Dredge Operators: Salary Overview
Dredge operators excavate and maintain navigable channels in waterways using a dredge.
Their job description may include placing shore anchors and cables, verifying depths of excavations by lowering anchor poles, positioning dredges for excavations, and operating the equipment.
This profession involves heavy lifting and heavy-duty machine operations.
Dredge operators have to follow safety rules in order to avoid injuries.
As a dredge operator, you will need stellar coordination, the ability to estimate distances but also an excellent physical condition and stamina.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dredge operators was $47,040 per year in May 2019, which means that half of all workers in this profession made less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries for this profession vary based on a wide range of factors, including the level of experience, skills, and industry of employment.
The lowest 10 percent made less than $32,170 per year while the top 10 percent earned more than $77,940.
As an entry-level employee, your salary will be closer to the minimum for this profession and you will start to earn more after gaining a few years of experience in the field.
The numbers published by BLS show that 75 percent of all dredge operators earned more than $38,090 per year.
Dredge Operator Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most dredge operators worked in the field of nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying, in the sector of other heavy and civil engineering construction, and for other specialty trade contractors.
The average annual wage for dredge operators who worked in the field of nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying was $44,230.
Dredge operators who worked in the field of other heavy and civil engineering construction earned, on average, $54,400 per year.
The mean annual wage was $67,700 for dredge operators who worked for other specialty trade contractors and $44,720 for those employed by state governments.
Dredge operators who worked for local governments reported an average annual wage of $53,740.
Dredge Operator Salary by Compensation Package
Dredge operators may be paid based on an hourly rate or a fixed salary.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly rate for dredge operators was $22.62 as of May 2019.
The hourly rate varies depending on the worker’s level of experience and skills.
Entry-level employees may earn less than $15 per hour while experienced workers can earn more than $30 per hour.
If you’re paid an hourly wage, your total compensation will vary depending on the number of hours worked, and working more hours can help you earn a higher salary.
Your level of education will also play an important part in determining your salary.
Having at least one year of formal education in the filed will likely help you earn a higher starting salary as a dredge operator.
Another thing that could help you find employment as a dredge operator and increase your earning opportunities is having a few years of experience in a related position and knowing how to operate other construction equipment.
Earnings for dredge operators may also vary depending on the time of the year because they will typically work more during warm months and less in winter months or in inclement weather.
Salaries for dredge operators also vary depending on the region of employment.
According to BLS, the highest salaries were reported in Minnesota, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey- states where the average wages were above $64,000 a year.
The lowest level of compensation was reported by dredge operators in Nebraska, Ohio, and Louisiana states where the average salaries for this profession were below $45,000 a year.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Dredge Operators. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.