What does an Equipment Operator do?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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An equipment operator is a person who is trained to use a certain piece of a equipment or a certain type of equipment. There are a number of ways that an equipment operator can become trained to use certain types of equipment and machinery, the most common being on-the-job experience, apprenticeships, and training programs that result in a certificate of completion or diploma. There are many kinds of equipment operator jobs and, as such, there are many different responsibilities and tasks that are performed by equipment operators. For example, one type of equipment operator certification prepares students to drive 18-wheel trucks in order to transport goods or other equipment from place to place. The day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of a truck driver are likely to be quite different from those of an equipment operator who has been trained to use demolition equipment on a construction site.


Equipment operator jobs are often broken down into three categories that are often used to define the types of careers for equipment operators. These three categories are crane operation, heavy equipment operation, and truck driving. In addition to learning how to properly, safely, and effectively use these kids of equipment, an equipment operator also must gain certification or licensing in order to be allowed to work in his field. Crane operators who want to work in the United States, for instance, must be certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). Truck drivers in the United States have to become licensed to drive and operate class A commercial vehicles.

The day-to-day tasks of equipment operators depend not only on the type of equipment that they are using, but also on the specific job that they are completing or the requirements of their employers. For example, there are some instances in which, because of the parameters of a job, an equipment operator will have to work at night instead of during normal working hours. Such an instance may include road work in an area that gets heavy traffic during the day and evening. A truck driver's work routine will depend on whether he is doing long-haul driving, which may require him to transport items over hundreds or even thousands of miles, or shorter hauls that can be completed in a normal work day.


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