Career Spotlight

Construction Equipment Operators

Do you think it would be cool to operate a forklift, crane, excavator, road roller, or another piece of heavy equipment? Construction equipment operators are needed on all kinds of projects and get to do just that.

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Construction Equipment Operators

Quick Facts

2018 Median Pay: $46,990/year, $22.59/hour

^^This has the potential to be much higher.

Typical Entry-Level Education: HS Diploma

On-the-job Training: Apprenticeship

Number of Jobs, 2018: 453,200

Job Outlook 2018-28: 10% (faster than average)

Employment Change 2018-28: 44,000

What They Do

Construction equipment operators drive, maneuver, or control the heavy machinery used to construct roads, buildings and other structures.

Construction equipment operators work in nearly all weather conditions. They often get dirty, greasy, muddy, or dusty. The majority of operators work full time, and some operators have irregular work schedules. Some construction projects, especially road building, are done at night.

How To Become One

SENIORS: Our local Operating Engineers apprenticeship office is accepting applications for apprentices during the month of January 2020. Come see Mrs. Mendez for instructions on how to apply.

Many workers learn equipment operation on the job after earning a high school diploma or equivalent, and others learn through an apprenticeship or by attending vocational schools.

The starting pay for apprentices is usually between 60 percent and 70 percent of what fully trained operators make. They receive pay increases as they learn to operate more complex equipment.


Apprenticeships are post-high school training programs that last 4-5 years. During that time, you are learning on-the-job, and in class maybe 2-3 days per month. You make good wages while you’re being trained, and great wages once you’ve completed the training.

>>>Click HERE for similar occupations that involve heavy equipment operators!

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, US Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students can email Mrs. Mendez at if they want information on a specific career. She may even use it in a future Spotlight!