There are many different and necessary positions in the construction industry where each trained operator must know their vehicle very well in order to provide the best service. Although it sounds easy, driving dump trucks and other similar heavy commercial vehicles is not always as simple as it seems, as each operator is responsible not only for the huge vehicle being operated, but for everything that is transported and unloaded. Today, driving these vehicles can be made well for a living once the proper training has been received and the driver has proven himself to be a valuable part of a construction team.
Driving is actually the easiest part of operating one of these vehicles. Operators are responsible for a load from start to finish and must know exactly where the load is to be unloaded as a specific location. This wide variety of materials can be anything from construction site debris and dirt to gravel, coal, rock, bricks, and sand—basically anything that can be shoveled, scooped, or dumped into a truck bed.
Unlike many other drivers, those who drive these trucks often must work in winter conditions if the job site is located in regions where there is ice and snow; Fortunately, most dump trucks can be equipped with snow shovels and road cleaning equipment. With a full bed of road salt or gravel, drivers can work quickly to help clear roads of ice and snow. Many of these workers also become qualified to operate other types of heavy machinery once they are in a job where such experience can be gained.
All that is technically required in the United States to become a dump truck driver is a CDL license. It is recommended to take some type of vocational training course related to trucks to learn more about the trade of driving a dump truck or any other large truck in general. Those enrolled in such a course will also learn safety procedures, which is extremely important in this line of work.
It will also be easier for a driver to get a better job with more training, although many companies also provide in-house training, which is always a benefit for any new employee. There are still many companies that want applicants to already have some experience on the job, so that such training doesn’t have to be learned after employment, which could slow down productivity. Some operators purchase their own trucks and lease their services to various companies for a fee as an owner-operator.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov) provides recent employment data showing that overall hiring of construction operators has been on the rise in recent years and is expected to continue to rise until 2020 at a rate of about twenty-three percent, which is higher than the average rate of increase in other areas of the workforce. Median wages are listed at approximately $19.00 per hour, or $39,000 per year for construction operators, as there is no specific category for dump truck drivers. Other job site listings show dump truck drivers earning an average of $26,000 to $34,000 per year, with higher wages when the operators are also owners. Salaries are also likely to fluctuate based on location, hiring company, and other factors.
Becoming a dump truck operator can be challenging; however, if a person likes to be on the road and likes the idea of operating heavy equipment, this may be the right position. All it takes is the right training, the right certification, and a willingness to work hard for an honest payday!