Ride Operator

Control rides at an amusement park.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$16,000 – $26,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Ride Operators do?

Amusement parks, carnivals, and fairs often have rides that toss people into the air, spin them around, and spew them back onto the ground. As a Ride Operator, you help people get on and off the rides, and you run the machines to deliver a fabulous experience.

When it’s time for patrons to board the rides, you, the Ride Operator take their tickets and help them into their seats. The Ride Operator fastens belts, locks down safety bars, and closes doors securely. Some machines ask riders to pull levers or use wheels, and you provide instructions on using those tools.

Then, you start the ride and allow it to run for a specific period of time. During the ride, you play music or provide witty banter.

When the ride is over, you help people get out of their seats, and you run a quick check to make sure nothing was broken during the previous run. Sometimes, your rides are a bit too exciting for patrons, and you have messes to clean as a result. When the ride is once again clean and operational, you load more passengers.

If a ride breaks down, you quickly isolate the problem and help your passengers get off. If a serious problem occurs, you ask the Security Guard to notify senior management and Paramedics.

Some rides are dangerous for small people, but they’d still like to experience the thrills and chills, and they may try to trick you. As a result, you’re adept at spotting stilts, platform shoes, and other height-altering equipment, and you ask people wearing these devices to step out of line.

Should I be a Ride Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Amusement-Equipment Operator, Boat Camp Operator, Boat Dock Operator, Boat-Ride Operator, Donkey Ride Operator See More

    How to become a Ride Operator

    Most Ride Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9aaaaa&chl=no+college+%2899%25%29||associate%27s+%281%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,99,99
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