perfect job for you. Here are the details in relation to training, skills, role, and job opportunities of heavy equipment operators.

Getting the Required Training

Experience is essential but to become a professional one, certification through accredited heavy equipment operator training school is mandatory. Certification although not mandatory as a rule shows the employer that you have the right knowledge and skills. There are a few potential paths to getting trained:There are a few potential paths to getting trained:

Trade schools and community colleges

There are many trade and technical schools that offer heavy equipment operation that take from several weeks to two years of study depending on the school and level of education of the student. It is possible to speak about receiving a basic operator certification in a few months. More comprehensive diploma or associate’s degree programs help you learn a broader set of competencies, not only in terms of operating different machines.


The other way is to seek the company that offers apprentice for heavy machine usage is another better way. It involves arrangements whereby apprentices are paid for performing a definite type of work and at the same time learning from experienced operators. Internship provide continuity of work experience before setting up an individual business on your own. They last for an average of 3 years, although this depends on the rate of deterioration of the product.

On-the-Job Training

It is possible to find some firms that are ready to employ operators that have no working experience and teach them from scratch. This help to eliminate the extra cost of school attending. However, most of the employers most who want on-on job training still expect the trainee to have some prior working experience of the equipment.

Gaining the Essential Skills

Using large equipment is never easy and it involves great deal of effort. Here are some of the most crucial skills and abilities needed:Here are some of the most crucial skills and abilities needed:

Machine Operation and Control

Of course, the first and foremost important component of the job is the knowledge of operation, proper technique, and coordination required to operate various and sundry pieces of equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, scrapers, cranes, etc. Some of the features highlighted include smooth control, quick responses, use of attachments, among others.

Spatial Perception 

Important during batting is the ability to develop some great spatial acuity together with depth perception. Manoeuvring equipment requires an operator to have adequate perception and understanding of distance and clearances both in confined and risky spaces. 

Technical Understanding

Understanding various mechanical, hydraulic, electrical and other systems on which the equipment depends is useful when it comes to performing routine service checks and repair simple faults.

Math and Physics Skills

Mathematical and physics understandings are very important when determining load weights and their bearing capacities, angles for maneuvering, and limitations on digging depth and many others. 

Attention to Safety

They found that heavy machinery has numerous safety hazards that need to be addressed. Operators should fully commit to SOSP and HSAs to ensure that they work as intended without any distractions.

Responsibilities on the Job

Should you pass through your training and be employed as a heavy equipment operator, what type of job or tasks will you be performing? Here are some examples:

Pre-Operation Inspection

Conducting inspection of the equipment and attachments during walk-around before startup. Ensuring all the systems are fit to run or operate.

General Operation 

The predominant task – to operate the machine correctly, efficiently, and without harm to the machine and/or the self, and perform the needed operation of moving earth, materials or other work.

Load Weight Estimation

These are determining approximate weights of loads that should be lifted by cranes or other types of lifting equipments and ensuring that they do not exceed the specified weight limits that should not be exceeded when handling loads to avoid accidents.

Basic Preventative Maintenance

Performing standard tune-ups and check-ups, simple servicing, and repair work such as oiling, fluid exchange and replacement of components.

Transport Prep

Whenever there is a need to move machines within the premises of jobs or to other premises, before over-land transport or when loading to haulage vehicles.

Record Keeping

Operational records including number of hours worked on the machines, the progress made on projects, operating statistics, maintenance activities, safety incidences if any, and any other record. 

Site Cleanliness 

Maintaining worksite cleanliness; removing any construction material remains, them clearing obstacles and ensuring that the equipment lay down area is well arranged.

Occupational Projections for Operating Engineers

It is especially good news that there is significant demand for professionals who can operate heavy machinery in many thriving industries. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported a 7% employment increase projected for excavating and loading machine operators over the next decade, which is above average when compared to other occupations. It will be also be easy to fill many vacancies that will be created by the aging population of the operators. Formal training credentials and apprenticeship experience will place you in a good position for securing these high paying, secure jobs of operating some very exciting machines.

Some of the areas that the article touches include the available training programs, the skills that a candidate must possess, an insight into daily responsibilities and the outlook for heavy equipment operator career paths. If you want me to tailor the article in a certain way or add more information, please let me know.