How much does a plant operator make?


How much does a power plant operator make a year?

The job of plant operator is a good career move if you want to work in civil construction. 

Read on to learn more about the role, how much you can earn, and whether this type of work would suit you.

What is a plant operator?

A plant operator also known as a mobile plant operator is a job within the civil construction industry. 

While building construction is about constructing buildings, civil construction is about constructing civil infrastructure, laying the groundwork for towns, cities, roads, bridges and tunnels. 

A mobile plant operator is someone who operates heavy machinery and earthmoving equipment to prepare land for development.

Mobile plant operators can also work in the mining industry, carving out open pit mines and underground quarries.

Your role as a mobile plant operator could be to operate plants such as:

  • front end loaders
  • pipe layers
  • haul trucks
  • pavers
  • tip trucks
  • concreters
  • forklifts
  • bulldozers
  • excavators
  • loaders
  • graders
  • scrapers
  • rollers
  • backhoes

Your day to day tasks and duties would involve:

  • maintaining plants
  • cleaning and lubricating machinery
  • minor repairs
  • check ups 
  • traffic management 

How much does a plant operator make?

If you’re considering a career in civil construction, you’d want to know all about the salary and pay. So, how much does a power plant operator make a year?

The latest data from Seek shows that on average plant operators in Australia make $60,000 to $80,000 per year

Your plant operator earnings depend on where you work in the country and what your skills and experience levels are.

For example you could earn more if you worked in Melbourne Victoria compared to a small town in rural Victoria. 

As you gain more years of experience and more projects under your belt, you’ll be able to negotiate higher rates of pay as time goes on. 

How hard is it to be a plant operator?

A plant operator is a skilled and qualified trade which requires the right level of training to do this job. 

In this way, working as a plant operator is harder than working as an unskilled labourer which requires no training. 

But it’s not as hard as other jobs like managing, which requires more skills, focus and qualifications. 

A mobile plant operator spends all day on the construction site no matter the weather. 

If you enjoy physical labour and prefer working with your hands rather than behind a desk, then operating plants won’t be too hard for you.

It’s also easier than other higher level jobs because it has less responsibility than say supervising or managing a site. 

How to become a plant operator

To become a plant operator you need a Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations (RII30820).

This certificate teaches you how to operate the most common mobile plants used in the civil construction industry today.

It also looks great on your resume when you’re applying for jobs, especially if you go to a well-known building school like Builders Academy Australia. 

In the cert 3, you’ll cover topics like how to: 

  • use hand and power tools
  • operate small plant and equipment
  • work safely and follow WHS policies and procedures
  • read and interpret plans and specifications
  • do manual excavations
  • spread and compact materials manually
  • Do basic levelling
  • handle resources and materials
  • safely dispose of non toxic materials.

In Victoria, graduates from our Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations (RII30820) will receive the following licenses including dozer, skid steer loader, excavator, backhoe and front end loader. 

Australia currently has a skills shortage in the construction industry, including a shortage of skilled mobile plant operators.

But civil plant operators are so important to building our future towns and cities.

That’s why you can now do Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations as part of the government’s FREE TAFE initiative

If your dream is to work as a plant operator in civil construction, there’s never been a better time to get qualified.

Become a plant operator at Builders Academy Australia

As Victoria’s favourite building school, we help people just like you get jobs in construction with certificates and diplomas.

Let us help you work out if you’re eligible for tuition-free building courses in civil construction so you can get started studying to become a plant operator. 

Our trainers are former tradespeople themselves, so they have hands-on real-life experience to share. 

Thinking of getting a Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations (RII30820)? Find out if you’re eligible for tuition-free training by speaking to a course advisor on 1300 LEGEND or you can request a callback today.