How to Become an Excavator Operator in Australia Though you do not need formal training to become an Excavator operator in Australia, you need to have a licence or a ticket as a credential to find employment. As such a licence offers you important skills and knowledge you need to operate an excavator. This is attributed to the fact that most worksites in Australia prefer hiring qualified personnel as part of their workforce.

While there’s a sharp demand for excavator operators across Australia, it may not be easy to be hired without having relevant documentation. In that case, to become an excavator, you need to first undergo formal training in any credible heavy equipment operator institution also called a registered training organization (RTO).

So, what does it take to obtain an excavator operator licence? In this article, we give you the important insight that you need to put into consideration to pursue this career.

Before diving into what you need to do to become an excavator operator, let's first give you a sneak peek at the process of earning a licence.

Here are the steps you need to do in order to become an operator:

  1. Make sure you have what it takes to become an excavator operator. At the minimum, you need to be in good physical conditioning as the nature of the job is physically demanding; you need to have good eyesight (operators can wear corrective glasses or lenses) and hand coordination, be able to work in a team and follow instructions and be at least 18 years old (the minimum age to work as an operator).

  2. Find an RTO or an approved training provider in your area where you can take the training. Whether you’re a skilled operator or an absolute beginner, you need to prove your competency as proof that you can do the job. Completing a training course will enable you to obtain your competency and this happens in an RTO.

  3. Earn as much as field experience or practical skills. Gaining work hours is important, and these must be logged as proof of experience. You can earn hours by undergoing on-the-job training.

  4. Get assessed. Assessment is conducted by an authorized personnel of the RTO. Well, basically is undertaking a performance evaluation. You will be given tasks to complete, if you complete those, you will be given a passing rate. And the end, a certificate will be issued to you as proof of training completion.



Requirements You Need to Become an Excavator operator

There are many ways you can become an Excavator operator in this country. While you may choose to be trained on how to operate an excavator by experienced operators, relevant training is highly recommended.


Enrolling in an RTO or approved training provider to train as an excavator operator puts you ahead of the park in the construction industry. In fact, the majority of construction companies in Australia prefer hiring trained operators than those who never went through formal training. This is because you require relevant training documents to be registered. Despite having several years of operating excavators, you may lose out on several excavator operator opportunities due to a lack of documentation.

The most popular course that you can undertake to be licenced is the RIIMPO320E conduct civil construction Excavator operations. However, the duration of training varies depending on prior knowledge and experience.

Driving licence

A driving licence is a key requirement that is needed by most construction companie. In that case, besides relevant certification, it is recommended that you apply for a driving licence to supplement your Excavator operator certification. This is because you will have to haul around the excavator from one construction site to another.

Complete your logbook

If you opt to run an excavator operator business without hiring one, then you will have to purchase one. In that case you need to complete your logbook along with your assessment after training. That way, you get cleared to become an excavator operator in Australia.

Logbooks and other documentations are required during the assessment to offer proof of previous related work experience.

Work experience

Though overlooked, work experience plays a critical role in becoming an expert excavator operator. Despite lacking relevant formal training, the prior industrial experience puts you ahead of the park. This is because it helps you understand the nitty gritty associated with operating heavy construction equipment.

That may attract a potential employer who may decide to roll out a work training program to help you hone your skills. That way, you stand a chance to climb your career ladder and become a master in operating excavators.

Whichever method you choose to get training, you will have to verify your skills in form of documentation. That’s where undergoing formal training comes in handy.



The Cost of an Excavator Licence or Ticket

The cost of an excavator certificate in Australia varies depending on the location and type of equipment you intend to operate. However, an excavator certification training attracts an average of $1000.This covers a full course cycle that includes both practical and theory elements of training.

While Australia has no actual licence to certify whether you are a qualified excavator, all aspiring excavator operators are taken through verification of competency assessment program commonly known as (VOC) to ascertain their competency levels.

Another common course you can undertake to get certification is Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations. Though highly recognized, you can choose to only undertake the excavator operator module to avoid going through broad aspects of the course. Fortunately, the course is affordable since registered training institutions have a wide range of course packages that favor the needs of every trainer.



What Happens After Training?

After successfully going through both formal and informal training and assessment, trainees are issued with a wallet-size plastic competency card. As such, you can then use the card as proof that you are trained and competent at operating an excavator.
On the other hand, in case the job may require operating other earth moving equipment like cranes, the equipment is classified as high risk hence you may need to apply for a separate licence.

The state-based certification is a standard requirement used by the Australian government to ensure personnel working on construction sites are highly equipped with relevant skills to operate equipment effectively. This is why anyone who intends to acquire an excavator ticket in Australia must undertake the government-approved RIIMPO320E conduct civil construction Excavator operations training.



What are the General Duties of an Excavator Operator?

If you are planning to become an excavator operator, here are some of the roles you be executing for various construction companies in Australia.

  • Conducting routine equipment inspection
  • Leveling ground and digging foundations for construction work
  • Breaking concrete and demolishing structures
  • Lifting large materials
  • Landscaping terrain to pave way for construction of new structures
  • Operating and lifting ancillary equipment
  • Observing site markings and interpreting technical plans

Generally, the technicalities and high safety standards required in operating excavators make it necessary to have relevant training. This equips you with important skills that you need to understand what the construction industry entails. That way, you avoid costly mistakes that may result in serious operational blunders that may result in losses or even cost your life.

So what skills are employers looking for in excavator operators? Here are some key skills you need to have to be hired as an excavator operator in Australia.

  • Excavator operation
  • Excavation
  • Trenching
  • Civil construction
  • Construction induction white card
  • Driving licence
  • GPs systems
  • Open-pit mining

The role of an excavator operator involves operating and maintaining heavy construction equipment. Key roles involved include removing others and clearing construction sites along with other heavy duties. Besides clearing ground for construction excavators aid in digging foundations and clearing ground during road construction.

Some of the heavy machines Excavators operators manipulate include bulldozers, backhoes, graders, and rollers. These machines load soil, debris, load, and transfer soil and debris from one location to another.



Why Choose Excavator Operator as a Career

A study conducted by the careers website seek shows that most excavator operators earn impressive income from the job. The study further indicates that jobs in the excavator industry are likely to shoot up by 7.45% in the future.

Furthermore, the research found out that those with formal training have increased chances of getting more opportunities. In that case, investing in training is a key element in achieving success as an excavator operator.

Final Thoughts

Are you wondering how you can get an excavator operator licence in Australia? We hope you give important insight about earning this credential. This article gave important details that you should do. Besides relevant training, you need to undergo formal training to get a ticket to operate as an excavator.

We wish you good luck in your career!