Power Shovel Operator

Pick up and move hundreds of pounds of earth with a power shovel.
picture of Power Shovel Operator

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$25,000 – $60,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Power Shovel Operators do?

Moving dirt and rocks by hand is time-consuming. One tiny spade can pick up only a few pounds of materials at a time, and it can take a worker an entire day of backbreaking effort to clear a very small area. A Power Shovel Operator, by contrast, can pick up hundreds of pounds of dirt and rocks in just a few minutes. The tool that a Power Shovel Operator uses is incredibly strong, making the work progress quickly.

As a Power Shovel Operator, you’re responsible for the maintenance of your machine. Before you start work, you look over the hulking tires of the tool, making sure they’re full, and you do a quick inspection of the oil levels in the engine. Repairing slipping belts or tiny leaks is quick and easy, but major problems might merit a call to the Mechanic.

If all is well with your tool, you hop on and await instructions from your Supervisor. A Road Crew Supervisor, or Engineer may fill this role, depending on the company you work for. This person tells you what you should pick up and where you should put it down.

Once the instructions are clear, you begin work. By depressing a lever, you lower the scoop on the tool, and you use other levers to manipulate the scoop until it’s full. Then, you use buttons to pick up the materials, and you drive the machine to the drop-off point, where you lower the load once more. Flaggers may help you in your work, as it can be hard to see around the heavy, bulky arms of the machine.

Should I be a Power Shovel Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • Also known as: Air Shovel Operator, Clam Shovel Operator, Convertible-Power-Shovel Operator, Diesel-Power-Shovel Operator See More

    How to become a Power Shovel Operator

    Most Power Shovel 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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