Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators operate or tend machinery equipped with scoops, shovels, or buckets, to excavate and load loose materials.

  • Move levers, depress foot pedals, and turn dials to operate power machinery, such as power shovels, stripping shovels, scraper loaders, or backhoes.
  • Set up or inspect equipment prior to operation.
  • Become familiar with digging plans, machine capabilities and limitations, and with efficient and safe digging procedures in a given application.
  • Observe hand signals, grade stakes, or other markings when operating machines so that work can be performed to specifications.
Read more about what does an Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operator really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$48680 per year

Average hourly wage
$23 per hour

Excavating Machine Operators with little to no experience tend to make between $29580 and $35580 while the more experienced ones can earn over $56810 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
AK $35 $73,380
NY $35 $72,400
WY $34 $71,730
NJ $34 $71,690
CA $32 $65,510

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as an Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operator is to move to a higher paying state like AK. Right now, the highest paying states for Excavating Machine Operators are AK, NY, WY, NJ and CA.

However, a higher pay at AK doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at AK might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as an Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operator is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Excavating Machine Operators what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by less than a High School Diploma.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation
Read more about how to become an Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operator and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being an Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operator.

Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work outdoors.
It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Not suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
Salary is below average
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

61% of Excavating Machine Operators said they were satisfied with their job and 47% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Builders and The Entrepreneurs

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Learn more about Excavating Machine Operators

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Related career information

Excavating Machine Operators job description, Excavating Machine Operators salary, Excavating Machine Operators information, what is the job of an Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operator like, pros and cons about Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators, colleges and universities for Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators, is Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators the right career for me, careers in Transportation

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