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Industry Outlook: Well over 2.3 million people currently work in the heavy equipment industry. The relative difficulty and perceived risks associated with labor in the industry also allow more job openings to arise as current workers pursue other options. Growth in the heavy equipment sector stands projected to range from 9% to 19% in the next 10 years, depending on the particular job.
Now hiring: heavy equipment dealers!
Positions and Duties: Complex industrial machinery often needs worked on by qualified mechanics. Mechanics usually work full-time and use protective gear on the job. Service technicians ensure equipment remains operable through inspection, maintenance, and repair. Construction operators handle heavy devices and vehicles on jobsites. In addition, retail sales positions exist with heavy equipment companies and outlets which sell the machinery.
Requirements and Salary Options: Strong hand-eye coordination and high levels of physical strength benefit job hopefuls, as work in the heavy equipment industry often demands lifting and the operation of complex machinery. Aptitude for mechanical work and repairs also relates to the heavy equipment field. Applicants should know how to read technical schematics and blueprints, as well. Some positions may necessitate driving to another location for each project, particularly with large and impractical-to-move equipment. Most employers require candidates to possess high school diplomas or equivalents and occasionally other preparatory courses, although most training takes place on the job. The median pay for construction equipment operators stands at $19.70 per hour. Heavy equipment service technicians earn about $44,000 annually on average, while most industrial machinery mechanics make close to $47,000 per year.
Heavy Equipment Job Descriptions
Technician – Heavy equipment and vehicles often require maintenance, as the malfunction of such complex machinery can cause injury and fatality. Technicians stand responsible for performing upkeep procedures, diagnosing malfunctions, repairing and replacing defective parts, and disassembling and reassembling the machinery. The nature of the job requires the ability to read blueprints and design schematics in order to understand the way the machine works. Many technicians specialize in specific types of equipment, such as farm or construction machinery. Though the position usually only requires the worker to hold a high school diploma or the equivalent, postsecondary education or time at a vocational school may stand expected. Technicians work full-time, log plenty of evening and weekend hours, may have to travel to various work sites, and often must work overtime. The average annual earnings for a technician fall around $44,000.
Construction Equipment Operator – Much of construction requires the movement of heavy building materials or large quantities of earth, and complex machinery aids construction workers in completing such tasks. The individuals who operate the machinery must clean and maintain the equipment, immediately report any malfunctions to a supervisor, understand and execute the operation of the machinery, coordinate the actions of the machine with other crew members via hand movements and audial signals, and ensure compliance with all safety standards. Individuals must stand at least 18 years of age to apply for construction work, and some time in vocational school or as an apprentice may serve as a requirement for consideration. On average, construction equipment operators earn $41,000 a year. Many construction jobs take place in remote locations and, though full-time, feature irregular and unpredictable hours.
Agricultural Worker – Work in agriculture varies greatly, but most agricultural practices require the use of heavy equipment. Though agricultural workers rarely specialize in machinery alone, individuals who do operate the equipment must remain able to work a variety, such as tractors, fertilizer spreaders, balers, combines, threshers, and trucks. Workers operating agricultural machinery generally use the equipment to plow and sow seeds and maintain and harvest crops. Most agricultural work takes place seasonally and greatly depends on location and weather patterns. Agricultural workers who operate heavy equipment make a yearly average salary of $26,000. No formal education requirements prove necessary for obtaining work, as on the job training generally suffices in familiarizing workers with the techniques and regulations of agriculture.