Careers In Construction

Operating Engineer (Updated April 2009)

Operating Engineers operate and maintain heavy construction equipment such as cranes, compressors and hoists. They use this equipment to excavate, move or grade earth, erect structural steel and pour concrete or other hard surface paving materials.

Length of Apprenticeship:

  • Four (4) years (approximately)—Minimum of 6,000 hours of on-the-job training.

  • Apprentices must complete 240 classroom hours. (80 hours of classroom instruction per year.)

  • Apprentices must receive 192 “hands-on training site” hours per year.

  • Apprentices must pass three performance tests.

  • Wage Information:

    1st year: 50% of journeyman wage
    2nd year: 65% of journeyman wage
    1st half of 3rd year: 75% of journeyman wage
    2nd half of 3rd year: 80% of journeyman wage
    1st half of 4th year: 85% of journeyman wage
    2nd half of 4th year: 90% of journeyman wage


    Health and Welfare, Pension, Dental Insurance, Vacation Savings Plan

    Basic Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old.

  • Must have completed at least two years of high school or have a G.E.D. Certificate.

  • Must be a resident of Kankakee, Grundy, Will, Kendall, DuPage, Cook, Kane or Lake Counties. NOTE: Local 150’s jurisdiction includes areas in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. For purposes of this book, all information pertains to the above-mentioned counties in Illinois.

  • Must possess a valid driver’s license.

  • Must be physically able to perform the work of an Operating Engineer.

  • Working Conditions:

    Operating Engineers work in all types of weather elements and the majority of work is performed outdoors.

    Recommended Preparatory Classes:

    Shop classes.


  • Must be able to lift heavy objects.

  • Must be able to withstand extreme weather conditions.

  • Work Experience:

    (Helpful, but not necessary for acceptance.) Any experience working with heavy equipment or as a laborer is helpful.

    Entry Process:

  • Complete and return application. (Applications are available Monday–Friday from 8 am–4:30 pm)

  • Take and pass a physical exam within 30 days of acceptance into the program.

  • Must meet basic requirements and pass an oral interview at time of five-day training site evaluation.

  • Contact:

    Operating Engineers Local 150 Apprenticeship & Skill Improvement Program
    19800 W. South Arsenal Road
    Wilmington, IL 60481
    Phone: (815) 722-3201
    Fax: (815) 423-5749


    Michael Rorex

    Website Links:

    Local 150 Training Program

    Local 150 Website

    Operating Engineers International Website

    Training School Virtual Tour:

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