The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Operate or tend machinery at surface mining site, equipped with scoops, shovels, or buckets to excavate and load loose materials.
Sample of reported job titles:
Backhoe Operator, Dragline Oiler, Dragline Operator, Equipment Operator, Excavator Operator, Heavy Equipment Operator, Loader Operator, Pit Operator, Track Hoe Operator
Move levers, depress foot pedals, and turn dials to operate power machinery, such as power shovels, stripping shovels, scraper loaders, or backhoes.
Set up or inspect equipment prior to operation.
Become familiar with digging plans, machine capabilities and limitations, and efficient and safe digging procedures in a given application.
Observe hand signals, grade stakes, or other markings when operating machines so that work can be performed to specifications.
Operate machinery to perform activities such as backfilling excavations, vibrating or breaking rock or concrete, or making winter roads.
Receive written or oral instructions regarding material movement or excavation.
Move materials over short distances, such as around a construction site, factory, or warehouse.
Create or maintain inclines or ramps.
Lubricate, adjust, or repair machinery and replace parts, such as gears, bearings, or bucket teeth.
Handle slides, mud, or pit cleanings or maintenance.
Direct workers engaged in placing blocks or outriggers to prevent capsizing of machines when lifting heavy loads.
Measure and verify levels of rock or gravel, bases, or other excavated material.
Direct ground workers engaged in activities such as moving stakes or markers, or changing positions of towers.
Adjust dig face angles for varying overburden depths and set lengths.
Drive machines to work sites.
Perform manual labor to prepare or finish sites, such as shoveling materials by hand.
Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Detailed Work Activities
Operate excavation equipment.
Inspect material-moving equipment to detect problems.
Maintain professional knowledge or certifications.
Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement.
Receive information or instructions for performing work assignments.
Direct material handling or moving activities.
Move materials, equipment, or supplies.
Measure product or material dimensions.
Verify information or specifications.
Assemble temporary equipment or structures.
Maintain work equipment or machinery.
Maintain material moving equipment in good working condition.
Clean facilities or work areas.
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 94% responded “Every day.”
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 83% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Duration of Typical Work Week — 81% responded “More than 40 hours.”
Face-to-Face Discussions — 77% responded “Every day.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 63% responded “Extremely important.”
Contact With Others — 66% responded “Constant contact with others.”
Exposed to Contaminants — 75% responded “Every day.”
Exposed to Whole Body Vibration — 71% responded “Every day.”
Frequency of Decision Making — 66% responded “Every day.”
Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 64% responded “Every day.”
Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 46% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 46% responded “Every day.”
Freedom to Make Decisions — 39% responded “Some freedom.”
In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 65% responded “Every day.”
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 45% responded “Every day.”
Spend Time Sitting — 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 41% responded “Very high responsibility.”
Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 40% responded “Very important.”
Structured versus Unstructured Work — 41% responded “Some freedom.”
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 41% responded “Very important.”
Consequence of Error — 53% responded “Extremely serious.”
Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 37% responded “Every day.”
In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 48% responded “Every day.”
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 34% responded “Important results.”
Coordinate or Lead Others — 54% responded “Important.”
Time Pressure — 41% responded “Every day.”
Level of Competition — 35% responded “Highly competitive.”
Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 43% responded “Very important.”
Telephone — 34% responded “Every day.”
Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 31% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
- These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
- Related Experience
- Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
- Job Training
- Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
- Job Zone Examples
- These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
- SVP Range
- 3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)
Training & Credentials
Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Equipment Selection — Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:
High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
Less than high school diploma required
Post-secondary certificate required
Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Peripheral Vision — The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one’s side when the eyes are looking ahead.
Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speed of Limb Movement — The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Wages & Employment Trends
- Median wages (2021)
- $22.47 hourly, $46,740 annual
- State wages
- Local wages
- Employment (2020)
- 41,300 employees
- Projected growth (2020-2030)
Slower than average (1% to 5%)
- Projected job openings (2020-2030)
- State trends
- Top industries (2020)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data
external site and 2020-2030 employment projections
“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
- State job openings
- Local job openings