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Stand Out From The Crowd By Investing In Yourself As An Excavator Operator

by Yasir Asif

Excavator operators are in high demand across various infrastructure and construction projects. With the right training and skills, becoming an excavator operator can be a rewarding career that allows you to stand out from the crowd. This article will provide an overview of how to become an excavator operator and why it’s a wise investment in your future.

What Does An Excavator Operator Do?

An excavator operator drives and controls heavy excavation machinery such as hydraulic excavators and backhoes. Their primary duties include:

  • Safely operating excavators and backhoes to dig trenches, holes, foundations etc.
  • Coordinating with other equipment operators and workers at a construction site
  • Understanding technical drawings and plans to determine excavation requirements
  • Performing routine maintenance checks on the excavator
  • Ensuring compliance with safety regulations and protocols

Why Become An Excavator Operator?

The construction industry is booming with investments in infrastructure and real estate development. This has led to a growing shortage of skilled excavator operators across North America. Here are some of the key reasons why becoming an excavator operator is a wise career investment right now:

  • High Demand – With an aging workforce and fewer young people entering the field, excavator operators are in very high demand. There are often more jobs available than trained operators.
  • Excellent Pay – An experienced excavator operator can make upwards of $35 per hour or over $70,000 annually. With overtime, six figure salaries are common.
  • Rewarding Work – Operating high-powered heavy machinery to build major infrastructure projects is deeply satisfying work. You get to work with your hands and see the tangible results of your labor.
  • Flexible Work Options – Excavator operators can choose to work for construction companies or be independent contractors. The work can involve traveling to different sites.
  • Low Barrier to Entry – Becoming an excavator operator takes just weeks or months of technical training. The costs are affordable compared to four year university degrees.
  • Constant Skill Growth – New excavation technologies, equipment models, safety certifications etc. provide constant opportunities to upgrade your skills.

By investing in the right excavator operator training now, you position yourself to stand out from the crowd for years to come in this high demand field. The career growth prospects are very bright for those willing to put in the work upfront.

How To Become An Excavator Operator

Here is an overview of the step-by-step process to start your career as an excavator operator:

  1. Earn A High School Diploma
    Formal excavator training programs require applicants to possess a high school diploma or equivalent GED certification. Math, physics and mechanical aptitude from high school coursework is useful.
  2. Enroll In An Excavator Training School
    You can find excavator operation courses at technical schools, community colleges and private heavy equipment academies across North America. The programs run from as little as 3 weeks up to 2 years for more extensive training. But most students are job-ready after just a 6-12 week certificate course.
  3. Get Licensed
    Licensing regulations for excavator operators vary by state and province. But most jurisdictions require completing an accredited training program and passing a regulatory exam. Getting licensed also requires clearing any background checks.
  4. Gain On-Site Experience
    Entry-level excavator operators usually start under the guidance of a senior site supervisor. You shadow and assist experienced operators at a construction site while refining your skills. Consider starting at a smaller company for more hands-on experience.
  5. Get Certified
    Voluntary third-party certifications from bodies like the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) demonstrate your advanced competency. Certifications set you apart when applying for jobs and negotiating salaries.
  6. Continue Upskilling
    The best excavator operators continue learning throughout their careers. Take continuing education courses to upgrade your skills. Learn to operate different excavator models, attachments and other heavy machinery. Consider specializing in areas like demolition, pipelines or marine dredging.

The Excavator Operator Career Investment Pays Off

While the process does involve an initial investment of time and money for training, the long-term career prospects make it worthwhile. Beyond the demand for labor, excavator operators also benefit from:

  • Job satisfaction – Operating heavy equipment delivers daily excitement and gratifying results.
  • Career stability – Infrastructure construction projects will provide decades of job opportunities.
  • Entrepreneurship potential – Experienced excavator operators can start their own contractor businesses.

With the right passion and drive, the career trajectory for an excavator operator has virtually no limits. The versatility of the role also allows shifting into adjacent fields like construction inspection, equipment rentals, site planning etc. By gaining competency as an operator early in your working life, you set yourself up for success in the thriving construction industry.

Ready To Invest In Yourself As An Excavator Operator?

Becoming an excavator operator is the perfect fast track into a well-paying construction career. The work delivers immense satisfaction while allowing you to stand out from the crowd with specialized skills. With demand for operators on the rise for decades to come, the career investment promises excellent returns.

visit Operator School for more details on accredited training programs, financing options, career guidance and job assistance to graduates. The instructors have decades of real-world experience to equip you with job-ready excavation skills. Contact Operator School today to schedule a campus tour and jumpstart your career!

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