How Can I Find a Job Using Heavy Moving Equipment?

Learn about jobs that use heavy moving equipment, and find out what training you'll need for these careers. Also, find out if you need to be licensed or certified to work with heavy moving equipment. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Heavy Moving Equipment Job?

A heavy moving equipment job involves the operation of a machine that lifts and transports large and heavy objects from one location to another. Job titles in this field can include conveyor operator, crane operator, dredge operator, dragline operator, hoist operator, industrial tractor operator and underground mining loading machine operator, among others. In these jobs, you would be in charge of the controls on the machine, and you would also be responsible for keeping a careful record of what was moved and where it was transported. In addition to directly operating heavy moving equipment, you would also be responsible for conducting periodic machine inspections and making minor repairs when necessary. Alternatively, you might drive a heavy truck, where you would transport goods long distances.

Types of Jobs Using Heavy Moving Equipment

If you are interested in a job using heavy moving equipment, you may consider the construction and transportation industries. Construction equipment operators work with equipment such as pavers, cranes, bulldozers, dredges or excavators. Transportation workers may operate heavy trucks or tractor-trailers.

Job duties are often related to the type of equipment you operate. For example, if you operate a paver, you pave surfaces. If you operate a crane, you pick up and move materials. As a truck driver you haul materials from one location to another.

Besides the operation of your equipment, your job duties may include inspecting your equipment for operating issues, keeping a log of your daily activities and working with others to coordinate material moves.

What Training Do I Need?

Typically, employers require only a high school diploma. As competition for jobs increase, some formal education may be preferred and give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs. Some technical schools and community colleges may offer certificate or associate degree programs in heavy construction equipment operation. These programs may teach you how to run heavy equipment, safety regulations and maintenance skills.

Many employers offer some type of on-the-job training to teach you the skills and knowledge necessary to operate heavy equipment. Employer training may also include Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training to teach you the standards and regulations imposed by this administration.

There is also the option of completing an apprenticeship, such as the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUEO) heavy equipment operator program ( In an apprenticeship program, which can last at least three years, you receive classroom instruction and hands-on training.

Do I Need to Be Licensed or Certified?

Certification is not usually required, but can be obtained to prove your skills and knowledge. You may consider certification through professional organizations, such as the operating engineers certification from the IUEO or the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators' certification options for crane operators (

If you drive a truck or tractor-trailer, you need a commercial driver's license (CDL). You may need to complete a driver's training program and pass written and driving tests to obtain a CDL, based on state requirements. In some states, crane operators also need a license and requirements are set by the state.

Where Can I Find a Job?

You can find jobs using heavy moving equipment with government agencies, state agencies, oil companies, construction companies and the military. These positions may have long hours during the warmer months of the year and offer little to no work during the colder times of the year. You may work in extremely hot or cold temperatures, weekends and overtime. Exposure to dusty and noisy conditions is typical. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of heavy moving equipment operators is related to the economy, and job prospects may decline when the economy is not in good condition (

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of operating a heavy machine that moves goods from one location to another, you could get a job using an entirely different type of heavy equipment. For instance, as a paving equipment operator, you would utilize equipment that lays down concrete or spreads asphalt for construction projects. You could also get a job as a pile-driver operator. They use machines that drive piles into the ground so that they are in place to support bridges, piers and building foundations. In order to get either of these heavy machine operation jobs, you need to have at least a high school diploma.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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