Summary Report for:
47-2073.00 - Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators
Operate one or several types of power construction equipment, such as motor graders, bulldozers, scrapers, compressors, pumps, derricks, shovels, tractors, or front-end loaders to excavate, move, and grade earth, erect structures, or pour concrete or other hard surface pavement. May repair and maintain equipment in addition to other duties.
Sample of reported job titles: Back Hoe Operator, Engineering Equipment Operator, Equipment Operator, Heavy Equipment Operator, Loader Operator, Machine Operator, Motor Grader Operator, Operating Engineer, Operator, Track Hoe Operator
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Learn and follow safety regulations.
- Take actions to avoid potential hazards or obstructions, such as utility lines, other equipment, other workers, or falling objects.
- Locate underground services, such as pipes or wires, prior to beginning work.
- Monitor operations to ensure that health and safety standards are met.
- Adjust handwheels and depress pedals to control attachments, such as blades, buckets, scrapers, or swing booms.
- Start engines, move throttles, switches, or levers, or depress pedals to operate machines, such as bulldozers, trench excavators, road graders, or backhoes.
- Coordinate machine actions with other activities, positioning or moving loads in response to hand or audio signals from crew members.
- Load and move dirt, rocks, equipment, or other materials, using trucks, crawler tractors, power cranes, shovels, graders, or related equipment.
- Check fuel supplies at sites to ensure adequate availability.
- Drive and maneuver equipment equipped with blades in successive passes over working areas to remove topsoil, vegetation, or rocks or to distribute and level earth or terrain.
- Signal operators to guide movement of tractor-drawn machines.
- Keep records of material or equipment usage or problems encountered.
- Align machines, cutterheads, or depth gauge makers with reference stakes and guidelines or ground or position equipment, following hand signals of other workers.
- Operate tractors or bulldozers to perform such tasks as clearing land, mixing sludge, trimming backfills, or building roadways or parking lots.
- Repair and maintain equipment, making emergency adjustments or assisting with major repairs as necessary.
- Connect hydraulic hoses, belts, mechanical linkages, or power takeoff shafts to tractors.
- Operate equipment to demolish or remove debris or to remove snow from streets, roads, or parking lots.
- Operate loaders to pull out stumps, rip asphalt or concrete, rough-grade properties, bury refuse, or perform general cleanup.
- Select and fasten bulldozer blades or other attachments to tractors, using hitches.
- Push other equipment when extra traction or assistance is required.
- Test atmosphere for adequate oxygen or explosive conditions when working in confined spaces.
- Drive tractor-trailer trucks to move equipment from site to site.
- Talk to clients and study instructions, plans, or diagrams to establish work requirements.
- Operate compactors, scrapers, or rollers to level, compact, or cover refuse at disposal grounds.
- Operate road watering, oiling, or rolling equipment, or street sealing equipment, such as chip spreaders.
- Turn valves to control air or water output of compressors or pumps.
- Compile cost estimates for jobs.
- Perform specialized work, using equipment such as pile drivers, dredging rigs, drillers, or concrete pumpers.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Adjustable wrenches
- Agricultural rollers — Cultipackers
- Agricultural tractors — 20-ton tractors; Tractors
- Air compressors
- Articulating boom lift — Cherry pickers; Hydraulic telescoping boom utility trucks
- Asphalt finishers — Road finishing machines
- Backhoe boom or boom sections — Backhoe attachments
- Bituminous material distributors — Asphalt spreader boxes; Oiling equipment
- Blades or tooth or other cutting edges — Blade attachments; Industrial scrapers
- Blow torch — Cutting torches
- Cargo trucks — Dempster dumpers; Flatbed trucks
- Chip Spreaders
- Compactors — Asphalt compactors
- Conventional truck cranes — 15-ton truck cranes; Truck cranes
- Conveyor rails — Monorails
- Curbing machines — Curb pavers; Gutter pavers
- Demolition equipment kits — Demolition machines
- Desktop computers
- Drain or pipe cleaning equipment — Basin machines; Sewer rodding machines
- Dredgers — Aquatic weed harvesters; Dredges
- Drilling machines — Drill presses
- Dump trucks — Belly dumpers; Heavy dump trucks; Single axle dump trucks; Tandem axle dump trucks
- Ear plugs
- Earthmoving buckets or its parts or accessories — Bucket attachments
- Edgers — Groovers
- Elevating scrapers — Box scrapers
- Extendable conveyors — Extender conveyors
- Flatbed trailers — Truck trailers
- Forestry saws — Treecutters
- Front end loaders — End loaders; Tracked loaders
- Gas generators — Truck-mounted generators
- Gas welding or brazing or cutting apparatus — Gas welders
- Graders — Motor graders; Tilt graders
- Hazardous material protective apparel — Chemical-resistant clothing
- Hoists — Silent hoists; Tugger hoists
- Hydraulic truck cranes — 18-ton hydraulic cranes; Hydraulic boom trucks; Hydraulic cranes
- Jacks — Hydraulic jacks
- Joint cleaning or refacing machines — Shot blasters
- Kettle exchangers — Aeroil propane kettles
- Land drilling rigs — Churn drills; Vertical drills
- Lifts — Ross carriers; Travel lifts
- Light trucks or sport utility vehicles — Pickup trucks
- Loading equipment — Barrier movers
- Manlift or personnel lift — Manlifts
- Measuring wheels for distance — Measuring wheels
- Metal detectors — Utility locators
- Milling machines
- Mobile excavators — Mini excavators
- Mobile phones — Cell phones
- Mowers — Verticutters
- Paint sprayers — Mainline paint stripers
- Paving breakers — Pavement breakers; Robotic concrete busters
- Personal computers
- Pick or place robots — Robotic machines
- Pneumatic hammer — Jackhammers
- Post hole digger — Post hole diggers; Two-man augers
- Power drills
- Power grinders — Grinders
- Power sanders
- Power saws — Chain saws; Circular saws; Concrete saws
- Protective gloves — Safety gloves
- Pulled scrapers — Scrapers; Turn-a-pulls
- Road pavers — Asphalt pavers; Laydown machines
- Rollers for lawn or sports grounds — Turf quakers
- Safety boots
- Safety glasses
- Scrubbing machines — Mechanical sweepers; Multipurpose vacuum catch basin cleaners; Sweepers
- Seeder attachment — Seeders
- Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine — Shielded arc welding tools
- Skid steer loaders — Skid steer machines; Skip loaders
- Snow blowers
- Snowplow attachments — Snowplows
- Sprayers — Runway deicers
- Tape measures
- Telescoping boom lift — Telescopic forklifts
- Threading dies — Pipe threaders
- Track bulldozers — Angle dozers; Crawler dozers
- Track cranes — Roustabout cranes
- Track excavators — Heavy duty excavators; Tracked hydraulic excavators
- Track loaders — Belt loaders
- Trenching machines — Trenchers
- Two way radios
- Vacuum pumps
- Vibratory plates — Vibratory compactors
- Water pumps
- Water trucks — Road watering equipment; Tankers
- Weeders — Weedeaters
- Wheel bulldozers — Bulldozers
- Wheel excavators — Rubber-tired excavators
- Wheel loaders — Scoopmobiles
Technology used in this occupation:
- Facilities management software — Maintenance record software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Time accounting software — Work record software
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Detailed Work Activities
- Update job related knowledge or skills.
- Install equipment attachments or components.
- Position construction or extraction equipment.
- Review blueprints or specifications to determine work requirements.
- Locate equipment or materials in need of repair or replacement.
- Record operational or environmental data.
- Operate pumps or compressors.
- Drive trucks or truck-mounted equipment.
- Communicate with clients about products, procedures, and policies.
- Operate road-surfacing equipment.
- Estimate construction project costs.
- Operate heavy-duty construction or installation equipment.
- Compact materials to create level bases.
- Monitor construction operations.
- Move construction or extraction materials to locations where they are needed.
- Maintain construction tools or equipment.
- Signal equipment operators to indicate proper equipment positioning.
- Remove debris or vegetation from work sites.
- Operate equipment or vehicles to clear construction sites or move materials.
- Assist skilled construction or extraction personnel.
- Select construction equipment.
- Load or unload materials used in construction or extraction.
- Test air quality at work sites.
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 76% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 64% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 64% responded “Every day.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Whole Body Vibration — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 44% responded “High responsibility.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 56% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 48% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 43% responded “Very important.”
- Consequence of Error — 42% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 38% responded “More than half the time.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 48% responded “40 hours.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 40% responded “Very important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 40% responded “Some freedom.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 47% responded “High responsibility.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 48% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 39% responded “About half the time.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 30% responded “Very important results.”
- Level of Competition — 29% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Physical Proximity — 44% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 41% responded “More than half the time.”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|67||High school diploma or equivalent|
|13||Less than high school diploma|
Interest code: RCI
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2015)||$21.44 hourly, $44,600 annual|
|Employment (2014)||363,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Faster than average (9% to 13%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||97,800|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Construction equipment operators . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.
- Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) , 2300 Wilson Blvd., Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22201. Phone: (703) 548-3118. Fax: (703) 548-3119.
- International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) , 1125 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: (202) 429-9100.
- National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) , 3600 NW 43rd St., Bldg. G, Gainesville, FL 32606. Phone: (888) 622-3720. Fax: (352) 334-0932.