Becoming a heavy machine operator can change the course of your life. If you’re a thorough, detail-orientated individual who enjoys seeing construction (or demolition) projects take shape with your diligence and hard work, then look no further for a program that can also jump-start your earning potential. You might find yourself asking, “What does it take to be a heavy machine operator?” and an answer can be found on our website.
You also may find yourself wondering what a heavy machine operator really does. A heavy machine operator controls or drives construction equipment, including cranes, forklifts, bulldozers, cargo and dump trucks, among others. They use this equipment to aid in the building of public and private infrastructure, including buildings, roads, and bridges.
Think of these types of heavy machinery as an extension of your body. With each coordinated movement with your hands and feet, you’re operating a massively heavy component of a machine. Can you imagine keeping your cool doing so in a small or narrow area? Operating and controlling construction equipment often means maintaining it and verifying it’s in safe, working order. Good mechanical skills are essential for this occupation. To find out more about the work you can do with this certification, read on to learn about five things you can do as a heavy machine operator.
1. You Can Operate a Mobile Crane
A mobile crane has the advantage of giving operators the capacity to move more freely than with a tower crane, which is fixed to the ground at the site of a build. A mobile crane can move around the singular construction site or from one project’s site to another. Operating a mobile crane means that you’re moving heavy equipment, such as concrete or steel, from one spot to another.
They’re also used for moving machinery, like generators or motors and, of course, lifting and moving heavy materials. There are various attachments that can be used to increase the lifting and reaching capability of the mobile crane. Before you work as a crane operator, you’ll learn all the gears and how to shift and secure the load from inside the cabin. You’ll be in charge of guaranteeing the materials and equipment go where they’re needed so the build can get underway smoothly.
2. You Can Direct a Tower Crane
Working a tower crane is similar to working a mobile crane in the sense that you’re tasked with moving materials and equipment around the jobsite, with the primary difference being that you are stationary and have a limited spatial capacity for moving the load. They’re generally tasked with carrying heavier loads than mobile cranes (although not always), but they still also need to be able to fit into smaller spaces, set up quickly, and be durable.
If you look at any city skyline, you’ll see tower cranes alongside the buildings, as tower cranes have and will continue to be used when constructing tall buildings. They offer a tried and true machine to build skyscrapers among other construction builds. They take more time to set up but can be a better option if a contractor needs a crane to be secure and stay on-site.
3. You Can Run a Bulldozer
A bulldozer is a machine that’s set on tracks with a wide plate or blade that allows it to push and move large quantities of rocks, soil, and matter during earthworks, quarrying, and construction projects. You’ll be running a machine whose thick tracks give it the capability to be on uneven or sloped terrain and continue to move materials around.
Bulldozers are most often used in the building of roads, in construction projects, in mining, forestry, and even land clearing. This sort of infrastructure development and other projects require a powerful, mobile, and stable matter-moving piece of equipment. You’ll be trained to guide the flow of moving materials that clear the way for the next stages of building.
4. You Can Manage the Use of a Backhoe
A backhoe is a vehicle that looks a bit like a tractor with a shovel or loader in the front and a backhoe, or digger, on the back. It’s used in urban engineering projects, whether it’s building a small home or redoing the road. It can also be used to carry small loads of materials, for digging holes/excavation, for breaking asphalt, for landscaping, and for paving roads. There will usually be a swivel seat on the inside of the cabin if the backhoe component is permanently attached. Otherwise, there’s an “additional” seat above the backhoe component.
5. You Can Work an Excavator
Excavating is perhaps one of the best-known jobs for a heavy machine operating professional. Whether it’s a small project or a large one, you’re normally looking at some part of the property that will require digging. Working an excavator means you’ll sit in a small cabin above the base of the machine with an extendable and retractable arm designed to dig or to move materials.
Excavators are used in both large- and small-scale construction. Much of what you will do while working one will be small housing projects, where you may need to cut and fill. They can also be used in road construction or for marine structures, to place protective covering and large rocks.
At West Coast Training, we offer students the tools and experience they need to be successful workers, whether they work for construction companies or for themselves as independent contractors. Starting a career in heavy machine operation could be the perfect option for you, and you can take this short quiz to find out if it’s the right path for you.
Our complete programs offer practical, hands-on training in the field so that our graduates are certified and have real, on-the-job experience. We also offer seminars and refresher courses for workers who may need to brush up on their skills and stay current and continue to meet industry standards.