Construction sites are teeming with people running heavy machinery and equipment to bring projects to life. An Operating Engineer is a critical function in construction who operates and maintains heavy machinery such as bulldozers, cranes, loaders, and excavators. In this article, we will look at what it means to be an Operating Engineer in the construction industry, as well as the job description and specifics, genuine facts about the profession, the latest technologies and trends, and how you may become one.
Operating Engineers, commonly referred to as heavy equipment operators, are trained employees that play an important part in the construction sector. They are in charge of operating heavy machinery and equipment safely and efficiently on construction sites to execute duties such as excavation, grading, digging, lifting, and moving materials. Operating Engineers are employed in a variety of construction situations, such as road and bridge construction, building construction, utility construction, and mining operations.
Job Description and Specifics
Your major role as an Operating Engineer is to operate heavy machinery and equipment in a safe and efficient manner to complete construction projects. You may use a variety of heavy equipment, such as bulldozers, cranes, loaders, excavators, graders, and pavers. Excavating and preparing construction sites, transporting and putting materials, grading and leveling land, and operating machinery to create roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures are all possible activities. At Skillit, we consider the four main categories of equipment operators to be 1) Heavy Equipment Operators – Loading / Excavating, 2) Heavy Equipment Operators – Pile Driver, 3) Heavy Equipment Operators – Paving / Surfacing and 4) Crane Operator (of which there are Mobile and Tower).
Operating Engineers are responsible for inspecting and maintaining their equipment, troubleshooting and correcting mechanical difficulties, and adhering to safety norms and regulations to guarantee a safe working environment. To accomplish projects efficiently and effectively, they may also need to read and understand blueprints, navigate by GPS, communicate with other workers and contractors, and coordinate with managers.
The Truth About Operating Engineers
Operating Engineers play an important part in the construction business, and here are some facts about their job:
- Great demand: Because the construction industry is growing, there is a great demand for qualified Operating Engineers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Operating Engineers and other construction equipment operators is expected to expand 10% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the national average.
- Operating Engineers can be compensated well for their abilities and competence. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for construction equipment operators in May 2020 was $48,160.
- Operating Engineers have the opportunity to work on a variety of construction projects, ranging from residential and commercial building to infrastructure and heavy civil projects. This broadens their job experiences and allows them to specialize in various areas of construction. As the demand for green building grows, Operating Engineers are needed on solar and wind sites in growing numbers.
- Operating Engineers can expand their careers by accumulating experience, obtaining more certificates or licenses, and developing specialized abilities in operating various types of heavy machinery. They can also rise to supervisory or managerial positions, where they will lead construction crews and projects.
Latest Trends and Technologies
To remain competitive, Operating Engineers must stay up to date on the latest technology and trends in the building sector. Here are some of the most recent construction technology and trends:
- Telematics and GPS tracking: To monitor the position, movement, and performance of heavy equipment, many construction companies use telematics and GPS tracking systems. This improves equipment use, lowers fuel consumption, and increases overall project efficiency. The sheer size of some new solar and wind projects also demands that operators be able to navigate effectively.
- Drone technology: Drones are rapidly being employed in the construction industry for site surveys, inspections, and progress monitoring. They have the ability to take high-resolution photographs and videos, giving essential data for decision-making and enhancing communication among construction teams.
- Building Information Modeling (BIM): BIM is a digital depiction of a building that helps construction workers to collaborate and coordinate more effectively. BIM software can help operating engineers view construction projects, identify potential disputes or conflicts, and optimize construction operations.
- Construction gear and equipment are increasingly combining modern features such as automation, remote control, and safety sensors. Operating Engineers must stay current on technical advances in their industry in order to efficiently run and maintain this complex equipment.
- Sustainable construction approaches are becoming more common in the industry, with an emphasis on decreasing environmental effect, preserving resources, and encouraging energy efficiency. To fulfill the increased demand for environmentally friendly building projects, operating engineers must be aware of sustainable construction methods and incorporate them into their work.
How to Get a Job as an Operating Engineer
A high school graduation or equivalent, as well as on-the-job training or apprenticeship, are often required to become an Operating Engineer. The general steps to becoming an Operating Engineer are as follows:
- Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: The minimal educational qualification for becoming an Operating Engineer is normally a high school diploma or equivalent. It is critical to have a strong foundation in arithmetic, physics, and mechanical abilities.
- Gain practical experience: Many Operating Engineers begin their careers as apprentices or helpers, gaining practical experience by working under experienced operators. This on-the-job training includes hands-on experience with heavy machinery and equipment, construction procedures, and safety protocols.
- Complete an apprenticeship program: Some Operating Engineers may opt to participate in a formal apprenticeship program that combines on-the-job training with classroom education. Apprenticeship programs, which can last several years, are often sponsored by trade unions or building organizations.
- Receive necessary licenses and certificates: Depending on the state or country in which you work, you may be required to receive certain licenses or certifications to operate specific types of heavy equipment. A commercial driver’s license (CDL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certifications, or equipment-specific certifications are examples of these. In particular, the operation of specialized machines like Cranes and Pile Drivers will often require special training, licenses and certifications.
- Continuously update skills and knowledge: The construction business is always evolving, and Operating Engineers must keep their skills and knowledge up to date in order to remain relevant. Attending training programs, workshops, or acquiring additional certifications in specialist areas of construction may be required.
- Gain experience and advance in your profession: As you gain more experience and competence in heavy equipment operation, you can develop in your career by taking on more duties, specializing in a certain area of construction, and so on.
Operating Engineers are critical specialists in the construction business that are in charge of operating and maintaining heavy machinery and equipment used to complete various construction activities. You can pursue a successful career as an Operating Engineer in construction by receiving the proper education, training, licenses, and certifications, as well as maintaining current with the latest technology and trends. Accept possibilities for promotion and always update your abilities to be competitive in the ever-changing construction sector.
Are you ready to start a rewarding career as an Operating Engineer in the construction industry? Join us and expand your career opportunities.