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The popularity of heavy equipment careers seems to come in waves – this could be an economic led effect or perhaps an effect brought on by publicity when heavy equipment labor shortages appear. We are currently in a situation where we have both of these effects – an economy that is coming out of a recession and a shortage of heavy equipment operators.
When considering a career as a heavy equipment operator, most people focus on one piece of equipment. You will often hear someone say, “I want to drive a bulldozer”; or “I want to drive a crane”. I can’t help having a little chuckle when I hear the words “I want to drive”. Sure, you do drive trucks and there is an element of driving when it comes to most heavy equipment – but driving is such a small component. The question I always ask is, why are you limiting yourself to a bulldozer?
Heavy equipment careers span a very wide range of machinery and in many cases skills are transferable between machinery. If you can operate an excavator and a front-end loader then you can operate a backhoe – and vice-versa. For this reason, I recommend learning to operate a variety of machinery.
For you, the operator, it makes you far more employable, since you can apply for a wider variety of positions. For an employer, you are far more attractive since you offer employees the flexibility of using your abilities where and when required – this is particularly useful if you are called upon to complete a job where the current operator is ill or injured.
What are the options in heavy equipment careers? There is no limit. Check out any decent heavy equipment training program and they should offer you training on a variety of machinery. Gain as much experience as you can and the sky is the limit.