Type in a career question:

How to become a Heavy Equipment Operator?

1 Answer(s)
Top Answer
Talent.com talent.com
Answered September 22 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
Most Heavy Equipment Operator positions require a minimum of 1-3 years of work experience within a related industry, including one to two years of experience operating heavy equipment in a construction environment. Other associated positions require up to 5 years of work experience—including 3 to 5 years of experience with heavy equipment and at least two years of experience working outdoors year-round.  
Heavy Equipment Operators also need to demonstrate a thorough understanding of municipal, state, and national traffic laws, construction codes and regulations, health and safety standards, and ground disturbance permits and processes. Health and safety training, including first aid training, is often preferred.  
Depending on the municipality in which they work, many Heavy Equipment Operators require that you have a license to operate equipment or transport it to job sites. Some states require a commercial driver's license (CDL) to haul machinery. Pile-driver operators need a crane license in some cities and states.
Finally, Heavy Equipment Operators must be able to work flexible schedules, including night shifts and working outdoors in all weather conditions. They also need a valid driver's license and a good driving record, as well as a reliable means of transportation, to get themselves to job sites within their designated area.  
What can help you become a Heavy Equipment Operator
Becoming a Heavy Equipment Operator starts with thorough training. Whether the skills are picked up on the job or come with time and experience, we think this list includes a few competencies that professionals should consider obtaining.  
  • Creating communication strategies with coworkers, including the ability to interpret and use hand signals. 
  • Ability to work courteously with the public. 
  • Interpreting technical documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, construction specifications, and procedure manuals. 
  • Organizational and time management skills.  
  • Prioritizing and planning work activities to manage time efficiently while managing a high volume of work.  
  • Multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. 
  • Able to maintain accurate records.  
  • Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. 
  • Approaching tasks in a reliable, resourceful, and safety-oriented manner. 
  • Identifying issues and critical hazards and resolving problems promptly. 
  • Able to exercise mature judgment. 
  • Exceptional attention to detail with a strong focus on safety.  
  • Compliancy with all established safe practices (e.g., 3-point contact, lockouts, and secure parking) 
  • Regularly questioning what could go wrong and learning to anticipate potential problems. 
  • Recognizing how to prevent potential hazards and obstructions (e.g., utility lines, other equipment, other workers, and falling objects). 
  • Manual dexterity, motor coordination, and physical strength. 
  • Demonstrating good eye-hand-foot coordination and excellent eyesight. 
  • Able to move around construction sites and to lift or carry objects weighing up to 50 pounds. 
  • Able to stand, crouch, kneel, and bend for extended periods. 
  • Being comfortable working at heights and outdoors.