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How to Get Dredging Jobs

Updated on January 21, 2012

A dredge operator clears waterways or portions of bodies of water like lakes. One advantage of a dredging job is that it requires no experience or formal training. Job openings are small, but the dredge jobs are expected to increase over time.

Before seeking a dredge operator job, make sure you are comfortable handling heavy machinery. You may wish to learn how to drive a tractor or other large vehicles before operating a dredge. This will also increase your chances of getting a dredging job, as well. While many people operate heavy machinery like dredges or cranes first and then move into trucking, becoming a CDL driver (truck driver) first would also increase your chances of being selected to operate a dredge or other heavy machinery as jobs open up from time to time.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected in 2008 that dredge jobs would increase from 2,200 to 2,400 jobs by 2018. That is a projected 7 percent increase over that 10-year period.

Statistics from May of 2010 also showed 1,720 dredge jobs at that time. At that time, the median hourly salary of dredge operators was $16.20, while the median annual salary was $33,690.

To find dredge jobs, it is helpful to know exactly who hires these operators. The biggest group of employers is nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying industry. At 1,050 jobs in May of 2010, this group accounted for well over 50% of all dredging jobs.

Heavy and civil engineering construction is the second category and was easily in second, with 320 jobs. Other minor employers were local governments, state governments, and highway, street, and bridge construction companies.

Unlike many jobs, California and New York are not major states for these jobs. Missouri has the most jobs, and Texas is a close second. Nebraska, Ohio, and Florida round out the top five. In fact, these five states account for fairly close to half of all dredge operator jobs.

The Indeed website occasionally posts openings for dredging jobs. But you should go out and find the mining companies and other outfits that hire for this occupation. Do not expect to see too many advertisements, as there is generally no need to advertise for a dredge operator.


Bureau of Labor Statistics: Dredge Operator Job and Salary Information

Indeed: Dredging Job Openings


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