Duties and responsibilities
A paving, surfacing and tamping equipment operator is responsible for operating the equipment used for applying concrete, gravel or other materials, to roads, parking lots or runways. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Reading and interpreting the blueprints at job sites to know where concrete or other materials need to be laid
- Controlling and guiding the machine to pour concrete, or other materials
- Filling tanks or hoppers with paving materials.
- Smoothing out stone or concrete using special attachments
- Ensuring all machines are well maintained
- Coordinating the different materials at the job site
- Shovelling and removing blacktop
- Operating tamping machines or manually roll surfaces to compact earth fills, foundation forms, and finished road materials, according to grade specifications
- Operating other machines such as loaders, dump trucks, and snow plows.
- Breaking up pavements with machines using hammers
Paving, surfacing and tamping equipment operators will typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. It is advisable to get this at a vocational college, as they have specialist equipment to help aspiring equipment operators practice. Or, paving, surfacing and tamping equipment operators can enrol on an apprenticeship program, where they will complete both technical instruction and on the job training.
Skills and relevant work experience
Paving, surfacing and tamping equipment operators will learn their skills through technical training and on the job learning. They will also need skills such as:
- Hand-eye-foot coordination, because they will need to guide and control machines filled with concrete into sometimes tight spaces
- Mechanical skills, as equipment operators must perform maintenance on their equipment
- Physical stamina, as equipment operators may have to lift heavy machinery, climb ladders and/or bend down for ages
- Communication skills, as paving, surfacing and tamping equipment operators will have to communicate with other construction workers
The majority of equipment operators will work full time. Generally, equipment operators may have irregular schedules because work on construction projects must sometimes continue around the clock or be done late at night.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for construction equipment operators was $48,160 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $84,650. Specifically, paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators earned a median annual salary of $40,130.
The employment of paving, surfacing and tamping equipment operators is expected to be the fasted out of all equipment operator roles. It is expected to grow 5% between 2019 and 2029. This offers lots of exciting employment opportunities.