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Heavy Equipment Careers – Should You Specialize?

There has been a trend over the years for heavy equipment operators to specialize in one piece of machinery. For example, a bulldozer operator will only ever operate bulldozers and excavator operators only operate excavators. This is fine to some extent, you do become an expert in that piece of machinery. However, when it comes to heavy equipment careers, you are also limiting your options.

On the opposite side are employers, and there is a growing trend among them to have employees that can multi-skill. One area that all operators should consider is adding a commercial drivers license to their skills list. This gives an employer the option of having the operator truck a heavy equipment to a site, operate the equipment to complete the job, then trucking the equipment back to the yard or onto the next job.

You can go beyond that, however. Being able to competently operate a loader, excavator and backhoe – all related machinery – makes you far more employable than someone who has limited themselves to just an excavator, for example. From an employer’s perspective, do they hire three different operators on reduced hours, or one operator full time whom they can move from machine to machine as jobs dictate? The answer’s fairly obvious.

There is nothing wrong with specializing when there is plenty of work around. However, as many operators will tell you, heavy equipment careers have peaks and troughs and it can be hard to survive when work drops away. Being multi-skilled means you will have far more options during these periods when compared to other operators. Heavy equipment careers are very competitive in today’s marketplace. Start by undertaking the best heavy equipment training you can find and then consider developing your skills in a range of equipment rather than just specializing in the one. While your at it, consider adding CDL training to your resume – you will be armed with a complete set of skills and it will make you highly competitive in the job market.

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