Operating Engineer

Take charge of a wide variety of machines and systems.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$26,000 – $71,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Operating Engineers do?

Charged with overseeing and maintaining the many systems that keep businesses going, Operating Engineers are crucial to operations. They work in a variety of industries, and the specific title may change depending on the workplace, but the responsibilities are similar. Whether it’s a construction firm, a retail enterprise, or a private company, the business will not function without Operating Engineers.

As an Operating Engineer, you may work in the construction field, overseeing various types of power construction equipment. Salespeople at power construction equipment retail stores are often called Operating Engineers because of their knowledge of and ability to demonstrate each piece.

You may also work for a private company, overseeing the continuous operation of building systems such as fire and life safety, mechanical, or electrical systems. In this role, you may go by the title of Boiler Operator or Facilities Manager. Each of these positions requires you to complete different tasks, but the knowledge requirements are essentially the same.

A background in construction services, technology, heating and cooling systems (HVAC), plumbing, and electrical work prepares you for any of these positions. Working closely with Facility Supervisors, Store Managers, Construction Foremen, and others, you’re the go-to person when a problem arises.

To do well in this job, you need excellent communication skills and the ability to follow directions. Whether you’re discussing why the boiler isn’t producing heat or why a particular bulldozer is a better choice, you have to be able to effectively convey your message.

Familiarity and comfort with a variety of hand and power tools is also essential. The ability to work independently and make informed decisions when sorting out a problem is crucial, too, as you often work alone.

Should I be an Operating Engineer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Clamshell Engineer, Crane Engineer, Derrick Engineer, Ditching Machine Engineer, Ditching Machine Operating Engineer See More

    How to become an Operating Engineer

    Most Operating Engineers 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:95aaaa&chl=no+college+%2852%25%29|certificate+%2848%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,52,52
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