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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

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • 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.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Dump trucks — Belly dumpers; Heavy dump trucks; Single axle dump trucks; Tandem axle dump trucks
Front end loaders — End loaders; Tracked loaders
Hydraulic truck cranes — 18-ton hydraulic cranes; Hydraulic boom trucks; Hydraulic cranes
Land drilling rigs — Churn drills; Vertical drills
Power saws — Chain saws; Circular saws; Concrete saws
Scrubbing machines — Mechanical sweepers; Multipurpose vacuum catch basin cleaners; Sweepers
Skid steer loaders — Skid steer machines; Skip loaders
Water trucks — Road watering equipment; Tankers

Technology used in this occupation:

Facilities management software — Maintenance record software
Time accounting software — Work record software

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Knowledge

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.

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Skills

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.

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Abilities

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.

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Work Activities

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.

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Work Context

Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in an open vehicle or equipment (e.g., tractor)?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
Exposed to Whole Body Vibration — How often does this job require exposure to whole body vibration (e.g., operate a jackhammer)?

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Job Zone

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)

There are 4 recognized apprenticeable specialties associated with this occupation:
Elevating-Grader Operator; Operating Engineer; Operating Engineer; Motor-Grader Operator

To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities, please consult the U.S. Department of Labor State Apprenticeship Information external site website.

For general information about apprenticeships, training, and partnerships with business, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship external site website.

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
67   High school diploma or equivalent Help
18   Post-secondary certificate Help
13   Less than high school diploma

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Interests

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.

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Work Styles

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.

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Work Values

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.

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Related Occupations

47-2071.00 Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators
47-2072.00 Pile-Driver Operators   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook  
47-2151.00 Pipelayers
47-4051.00 Highway Maintenance Workers
47-4061.00 Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators   Green Occupation Green
49-9012.00 Control and Valve Installers and Repairers, Except Mechanical Door
51-4032.00 Drilling and Boring Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic Green Occupation
53-7021.00 Crane and Tower Operators
53-7032.00 Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators
53-7033.00 Loading Machine Operators, Underground Mining

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages (2012) $20.13 hourly, $41,870 annual
Employment (2012) 351,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Faster than average (15% to 21%) Faster than average (15% to 21%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 144,400
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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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.

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