Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators
47-2071.00

Operate equipment used for applying concrete, asphalt, or other materials to road beds, parking lots, or airport runways and taxiways or for tamping gravel, dirt, or other materials. Includes concrete and asphalt paving machine operators, form tampers, tamping machine operators, and stone spreader operators.

Sample of reported job titles: Asphalt Paver Operator, Asphalt Paving Machine Operator, Asphalt Raker, Asphalt Roller Operator, Equipment Operator (EO), Loader Operator, Maintenance Equipment Operator (MEO), Paver Operator, Roller Operator, Screed Operator

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Start machine, engage clutch, and push and move levers to guide machine along forms or guidelines and to control the operation of machine attachments.
  • Fill tanks, hoppers, or machines with paving materials.
  • Control paving machines to push dump trucks and to maintain a constant flow of asphalt or other material into hoppers or screeds.
  • Observe distribution of paving material to adjust machine settings or material flow, and indicate low spots for workers to add material.
  • Coordinate truck dumping.
  • Drive machines onto truck trailers, and drive trucks to transport machines and material to and from job sites.
  • Inspect, clean, maintain, and repair equipment, using mechanics' hand tools, or report malfunctions to supervisors.
  • Set up and tear down equipment.
  • Operate machines to spread, smooth, level, or steel-reinforce stone, concrete, or asphalt on road beds.
  • Light burners or start heating units of machines, and regulate screed temperatures and asphalt flow rates.
  • Control traffic.
  • Shovel blacktop.
  • Operate tamping machines or manually roll surfaces to compact earth fills, foundation forms, and finished road materials, according to grade specifications.
  • Operate oil distributors, loaders, chip spreaders, dump trucks, and snow plows.
  • Place strips of material, such as cork, asphalt, or steel into joints, or place rolls of expansion-joint material on machines that automatically insert material.
  • Drive and operate curbing machines to extrude concrete or asphalt curbing.
  • Operate machines that clean or cut expansion joints in concrete or asphalt and that rout out cracks in pavement.
  • Cut or break up pavement and drive guardrail posts, using machines equipped with interchangeable hammers.
  • Install dies, cutters, and extensions to screeds onto machines, using hand tools.
  • Set up forms and lay out guidelines for curbs, according to written specifications, using string, spray paint, and concrete or water mixes.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • 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 materials.
  • 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.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • 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.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Communicating with People Outside the 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.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • 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.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 14% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 14% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 13% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Whole Body Vibration — 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 20% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 66% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 15% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Telephone — 44% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 29% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity — 29% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 24% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 30% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Consequence of Error — 51% responded “Serious.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 31% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 67% responded “Important results.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 74% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 70% responded “40 hours.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 39% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 29% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 33% responded “Occasional contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 54% responded “Important.”
  • Time Pressure — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 36% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Work Schedules — 38% responded “Irregular (changes with weather conditions, production demands, or contract duration).”
  • Level of Competition — 45% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 22% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 29% responded “About half the time.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 32% responded “Not important at all.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 44% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 34% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 29% responded “Not important at all.”

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Experience Requirements

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 orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

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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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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 41%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required
  • 38%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 21%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • 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 that there is a problem.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
  • 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.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • 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.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

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Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • 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.

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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.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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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.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • 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.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$22.58 hourly, $46,960 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
44,800 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Average (5% to 10%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
5,100
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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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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