How To Become A Backhoe Operator?

A backhoe operator has a potentially dangerous job that requires a great deal of concentration and control. It is a challenging and fast paced job that is done outdoors, often in less than ideal conditions. Backhoe operators work with heavy machinery to move dirt, dig trenches, excavate foundations and more.

How can you become a backhoe operator? In this article, we review the best steps you can take to prepare for this interesting career. Read on to learn more on how to become a backhoe operator.

What Training & Education Do You Need?

what training & education do you need to become backhoe operator

It helps to start out with a high school education or equivalency. Additionally, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, you need to have the physical strength, stamina and hand-eye-coordination to operate heavy machinery successfully. A calm and detail oriented personality is also a plus.

Your career path probably will not begin with backhoe work. You might start out working on construction job sites driving a truck or performing general labor. Good job performance will put you in a position to receive further training in operating heavy equipment.

You can become a backhoe operator through:

  • On-the-job training
  • Apprenticeship
  • A union or company sponsored training program.

While you don’t have to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a backhoe, having one can come in handy because you may need to use a commercial hauler or trailer to transport a backhoe from one work site to another.

Heavy Equipment Operator Education Requirements

Do You Need Certification Or Licensing?

There are not usually certification and licensing requirements for backhoe operators, but you can complete a formal training program to polish your skills and your resume. Many trade schools offer construction training programs that can be very helpful to aspiring backhoe operators.

Completing a formal course of training will give you a leg-up in the hiring process. Completion of this kind of course work gives you greater knowledge, skills and abilities. It also demonstrates your seriousness and ability to apply yourself.

You can further polish your qualifications by becoming familiar with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards for backhoe and general heavy equipment operation.

When you add this knowledge to your skill set, you show that you understand the importance of OSHA safety standards. You further demonstrate your willingness to comply with these standards.

Broaden Your Equipment Knowledge

To make yourself even more hireable, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of backhoes you are likely to encounter on the job. There are various manufacturers who build backhoes to a variety of specifications to perform differing types of work.

When you know how to operate backhoes designed for jobs ranging from digging ponds, foundations to digging mines, you become a more desirable candidate for hire.

How Much Money Can A Backhoe Operator Earn?

how much money can a backhoe operator make

Generally speaking, a full time backhoe operator earns about $45,000 a year, but this can vary from state to state and job to job. It is possible to earn as little as $35,000 a year or as much as $60,000 a year as a backhoe operator. The average is about $22 an hour.


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