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There is no scarcity of heavy equipment operator jobs in the market. If you are passionate about this career field, received training and certifications, and have sufficient work experience, you will easily be able to land a good job with a reputable construction company such as Underground Contractors. To have a long-term career in this field you should know how to operate large machinery, work as part of a team on a busy job site, possess good communication skills and judgment, and have the ability to listen and follow instructions. 

In this blog, we will share with you some valuable tips regarding how you can get started as a heavy equipment operator and what you can do to move up in this profession. Let’s get started.

Be Certain About the Job

As you might be aware, heavy equipment operators earn a competitive income in the construction industry. Top companies are happy to hire operators with experience and skills. However, before you choose this job field or decide to grow in it, it is essential for you to know that working in the construction industry is not for everyone. The job might be rewarding, but it calls for determination and passion. The nature of the work is also quite dangerous. For instance, you will be required to work under different weather conditions, from scorching heat to frigid cold. This is where the importance of safety procedures and trainings, reviews, and reliable equipment will play a crucial part in your decision making when researching construction companies. 

Choose a Specific Area of Expertise and Specialize on a Machine

Now that you have decided that you want to be a heavy equipment operator, the next thing you need to do is determine your area of expertise. It is obvious that heavy equipment operators work with heavy equipment. However, you should know that operators also liaise with coworkers to make sure projects are finished accurately. You could be required to monitor workflow, recommend alterations to improve productivity, and advise line manager of requisite repairs and replacements. The best way of growing in this field is specializing on a machine. You may know how to operate hydraulic truck cranes, bulldozers, backhoes, or forklifts. But it is best to become a master of a specific equipment. Most operators can easily move 150 pounds of dirt from one area to another. However, only a few can cut a piece of grade at a 10th of an inch over a half-mile. If you belong to the latter group of operators, you will become a desirable candidate for top construction companies and earn a handsome salary.

Finding a Construction Company with Proper Training

Being a heavy equipment operator calls for skills and expertise. You cannot just get on an equipment and start using it. You will have to find a construction company with a proper training program to become a certified operator. Since the program will decide what you’re going to learn and how you’re going to learn it, it is essential that you take your training seriously. Seek help from people who are already working as experienced heavy equipment operators with big companies and ask them for suggestions. It is best to join a team that provides you with both written instructions and practical hands-on field experience. Field experience is crucial because that’s where you will ultimately be operating this heavy equipment. Choose a program that offers hours of experience on the field.

Consider Becoming a Foreperson or Superintendent 

If you are someone who has gained sufficient experience as a heavy equipment operator and now wants to take the next step in this career field, we will advise you to become a foreperson or superintendent. These are leadership roles and require qualities such as discipline, experience with different equipment, ability to work with team members, and a desire to obtain longevity in this career field. If you are a new heavy equipment operator or considering becoming one and have aspirations of reaching the level of construction project management one day, start acquiring as much knowledge as you can about different types of equipment and how construction projects come together. Take assistance from people who are already serving the role of superintendent regarding what you should do for the next three or four years and start following their advice. Within these years of work, you will get an idea whether project management level is right for you or not.

Learn on the Worksite

Whether you want to be a specialist or a foreperson, one great way of working towards those goals is, treating your current gig as on-the-job training. If there’s a particular equipment that you want to learn more about or find interesting, get in touch with the operator of the equipment and ask him/her whatever questions you have in your mind regarding the equipment. Be observant and notice what your manager does carefully. Always volunteer wherever you can to take some of the workload from your manager. Your desire to learn and grow in this field will not go unnoticed by your superiors. Plus, volunteering and asking questions will help you gain valuable experience and take you closer to your future goals.

If you want a successful career as a heavy equipment operator, make sure you follow the above-mentioned tips. If you are searching for job opportunities as a heavy equipment operator, you can consider getting in touch with Underground Contractors, Inc. We are a known underground and aerial utility contracting company with decades of experience in the industry. We have worked with big communication providers in the country and completed hundreds of construction projects. All our team members are well-trained and experienced. They have access to state-of-the-art underground and aerial construction equipment to do their job efficiently. If you want to become a part of our workforce, check out the ‘Careers’ section on our website, fill in your details, and we’ll get back to you!