Paving and Surface Equipment Operator...

Paving and Surface Equipment Operator (French version available)

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Melting snow and warmer weather in spring brings road repairs in many parts of Canada. Many people are involved in this work, but some of the most important ones are paving and surface equipment operators.  For anyone interested in operating heavy machinery, this career could be a good choice. The condition of many roads in spring and other times of the year means that the skills of a paving and surface equipment operator will always be in demand.

Operating heavy equipment like the machines that resurface roads takes strength and skill. People in this trade need to monitor the thickness of asphalt in the mixer and ensure that the road surface is evenly covered. The machine itself can have complicated controls which the worker needs to learn to use. The work can be dusty and hot, and the equipment is often very loud, which can sometimes make the work unpleasant.

Like most work in construction, paving and surface equipment operator work is seasonal and heavily dependent on the weather. Although construction often continues even in bad conditions, a severe storm can cause major delays. People in this trade should be prepared to deal with heat, cold, dampness, and many other kinds of situations that are less than ideal.

Generally, workers need to finish an entire section of road or sidewalk so that it will dry and harden as one piece. This could mean working late into the evening or even at night. Although paving and surface equipment operators often work regular days, they should also be flexible enough to work overtime when necessary.

Having a license to drive large equipment is necessary for this job. Some employers might also require a commercial driver’s license, especially if it becomes necessary to move equipment from one place to another. High school is normally a requirement, especially if it includes courses in dealing with large machines.

Some employers might require employees to complete a one- or two-year apprenticeship, and possibly some college or industry courses. Trade certification is necessary for working in Quebec and is available but voluntary in the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut. Some employers might also have their own systems of certification or apprenticeships for their employees, and on-the-job training is common.

Knowing about the equipment and about safety procedures is essential in this job. Starting and shutting down the equipment can be complicated. Making a mistake can potentially injure workers or damage the equipment, and it can cause delays in the work. Reading all instructions carefully and remembering them can help to keep workers safe. Good observational skills are also essential to be able to notice any potential problems, such as children playing nearby or rough sections of the road.

Wages for paving and surface equipment operators begin at $22 per hour or about $45,000 per year and can rise to $32 per hour or $69,000 per year.  Operating equipment is not as strenuous as other construction jobs, and people can often stay in this work for many years. However, it can be tiring and hard on the eyes, and moving to a more supervisory role later in life is a good idea.

Working as a paving and surface equipment operator is a good choice for people who like being involved in construction and helping to make transportation run smoothly. If you have the necessary qualities, it could be a good job for you.



Indeed. “Asphalt Paving Operator.” https://ca.indeed.com/Asphalt-Paving-Operator-jobs?vjk=bebd40acf94648ad.

Payscale Canada. “Asphalt Paving Machine Operator: Hourly Rate.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Asphalt_Paving_Machine_Operator/Hourly_Rate.

Statistics Canada. “National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2011.” https://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?Function=getVD&TVD=122372&CVD=122376&CPV=7521&CST=01012011&CLV=4&MLV=4.

Your Free Career Test. “What does a Paving Equipment Operator do?” https://www.yourfreecareertest.com/paving-equipment-operator/.

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