According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for heavy vehicle operators like construction equipment operators will increase by 12% over the next decade. This represents solid career options for those who are interested in this field.
Some areas of the country have a greater demand for these heavy vehicle professionals. The Hampton Roads, Virginia area is one of those places. But what are some typical jobs for heavy vehicle operators in the Hampton Roads area? What education and qualifications does someone need to land one of these jobs? And how does a formal education help job seekers rise above their competition?
Job Opportunities for Heavy Vehicle Operators in the Hampton Roads Area
The Hampton Roads area is home to a number of large commercial operations and manufacturers. These businesses rely on heavy vehicle operators to help them move goods, build their facilities, and transport equipment and other tools used in their work.
These employers are some of the largest in the area that require the services of heavy vehicle operators.
- Branscome Incorporated provides heavy construction services in which heavy vehicle operators are essential.
- Liebherr Mining Equipment Company manufactures heavy equipment like excavators, bulldozers, and loaders.
- SKANKSA USA Civil Southeast, Inc. provides heavy construction services to the civil, marine, and industrial industries.
There are also a number of shipyards and general construction firms in the area. All of these businesses need heavy vehicle operators to help their building processes.
Qualifications for Heavy Vehicle Operators
What qualities do employers look for when they’re hiring new heavy vehicle operators?
- Education. For many entry-level positions, all that’s really needed is a high school diploma. However, a degree or other credential from a formal training program may be required for some positions and companies.
- Licensure. Some positions require a Virginia state CDL. These positions involve the operation of vehicles that meet certain criteria. If the equipment being operated has a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,000 lbs or more, you’ll need a CDL.
- Knowledge. Understanding how to safely operate heavy equipment in a construction environment is an essential quality. Applicants who lack an understanding of safety regulations can cost the company thousands of dollars in fees, damages, or even result in injuries.
- Soft skills. Superior hand-eye coordination, the ability to work in high places without suffering adverse mental affects, and a basic understanding of mechanical equipment helps operators in every aspect of their jobs.
Each employer’s criteria is different. However, these base skills are the bare minimum requirements for heavy equipment operators.
The Value of a Formal Education for Aspiring Heavy Vehicle Operators
It is possible to get started on your new career path without a formal education. However, there are some important advantages to choosing an academic path versus on-the-job training.
- More career variety. A formal training program prepares you to take on a greater variety of job roles when compared to on-the-job training. Your employer will only train you to know the things they need done. This could limit you in future endeavors.
- Potentially Higher starting pay. When employers don’t need to invest large amounts of time and resources into your initial training period, they are often willing to pay more from the beginning of your employment contract.
- Increased control. With a degree, you can actively shape your future career options. Use your knowledge to guide your career path and help you reach your ultimate goals faster.
- Skill validation. For some, heavy equipment is a passion. You may already have knowledge and experience gleaned from self-practice, helping your friends and family, or other informal sources. Going to school validates those skills and could give you better employment opportunities.
Start your Hampton Roads career with an Associate in Occupational Science degree in Heavy Vehicle Technology with Service Management from ATI. This program teaches you all about electrical systems, environmental controls, diesel systems, and more.
Craft the perfect career in Hampton Roads with ATI. Contact us for more information on this and other job training programs.