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Bob in Glendale, Arizona

71 months ago

That Girl in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: i am 22 years old. im a female. and i want to work as an operator. my only set back is.... i have no experience!

im from a small town, and when i was 15 my dad sent me to McDonalds to make my own money. unfortunately I cant seem to find any place to hire me out side of the experience that i have. been a cook for the past 6 years... worked in different restaurants, and in cafeterias.

I WANT to be an Operator. what do i need to learn to be able to be one? i know what the different equipment is... i know what a skid loader is, an excavator, a dozer, and a trencher is. im a good hard worker who is reliable and on time.... what more do i have to do to get a chance...

or is it because im a girl?

thank you in advance for any help you offer!

That Girl,
Where theres a will theres a way. Your young so you can travel and thats a plus. If I was in your shoes I would move to Missoula, Montana and attend the VoTech and become a heavy equipment operator that way. You might wonder why I would want to send you to Missoula and the answer is Washington Construction which is based out of Missoula. Google Dennis Washington and I think you'll be encouraged. If you could get on with him you'd have it made in the shade. Remember young people can take chances whereas older folks look back on their lives and often times wish we had taken the chances. Good luck. Bob

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Karl the heavy equipment guy in Winchester, California

71 months ago

Dear 22yr old girl.The way I started was like this. I started out as a laborer,learning from the bottom up. I would asked questions, even if they seemed stupid. The only stupid question is the one not asked.I volunteered to work late learning how to dig after work for free.I learned everything I could about the different types of pipe that I would be working with, I started out with small outfits andworked my way up.You need to know the following, Saftey regs for your work enviroment in general, Know your machines maintenance requirements (grease points, oil and filter change hrs ect.) Be able to use an engineers rule and peepsite. Be able to read a grade stake and understand it top to bottom.Be drug free.Show up to work on time everyday.give your employer 100% everyway everyday.Be honest about your abilities(don't get in over your head)These are tough times right now and work is hard to get so be patient. If the will is there, there is always a way.It may take a few years,but if you want it bad enough it will come. Good luck young Padawan, May the force be with you.

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Torri in Citrus Heights, California

69 months ago

maggie in Jacksonville, Florida said: That last guy carl hit the nail on the head, couldn't have said it better myself.

You can do anything you want. I was a GM/TSM for Wendy's for 8 years, like you I just wanted to operate. So now I am going for it. There are great schools to help. Yes even after school you will have alot to learn, but as long as you have the drive you can do it. So dont let all the negitive comments on this site get you scared or down. I will be certified comming out of ATS in 4 more weeks. It will help.

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Rick in Longview, Washington

69 months ago

Im wondering the same thing , I just want to get into heavy equpment operations too but dont know where to start-_-

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Karl the heavy equipment guy in Winchester, California

69 months ago

Where you start is at the bottom as laborer like most of the other good operators have done.Watch,learn,ask questions,be patient,do a good job as a laborer and you will get your shot.Be a smartass,show
up late all the time,or show up stoned,start thinking that you know
everything when you don't and you will get run off.I'm a foreman and that's what happened to an ATS graduate that we hired.I gave him a month to get his stuff together and eventually ran him off.

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wade mccurley in Stockton, California

68 months ago

I am a Navy Recruiter and the navy offers a program to teach you all of the skills that you will need. The Rate is EO or EQUIPMENT OPERATOR. If you want to look in to what the navy has to offer you can call or email your local recruiting office. You do not have to come into the active duty side we also have the reserves that you can now join with out having any active duty time. This is a great way to get a good start and have the skills that you are looking for.
If you have any other questions please email me.
My email is
Wade.mccurley@navy.mil

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Karl the heavy equipment guy in Winchester, California

68 months ago

To anyone reading the Navy recruiters message ,Give him a call.The
SeaBees have a motto that says "Can DO" and yes they can! It's a great way to get your foot in the door. If I wasn't too old to re-enlist I'd be there right now.They will teach you and teach you well.

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ted usmc 1345 in Hayward, Wisconsin

68 months ago

very good advice the military is the way to go of coarse I was Corp but that is Dept. of navy truthfully the seabees are a great way to start....... Also wish I was younger and could do it all over again certainly would not hesitate to join and relearn great experience...semper fi...

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Karl the heavy equipment guy in Winchester, California

68 months ago

OooRah to you Ted usmc 1345

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matt79 in Omaha, Nebraska

68 months ago

I would start from the bottom and work up from there. You can work for a landscaper run skidloader gannon tractor mini-ex things like that. Its good learning and you get paid to train. Most places are looking to hire good help if your willing to learn they will train the right person. Schools are great but there are no shure bet that your going to get a job right away. The company I work for will pair you with a operator and train you or if you want they will let you train yourself afterhours on your own time. You have to start somewere. Just because your not running the biggest peice on the site dosent mean your not a operator. I know alot of women that start out running compactors or dump trucks. Its not the greatest but its a way to get your foot in the door.

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babyGIRL in Albuquerque, New Mexico

68 months ago

THAT MUST OF SUCK GOING TO WORK AT 15 AND NOT EVEN HAVING FUN WITH YOUR FRIENDS SO BUT I CAN RELATE TO WHAT WAS GOING ON..............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Karl the heavy equipment guy in Winchester, California

68 months ago

To Aaron in Gloversville,
Not paying time and 1/2 is totally ILLEGAL! Report this a--hole!

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digger in Los Angeles, California

65 months ago

First set your sights on high. Southern California is the best. Keep your eyes open for application openings for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12 Apprenticeship Program. Simple. It may be open this month, can't say for sure I only seen that indication on a forum. Call the Engineers in Pasadena California. Its the only way to go to get absolutely the finest experience you can possibly get. Military, State and County Operators in Civil Construction lag way behind in my opinion due to the demeanor created by working at governmental agencies. All of a sudden the benefits of doing as little as possible for the rights not to be terminated (fired) gets in the way of high production experience. They get lazy. Hope that helps out.

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patroersrick in monticello, Minnesota

65 months ago

yea i would agree with the navy recruiter. im 20yrs old and joined the Airforce 2 years ago as a pavements and constrution equipment apprentice. it was a great choice we spend 14weeks in training in missouri where we train with ARMY and the NAVY Seebees. althought i programs differed alittle bit we spent about 3 weeks together in the ITRO phase in which we spent time on the loader grader and dozer then we went to the airforce uniques phase which was 11 weeks on Dumptrucks,skidsteers,backhoes,excavators,aux equipment, flexible pavments, rigid pavements, crane, and other random stuff. ive enjoyed my time immensely since being in and would recomend either service to someone (AF or NAVY) although of course im gonna be biased towards the af both are great choices. ive been staitioned in portugal and now italy and i love every minute of it .

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Tinny in Lewiston, Michigan

65 months ago

With excavating and dirt work being in the toliet right know give this a try www.uschi.com This is custom harvesting they need lots of help from truck drivers to combine operators and tractor cart drivers. You will be harvesting the food that will feed the world. Three meals a day good pay and clean living conditions and get to see the west and get paid for it. Give it a try you are young I did it last season at the age of 47 had the time of my life. it rated right up there with hunting in the Artic Circle.

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Parker in Houston, Texas

65 months ago

Tinny in Lewiston. Please email me at parker77098@yahoo.com

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dirtdogg in Sonoma, California

64 months ago

That Girl in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: i am 22 years old. im a female. and i want to work as an operator. my only set back is.... i have no experience!

im from a small town, and when i was 15 my dad sent me to McDonalds to make my own money. unfortunately I cant seem to find any place to hire me out side of the experience that i have. been a cook for the past 6 years... worked in different restaurants, and in cafeterias.

I WANT to be an Operator. what do i need to learn to be able to be one? i know what the different equipment is... i know what a skid loader is, an excavator, a dozer, and a trencher is. im a good hard worker who is reliable and on time.... what more do i have to do to get a chance...

or is it because im a girl?

thank you in advance for any help you offer!


NO it is not that your a girl.Get to a stste that has onion repersintation, being female helps you a great deal. I have been a local #3 member since 1981 the traning & equipment that you will recieve is second to none. the training and equipment will pertain to the area in witch you are going to be working . the trade is not always done in the same manner across the country.same end result differnt approach.Plus the union helps to protect your rights in the work place. plus great benefits. I have been a foreman for 20 years an have yet to find a student come from a trade school that was anywhere near ready to turn loose on equipment no real world training. You go girl! Go union you won"t regret it Tom

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Karl the heavy equipment guy in Winchester, California

64 months ago

You don't have to leave the state,Local 9 has good reps. I have worked out of there a while back.A word of caution for you.Don't just tie yourself to the union.Being a new person you will be put at the bottom of the "C" list. Those who work all the time are on the "A" list. It takes a while to get up to that list so you may have to work non-union jobs while you wait your turn.The union apprentice program is a good training program and they will make an operator out of you.But honestly,you should spend some time as a laborer first.This will give you a better idea of what is going on.I saw a guy who take a backhoe and dig 120ft per hour of 51/2ft deep joint trench,But didn't know the difference between DB 100 and SDR 34 sewer pipe.The more knowledgable you are,The more valuable you are,Union or non-union

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flintriverswamprat1@yahoo.com in Marietta, Georgia

64 months ago

That Girl in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: i am 22 years old. im a female. and i want to work as an operator. my only set back is.... i have no experience!

im from a small town, and when i was 15 my dad sent me to McDonalds to make my own money. unfortunately I cant seem to find any place to hire me out side of the experience that i have. been a cook for the past 6 years... worked in different restaurants, and in cafeterias.

I WANT to be an Operator. what do i need to learn to be able to be one? i know what the different equipment is... i know what a skid loader is, an excavator, a dozer, and a trencher is. im a good hard worker who is reliable and on time.... what more do i have to do to get a chance...

or is it because im a girl?

thank you in advance for any help you offer!

contact the international association of operating engineers in your
area or the nearest big town.this organization has an apprentice training program for people as yourself.you will complete 6000 hours of training ,the first two weeks you will be in a class room,after that you will be on the job training ,yes you will be paid while you train. must have valid drivers liscence,social security card,birth certificate,current m.v.r.,1 character reference letter.and by all means pass a drug test.eventually you will be asked to join the union.we have approx.300 women in our orginazation now.good luck!

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brad in Woonsocket, South Dakota

64 months ago

most construction companys are required to hire people old enough to run certain equipment acorrding to state laws...i got started running a dump truck before you had to have a cdl...as far as construction jobs being in the dumps
...we can't find people to work in south dakota. doing gravel mining...truck driving and road grader work

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oneshot6406 in bismarck, North Dakota

64 months ago

hello brad i am from north dakota and there is no work up here and if the people owning theses gravel pits would pay worth a sh.. they could get drivers

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boodabitt in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

53 months ago

Karl the heavy equipment guy in Winchester, California said: To anyone reading the Navy recruiters message ,Give him a call.The
SeaBees have a motto that says "Can DO" and yes they can! It's a great way to get your foot in the door. If I wasn't too old to re-enlist I'd be there right now.They will teach you and teach you well.

I was an EO in the SeaBees for 9 years. I loved it every day. It will be much more difficult to find a civilian employer who will let you jump on a $100,000 plus piece of equipment and say "Go learn". I learned so much about operating and building stuff it almost boggles MY mind. And they pay you well while you are doing it! :D

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Tank in Spearfish, South Dakota

46 months ago

I have 28 years experience operating, my advice is just get er done.

That Girl in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: i am 22 years old. im a female. and i want to work as an operator. my only set back is.... i have no experience!

im from a small town, and when i was 15 my dad sent me to McDonalds to make my own money. unfortunately I cant seem to find any place to hire me out side of the experience that i have. been a cook for the past 6 years... worked in different restaurants, and in cafeterias.

I WANT to be an Operator. what do i need to learn to be able to be one? i know what the different equipment is... i know what a skid loader is, an excavator, a dozer, and a trencher is. im a good hard worker who is reliable and on time.... what more do i have to do to get a chance...

or is it because im a girl?

thank you in advance for any help you offer!

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Tank in Spearfish, South Dakota

46 months ago

I have 28 years experience in heavy equipment, my advice is just do it, if you are serious about becoming an operator, don't waste your money on operating schools, seen those type a million times and all they could do is run is their mouthes. Put them on a mountain and they folded every time. Just get out there and do it, you may have what it takes, you may not. this way at least it won't cost you all that money to find out you don't have what it takes to be an operator.

I have learned the terminology of what a true operator is, it is not just running one piece of equipment, operator means running every piece of equipment proficiently and professionally. That's is what a true operator is.

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N/A in Northampton, Massachusetts

42 months ago

That Girl in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: i am 22 years old. im a female. and i want to work as an operator. my only set back is.... i have no experience!

im from a small town, and when i was 15 my dad sent me to McDonalds to make my own money. unfortunately I cant seem to find any place to hire me out side of the experience that i have. been a cook for the past 6 years... worked in different restaurants, and in cafeterias.

I WANT to be an Operator. what do i need to learn to be able to be one? i know what the different equipment is... i know what a skid loader is, an excavator, a dozer, and a trencher is. im a good hard worker who is reliable and on time.... what more do i have to do to get a chance...

or is it because im a girl?

thank you in advance for any help you offer!

your best bet would be to pick another carrer this trade is not doing so good now, and is constantly up and down depending on the construction demand, i am a senior operator of 27 yrs take my word for it

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BIG JIM in Saint Louis, Missouri

42 months ago

IM 44 AND WANT TO START A LIFE IN HEAVY EQUIPMENT HOW?WHO?WHAT DO I DO TO GET STARTED

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mg52 in Portland, Oregon

36 months ago

Hello, I found something that might help. It's a dvd that shows you the basics of running a backhoe. Just google "Backhoe Basics" or go to howtobackhoe.com. Hope that helps!

That Girl in Colorado Springs, Colorado said: i am 22 years old. im a female. and i want to work as an operator. my only set back is.... i have no experience!

im from a small town, and when i was 15 my dad sent me to McDonalds to make my own money. unfortunately I cant seem to find any place to hire me out side of the experience that i have. been a cook for the past 6 years... worked in different restaurants, and in cafeterias.

I WANT to be an Operator. what do i need to learn to be able to be one? i know what the different equipment is... i know what a skid loader is, an excavator, a dozer, and a trencher is. im a good hard worker who is reliable and on time.... what more do i have to do to get a chance...

or is it because im a girl?

thank you in advance for any help you offer!

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Anon in Albuquerque, New Mexico

31 months ago

My goal is to be a heavy equipment operator.

So far I'm a laborer for a road construction company. Today was my first day operating a dozer, though I only got 5 minutes :( .

Basically, if you work hard, learn, pay attention - the foreman will give you an inch more of responsibility everyday.

My goal is to enter the National Guard as a 12N - Horizontal Engineer, the main duties of this MOS is operating heavy equipment. I believe it will help make more a more "prospective candidate" - after all, the president of my company is a former marine who was a heavy equipment operator.

I want to become a diesel mechanic too, just so if the machines break down I can fix them - though I don't want to leave the company just yet. I want to establish a reputation THEN move on to improve my skills.

If you have the determination and the will power - anything is possible.

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Bob in Portland, Oregon

29 months ago

To your question:

If your truly interested in equipment operator or for that matter any trade you can look into BOLI.com for entrance into an apprentice program. You see with a lot of contracts they require a company to have a certain amount of apprentices on the job per trade. They actually look for minority and encourage women to apply because they want to help women become more included in the trades. You start out at a lower wage and go through training at the same time. As your skill level and hours in the program accumulate you get increases in wage till you become journeyman level. I have been through "heavy equipment schools" and simply put are a waste of time. I have went through two different apprenticeships to get where I am and it has treated me and others really well.

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broke in Saint Louis, Missouri

29 months ago

My advice,
Work is the worst I have ever seen it in 25+ years.Apprentices last year averaged around $7000 for the year.
If you can, I would suggest the Military.
Second would be a Truck driving school.Learn to drive the big trucks,you'll work and a CDL license is a good thing to have as an operator.Hopefully work as operators will pick up in the next couple years and you will have your CDL,THEN apply to operating engineers apprentice program

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