Dredge Operator Job Description
Dredge operators use a dredge to excavate waterways. By removing gravel, rock, and sand, they are able to fight erosion, create new waterways, and widen existing waterways so larger ships can pass through.
Dredges are also used in other environments where erosion is a problem. By dredging a beach, for example, it’s possible to fight erosion by moving sand.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most dredge operators work on mining, construction, and government projects.
Though this occupation can be dangerous at times, advancements in safety equipment have minimized many of the risks.
The working days can be long for dredge operators, which can be tiring — especially when working in poor weather conditions. Most people in this occupation work full time, and there are often overtime opportunities available.
How to Become a Dredge Operator
Dredge operators are trained on the job. Some employers require a high school diploma, but it’s not usually required for jobs in this occupation.
Work experience with other material moving machinery is often preferred, but not always necessary.
Some people learn how to operate a dredge by participating in an apprenticeship. If you’re interested in identifying apprenticeship options, check out the International Union of Operating Engineers website.
There are currently 2,100 dredge operators in the United States, with 90 new dredge operator job openings created each year.
Dredge Operator jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Dredge Operator Salaries
Dredge Operator salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most dredge operators make between $26,000 – $44,400 per year, or $12.48 – $21.34 per hour.