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Essential Competencies


Description: This competency identifies the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities required to perform elementary tasks in the operation of gasoline or diesel powered engineering and construction equipment with wheeled or crawler type traction. Work is performed under close supervision, on level terrain and after intense orientation to equipment and safety standards.

I.Orientation and Inspection of Equipment.

A. Interpret and use operating manuals, maintenance manuals, service charts.
B. Inspection of equipment and interpret instructions for proper use of all controls.
C. Start up procedures, safety inspections, begin formal safety program.

II.Development of Basic Control Skills

A. Handling characteristics of equipment.
B. Manipulate sets of controls to maneuver equipment and attachments.
C. Develop hand, foot and eye coordination.
D. Push, pile, windrow and move various loose materials

III.Soil Types and Construction Materials

A. Acquire basic knowledge of local soil types.
B. Soil types; terrain and weather conditions.
C. Construction materials; aspect and use.
D. Application methods for construction materials.

IV.Specialized Skills for Park Area

A. Snow Removal: Snow type, characteristics, temperatures, slope and aspect of terrain, moisture content, Methods of removal, timing and technique.
B. Extreme Heat and Sand Conditions: Effect on equipment, increased preventive maintenance, soil conditions.
C. Extreme Moisture: Effect on soil types, hazards, increased preventive maintenance.
D. Finish work: Utilizes hand tools to smooth and camouflage ground disturbance.
E. Resource Protection: Understands the mission of the National Park Service and incorporates principles of visual quality and resource protection in equipment operation.
F. Safety: Understands safety concepts and is able to protect equipment and people.
G. Compliance: Understands regulations of NEPA and Archeological protection. Checks with supervisor before soil disturbance, knows procedures if artifacts are uncovered.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Follow oral and written instructions from supervisor

Interpret and follow operating manuals, maintenance manuals.

Comprehend and comply to safety codes required in the operation of equipment and attachments.

Operate equipment on rolling hills, flat terrain. Acquire ability to excavate, backfill, grade to rough specifications, load trucks and stockpile construction type materials.


Description: This competency identifies the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required to perform intermediate level tasks in the operation of engineering and construction equipment. Work is performed under normal supervision, on level to rolling terrain with introduction to surveying and grade setting devices and continued emphasis on safe operation of equipment under various conditions.

All Competencies at the Entry level Plus:

I.Orientation and Inspection of Equipment.

A. Perform preventive maintenance to equipment and attachments.
B. Recognize and trouble shoot mechanical problems with equipment and all attachments.
C. Safety program; influence terrain and weather has on soil and material types with direct relationship to equipment.
D. Basic principles of gas and diesel engines, hydraulic systems.

II.Development of Basic Control Skills

A. Develop high level of concentration and depth perception with continued development of hand and eye coordination.
B. Ability to operate equipment in confined spaces.
C. Operates equipment with clutches, levers, brakes and valves while making adjustments to attachments with out stopping equipment.
D. Operate one or more pieces of equipment to perform rough specifications..
E. Grades surfaces, compacts soils and construction materials to exact specifications on flat or rolling terrain. Use measuring devices to determine grade.
F. Loads, unloads and transports equipment operated with tractor-lowboy or dump trailer combination. Acquires State Commercial Drivers License.

III.Soil Types and Construction Materials

A. Use of local soils in the performance of tasks.
B. Application of construction materials to acquire proper skill and technique.
C. Knowledge of all asphalt materials and modifiers through interpretation of Asphalt Institute Manuals (AIM) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines.

IV. Specialized Skills for Park Area

A. Safe operation of equipment in local elements with good knowledge of soil, snow and terrain characteristics.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Operate equipment in hazardous weather conditions; slick wet surfaces, snow and ice.

Operate equipment over soft and loose surfaces.

Operate equipment to excavate, backfill or grade to rough specifications.

Ability to operate equipment to grade road surfaces or level areas or material on flat terrain to fine specifications.

Ability to operate equipment to remove snow from maintained road surfaces.

Ability to use and interpret hand or visual signals to perform work.


Description: This competency identifies the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required to operate engineering and construction equipment at the full performance level. Work is performed with little supervision and with oral or written instructions. Works to fine specifications from grade stakes set either by engineer or self. Tasks are performed to fine specifications on slopes, inclines, ramps, curves etc. on rough or rocky terrain. Individual will be able to schedule work, lead crews to perform tasks and determine type and amounts of material required.

All Competencies at the Entry Level and Developmental Level Plus:

I. Operation of Equipment.

A. Instruct others in the preventive maintenance of engineering and construction equipment.
B. Perform minor maintenance and repairs to all equipment and attachments.
C. Ability to adjust equipment and attachments, change attachments to perform various tasks.
D. Instructs others in the safe operation of equipment and operates equipment to perform all job elements.
E. Knowledge of theory with regard to gas and diesel engines, hydraulic systems. Analyzes complex mechanical problems, works with designated mechanics.

II.Basic Control Skills

A. Operates a variety of rubber tired and tracked engineering and construction equipment to perform all job elements.
B. Operate equipment and attachments according to safety rules/regulations to avoid injury to self and others, in confined spaces.
D. Professional operation of equipment with a high level of concentration to manipulate levers and attachments to obtain fine grade specifications in minimum time on various terrain and weather conditions.

III.Soil Types and Construction Material.

A. Recognize changes in soil conditions and makes proper adjustments due to hilly or steep terrain and weather.
B. Selects and applies construction type materials and using proper technique.
C. Applies all asphalt and modifiers using proper technique. Refers to all AASHTO guidelines and AIM manuals to maintain knowledge of asphalt.

IV.Specialized Skills for Park Area

A.Operate engineering and construction type equipment in local elements at the full performance level to fine grade specifications.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

All Knowledge, Skills and Abilities at the Entry and Developmental Levels plus:

Operate equipment over rough, rocky, steep surfaces; mountainous terrain etc.

Grade and level to fine grade specifications as determined by grade stakes all construction materials and soil types on rolling and hilly terrain.

Operate equipment to clear maintained and closed roadways of snow and ice. Specific roads may be closed for winter season and present unique problems requiring specialized techniques to open for summer use.

Excavates trenches to expose or install underground utilities.

Work is performed under stressful conditions requiring intense concentration.

Interpret and follow instructions using specifications, construction drawings etc.

Interpret and apply safety codes and industry standards in the operation of equipment and attachments.

Knowledge of State and Federal rules, regulations, etc. related to transporting and operating equipment.

Lead and instruct subordinates to perform related tasks and complete assigned projects.

Assist in the training and development of employees who possess the desire and aptitude to operate construction and engineering type equipment.

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies

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