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5 Options for Heavy Equipment Careers

Blog, Crane Operator

With the right heavy equipment training, you can pursue a number of new and exciting careers. Employers are always looking to add more qualified people to their teams, so if you pursue the right training before applying, you can become an ideal and standout candidate from the beginning. The key to snagging these jobs is having a well-rounded education in heavy equipment.

And the best part? You don’t have to go to a four-year university to become educated in heavy equipment use. At schools like West Coast Training in Washington, you can become proficient in your specific craft in as little as four weeks. A heavy equipment training course can allow you to start a new, high-paying career at any age. So which heavy equipment careers can you pursue with certifications you get from places like West Coast Training?

CDL-Certified Truck Driver

Perhaps the most popular and in-demand heavy equipment career is one that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Having a CDL allows you to legally drive a wide variety of commercial vehicles. According to the Washington Department of Licensing, a commercial driver’s license allows you to drive “any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.” Since truck driving, in particular, has only grown in demand, we’ve started with this great, flexible career.

With online shopping increasing the need for products to be transported from state to state, having a commercial driver’s license can be the key to a worthwhile and secure career. As of 2018, the median salary for a truck driver was over $40,000. Truck drivers have a variety of employers they can choose from that can have them driving locally or clear across the country.

To adopt this career, you’ll have to be comfortable driving large trucks on all different kinds of roads. Though you’ll mostly be inside the truck as a driver, you will still encounter many different driving conditions that you’ll need to be comfortable in. Rain, heavy snow, and sleet are all things you’ll likely come across as a truck driver, so being confident and well-trained is an asset in this position.

Crane Operator

If you’re good with your hands and not afraid of heights, you may be interested in a career as a crane operator. A crane operator’s job is to operate a mobile or stationary crane to reposition, unload, and lift loads. These operators are not only responsible for crane equipment but also for inspecting the crane beforehand, knowing its capacity limits, and ensuring the safety of you and all those around you.

As a crane operator, you’ll have to be comfortable using different types of cranes. A few of the most popular cranes you’d be working with are tower cranes, overhead cranes, and mobile cranes. You should be comfortable with all of them after proper training, including cranes that are mobile, hanging over bridges or bodies of water, or even on tall city buildings. This is a job that’s predominantly outdoors in all kinds of conditions. It’s also a career that could require you travel often, so if you’re in the mood to see some new things, this could be a great option for you.

Heavy Equipment Operator (Bulldozers, graders, backhoes, etc.)

Large machinery can be intimidating, but if it interests you more than it scares you, you could be a good heavy equipment operator. As a heavy equipment operator, you have the potential to be hired by many different types of companies, including construction or logging, and by independent contractors. This job requires you to be proficient in transporting and lifting materials while on the job.

You also have the option to specialize in just one specific type of equipment to operate. A bulldozer operator focuses specifically on clearing and leveling land, while a backhoe operator focuses on tasks like digging trenches and loading heavy material. Being able to choose to specialize in one type of equipment is a great option within this career if you find you’re more drawn toward certain equipment rather than others.

Bus Driver

Not all heavy equipment careers require you to travel far away for the job. There are many local opportunities to put your heavy equipment training to use. Being a bus driver is a great career for people who like to stay close to home. No matter where you’re driving the bus, all bus drivers are required to have their CDL before they can get on the road. There are smaller opportunities, like school bus drivers, as well as more full-time opportunities, such as city bus drivers. These careers are important and require you to be responsible for potentially hundreds of people every day.

As a bus driver, you’ll need to be comfortable on various types of roads, including city streets, residential streets, and rural roads. And if you do like to travel or drive for long periods of time, there are bus driving options for that too. Many bus companies provide further routes, such as from state to state, down entire coasts, and even across the country.

Excavator Operator

An excavator is one of the biggest pieces of machinery used on a construction site. Consisting of a boom, stick, and bucket, this machine is drivable and able to rotate 360 degrees as it digs and transports earth. As an excavator operator, your job is to maneuver this large machine, almost exclusively outdoors. This job requires excellent attention to safety and great communication skills.

Because operating this machine is often done while the machine itself is stationary, and while the boom cylinder and bucket are moving around, an excavator operator has to be completely aware of their surroundings, without being able to see in all directions. They’re responsible for controlling the machine and keeping the rest of the crew safe while doing so.

Excavator operators can work for any company that works on the land, but many are hired by landscaping companies. The work is primarily done outside regardless of weather conditions, so if you’re up for the task, a career as an excavator operator could be exciting work.

All of these careers and more are available to people with proper training. West Coast Training takes pride in our instructors’ abilities to prepare our students for their new heavy equipment careers. With extensive training and hands-on equipment practice in the course, a career in heavy equipment could be waiting just around the corner.