Dragline Operator

Move earth, rocks and more with a large suspended bucket.
picture of Dragline Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$25,000 – $60,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Dragline Operators do?

Construction projects often begin with major dirt moving. Holes must be dug for foundation poles, large rocks must be moved away to make space for the foundation, and sand must sometimes be put on the site to level out the ground. When this sort of earth moving is required, you—the Dragline Operator—step in.

Dragline Operators are assigned to a huge piece of machinery that has a large arm ending in a suspended bucket. Dragline Operators drive this to the site, taking extreme care not to smash any cars, buildings, or people along the way.

Once at the site, you use a combination of buttons and levers to lower the bucket, scrape it across the soil, and pick up materials. Then you drive to another location to drop these materials. Young boys will head to the construction site to watch you work, and they may imitate your motion with their own small toys.

If the materials you’re removing are quite heavy, you need to take additional steps to ensure that your machine won’t tip over. You direct other workers to set up rigging that anchors your machine while it works.

You’re also responsible for maintaining your equipment. You perform routine maintenance, such as changing the oil or replacing worn belts, or do major repairs to the hydraulic and fuel systems.


Should I be a Dragline Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Back Digger Operator, Crawler-Dragline Operator, Diesel-Dragline Operator, Diesel Scoop Operator, Duck-Bill Operator See More

    How to become a Dragline Operator

    Most Dragline Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9taaaa&chl=no+college+%2876%25%29|certificate+%2824%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,76,76
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