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Do I Need an Excavator License to Operate an Excavator?

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Do I Need an Excavator License to Operate an Excavator?

An excavator is one of the many important pieces of heavy equipment within the construction industry. If you’ve found yourself looking at all the bountiful work opportunities and plenty of room for growth within the field, you may be wondering what skills or certifications you’ll need in order to get in the driver’s seat.

In Washington State, you don’t need to go out and get an excavator license in order to get a job working with an excavator. That being said, many employers do have other requirements when it comes to their prospective hires. If you take the time to learn about the field, get some training, and earn the credentials, you can present yourself in the best light possible.

What Is an Excavator?

You can probably figure out what an excavator does by looking at the name alone—it excavates! What you might not be familiar with is what kinds of projects they are used on. Consisting of a bucket, boom dipper, and a cab where the operator controls the action, an excavator is functionally a giant shovel. Often, you’ll see them on construction projects digging holes or trenches, moving materials like sand or gravel, aiding with demolition where needed, and helping with large-scale landscaping.

They see a wide variety of use within the construction industry, although they’re not limited to it. Outside of construction, you’ll also see them used by forestry services and mining operations and even employed to help remove massive quantities of snow. Anywhere there are holes that need digging or materials that need moving, you’re likely to find an excavator hard at work. With all that opportunity, plenty of people want to get their hands on any kind of excavator qualifications they can.

What Are the Requirements to Operate One?

While you don’t need to get a specific excavator license in order to operate one, you’ll find that many employers have their own requirements and preferred skills when looking for someone to operate one. Age is the biggest and most common limiting factor, as per federal law, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to operate heavy equipment.

After that, they tend to look at your education history. Most employers will be happy with a high school diploma or GED, but any aptitude or interest you can demonstrate in mechanics or engineering can certainly help make yourself a more attractive candidate.

Finally, you may not need an excavator license, but you will need a valid driver’s license. Some employers or states may have higher requirements, requiring a commercial driver’s license about other heavy equipment credentials, so be sure to check the job description when applying.

Where Can I Learn More?

Just because you don’t need an excavator license, that doesn’t mean you should come into the industry blind. If you want a running start in your career working with heavy construction equipment, consider signing up for one of our training courses. At West Coast Training, we’re dedicated to preparing the next generation of heavy equipment operators for long and successful careers. So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today.