Material Moving Machine Operator Job Description
Material moving machine operators use machinery to move objects from one place to another. Some operators work in construction, where they move materials around a building site. Others may work in a warehouse, where they move materials into the warehouse or onto trucks.
There are many types of material moving machine operators, each of which are highly specialized. Here are a few of the most common types of operators:
Dredge operators remove gravel, sand, and rocks from waterways to prevent erosion. By removing materials from the waterways, larger ships are able to pass through, allowing for improved trade. In some cases, dredging is also used to reduce erosion on beaches.
Excavating machine operators use machines that have shovels or scoops like bulldozers, excavators, and backhoes. These machines are commonly used on construction and mining sites to dig up sand and dirt from the earth and move it to another location.
Crane operators use cable and tower equipment to move heavy materials like machinery. Because the cranes are high in the air, these operators rely on a team of other workers to help them navigate the crane. These operators are commonly employed at large construction sites and ports.
Mining machine operators work in mines, where they use power shovels and other equipment with scrapers or scoops to move ore, rocks, or coal from the mine to the surface.
This can be a dangerous occupation. Operators who work on large machines work at great heights, and all operators have to work in all types of weather. Wearing safety equipment like hard hats and respirators is sometimes required. As technology continues to improve, these positions become less dangerous.
The majority of material moving machine operators work full time. Working overtime may be required during busy seasons or as deadlines approach. Some projects operate around the clock, and operators may need to work on nights and weekends.
How to Become a Material Moving Machine Operator
Some employers prefer to hire candidates with a high school diploma, but there are rarely any educational requirements for becoming a material moving machine operator. Work experience is normally much more valuable than education in this field.
Most operators are trained on the job. The length of the training varies depending on the complexity of the machine and the experience that the operator has. Most operators are trained in a month or less. In training, new operators work under the supervision of an advanced operator who teaches them how to operate the machine and any safety precautions that they need to take.
There are some apprenticeship programs available for people in this occupation. Apprenticeships normally include both classroom training and paid on the job training. You can learn more about apprenticeship and other training opportunities on the International Union of Operating Engineers website.
Working on a large machine requires extensive experience and training. For example, to become a crane operator, workers need to have many years of experience. In some states, crane operators also need to be licensed. Licensing normally includes passing an exam and performing a skills test.
There are currently material moving machine operators in the United States, with new material moving machine operator job openings created each year.
Material Moving Machine Operator jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Material Moving Machine Operator Salaries
Material Moving Machine Operator salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most material moving machine operators make between per year, or per hour.