Skilled Trades Careers

How to Become a Pile Driver in America in 2023

DateDecember 14, 2023
how to become a pile driver in america

If you're interested in the construction industry and working with heavy vehicles, you might want to learn how to become a pile driver. Whether you're just starting out or looking to advance in the field, SkillHero has the resources and opportunities you need to succeed.

This is a skilled trade with a small job market, limited competition, and better than livable wages. Despite the limited number of jobs, pile drivers enjoy consistent employment and job security because of their specialized skills.

Keep reading to learn the steps required to excel in this trade. Sign up for a free SkillHero account to get access to all of our tools and resources, then build your custom plan from the ground up with the advice in this article.

What is a pile driver and what do they do?

A pile driver is a construction worker who operates machinery used to drive piles into the ground. Piles are long, slender structural members made of wood, steel, or concrete that are driven into the ground to provide support for structures such as buildings, bridges, and retaining walls.

The pile driver's job is to set up and operate the pile driving equipment, position the piles according to the engineering plans, and drive them into the ground using hydraulic hammers or other heavy machinery. They also monitor the depth and alignment of the piles and make adjustments as needed.

A typical day for a pile driver might involve working at various construction sites, setting up equipment, driving piles into the ground, and collaborating with engineers and other construction workers to ensure the stability and safety of the structure.

How hard is it to become a pile driver?

Becoming a pile driver requires physical strength, technical skills, and experience in construction or a related field. Trade paths include general pile driver, sheet pile installer, caisson driller, and underwater pile driver among others.

Training to become a pile driver typically involves completing an apprenticeship program or on-the-job training, where individuals learn to operate heavy machinery, read blueprints, and understand construction codes and regulations. Obtaining a certification from organizations like the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators can be beneficial.

While a specific degree is not required, potential degrees that can be beneficial to pile drivers include construction management, civil engineering, or a related field. Vocational or technical school programs and safety training courses to ensure compliance with industry standards.

How much is the average pile driver salary?

According to the latest data, the average pile driver salary for apprentice level workers is around $38,260 per year, $64,310 for journeymen, and $107,580 for masters.

Pile-Driver average salary skillhero

Regardless of a worker's level of experience, gaining additional certifications and being comfortable on a variety of job sites may help increase overall annual income. To explore opportunities and resources in the skilled trades, sign up for a free SkillHero account.

How to become a pile driver

Becoming a pile driver isn't without challenges, but it's a predictable and achievable career path for anyone who is prepared to work hard while collaborating with others on a variety of construction sites.

Being able to learn in a classroom environment and maintain a valid driver license are also important for this type of work.

Get a high school diploma or alternate credential

When pursuing a career in skilled trades, obtaining a high school diploma or an alternate credential is crucial. A high school diploma is often the minimum requirement for most skilled trade programs and apprenticeships.

For those who may have missed the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, the GED (General Educational Development) is a widely recognized alternative. This credential certifies that the recipient has achieved the same level of knowledge as someone who has completed their high school education.

Some skilled trades require certification from organizations like the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), which also requires a high school diploma or equivalent.

Create a skilled trade resume

In the skilled trades, a well-crafted resume is essential for showcasing certifications, specialized training, apprenticeships, expertise, and past projects. It's the primary tool for connecting with potential employers and highlighting relevant skills and experience.

SkillHero offers a free resume builder specifically tailored for skilled trade professionals. The platform also provides access to a database of vetted industry skills, allowing users to accurately reflect their qualifications and stand out among competitors.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out in a trade, a strong resume not only communicates your capabilities but also serves as a gateway to new opportunities. Sign up for a free SkillHero account today to take advantage of our resume builder and connect with potential employers in the skilled trades.

Find an apprenticeship

SkillHero's ApprenticeConnect feature in the Opportunities tab can help you connect with potential mentors and employers. It’s the largest skilled trades apprenticeship database in the United States and includes several filters to help you find what you’re looking for fast.

ApprenticeConnect Opportunities Pile Driver SkillHero

Once you've identified potential opportunities, the application process typically involves submitting a resume and completing an interview.

You can also find apprenticeship programs through local educational institutions or on professional platforms like LinkedIn.

Take the first step toward launching your career in the skilled trade industry by signing up for a free SkillHero account to access apprenticeship opportunities, resources, and insightful connections in your trade.

Network and upgrade certifications

Networking and staying up-to-date with certifications is crucial for growing your skilled trade career.

Networking allows you to connect with potential employers, colleagues, and industry experts. By building strong relationships within the industry, professionals may gain access to job opportunities, new technologies, and best practices.

This can also lead to career advancement opportunities, a better understanding of safety standards, and insight into upcoming changes in the industry which you may be able to use to your advantage.

Maintaining and upgrading certifications demonstrates a commitment to excellence and displays a dedication to safety, efficiency, and quality work.

There aren’t any specific certifications that are mandatory for getting started on this trade path, but obtaining classifications such as Certified Construction Manager (from the Construction Management Association of America) or Certified Remodeler (from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry) may be necessary to advance your career.

Once you've started a pile driver apprenticeship program, you'll have some initial connections you can use to build a professional network and find the best certifications for your trade path.

Who should become a pile driver?

If you're interested in construction and working outdoors with heavy machinery, you should definitely consider becoming a pile driver. Pile driver operators are needed for critical stages of construction such as installing marine foundations for bridges or docks, drilling foundation holes, or welding piles together with other structural components to ensure long-lasting stability.

This trade can appeal to a range of candidates, because while formal education is not strictly required, it can definitely be beneficial for some careers. Going to community college or vocational school can also potentially open up new opportunities.

Because there are fewer jobs in this trade than most others, finding an apprenticeship may be more difficult. Once you do find a program, it's important to see it through to completion and make the most of classroom and on-the-job training.

If you're interested in a career that offers hands-on work, the opportunity to operate heavy machinery, and the satisfaction of contributing to large-scale construction projects, becoming a pile driver could be the right fit for you.

Sign up for a free SkillHero account to explore training opportunities and connect with employers in your area.