Utility Locate Technician Career Outlook

utility locate technicianUtility Locate Technician

A Locate Technician is paid to locate and mark utilities that is buried underground. It is a very important job since much of our home and business life rely on the infrastructure that is buried in both private and public areas. So protecting these important assets is key to our communities well being.


The industry is also seeing exciting new technologies as well that make performing locates more accurate and more efficient. There is an increase in the use of more advanced technologies such as Ground Penetrating Radar (aka GPR) to locate buried utilities.


Utility Locate Technician Job Description

The locate technician’s primary goal is to provide safety for those that would be impacted by damaged utilities. They do this by protecting underground utilities from damage during dig projects and excavation. Protecting the buried infrastructure will protect the lives of those that work and live near the area that is being excavated.Utility Locate Technician cu


If you are doing contract locates for one-call centers than your duties will include: fulfilling locate requests (tickets) in a timely manner, safely operating a company vehicle to each job site, reading utility prints, contacting homeowners and contractors, using locating equipment to determine location of utilities, mark area with paint and/or flags that is specified for each utility, and conducting damage investigations.  If you are doing private utility locating it will involve locating utilities that are considered private property and not in the jurisdiction of the utility company.


Utility Locate Technician Jobs

Due to new city developments – the utility location industry is growing rapidly and in high demand. Cities, states and governments are constantly updating existing buried infrastructure as well as designing and developing new areas. And as long as cities and municipalities are creating and maintaining underground infrastructure there will be jobs in the utility location industry.Utility Locate Technician red markings


The future outlook for this industry is that of substantial growth. Currently, there is a lot of attention in state governments to promote the continued growth of this industry by supporting it with legislation that gives the industry more uniform and standardized practices. This signifies the importance of protecting our buried assets. It also brings awareness to best practices so we can continue to dig and excavate safely.


Utility Locate Certificate/License

Many companies that hire locate technicians will want to know if you have obtained certain certificates that could be beneficial in your day-to-day tasks as a locate technician. Operator Qualification is a certification for anyone (including a Locate Tech) who physically deals with gas or petroleum lines. OSHA 10 Hour (General or Construction) and OSHA Excavation Competent Person are both certifications that would be helpful.  It may not be required, but recommended by the locating company that you have certification. Most utility companies that contract utility locating to outside contractors will likely require and possibly train all those that will be needing access near their utility for locates. Another area of OSHA training could include: Confined Space Entry – which allows you to go into places like manholes for instance. Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) also provides instruction on flagging traffic and certification could be required in some cities. In any case, the company that hires you to perform utility locates will make sure that you are certified sufficiently for the tasks you will be performing.Utility Locate Technician flags and fence


Utility Locate Technician Training

There are a variety of options offered to someone looking for training in this field of utility locating. There are workshops, videos, and classroom instruction available to learn the necessary skills to locate utilities effectively. If you don’t have prior experience using the equipment and tools – then your employer will train you.  Also attending Locate Rodeos, Conferences, and Expos are also places where training is often provided from those sponsoring the event.


Utility Locate Technician Compensation

Utility Locator salary depends on knowledge and experience.  Entry level pay for a Locate Tech is generally around $13 an hour, and as you get more experience and gain the skills necessary to be a trusted tech in the field the pay could increase to $20 an hour or more.  If you have a private locating business or contract work you could charge between $120-$200 an hour depending on your area.  


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