Equipment Operator Salary
Very much a male-dominated career in the United States, Equipment Operators earn an average of $16.88 per hour. Overall cash earnings for Equipment Operators stretch from $26K on the lower end to $69K near the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $11K from bonuses and $4K from profit sharing. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is geographic location, followed by the specific employer and experience level. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. While nearly one in four report receiving no health benefits, a strong majority do receive medical coverage, and a majority have dental, as well. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
Job Description for Equipment Operator
An equipment operator performs the hands-on aspect of using equipment, applying mechanical skill sets to operate a variety of devices such as a scraper, bulldozer, tractor, motor grader, front-end loader, crane, pile driver, and back hoe. Equipment operators are commonly seen using their equipment for road construction and maintenance. Other common projects that equipment operators work on are building construction, bridge construction, industrial farm work, and other large structures. On top of operating various machines, equipment operators must also perform regular maintenance on the machines they operate and be capable of troubleshooting problemsRead More...
Due to constraints and difficulties posed by each individual project, equipment operators tend to work odd hours; for example, it is common for an equipment operator to work in the middle of the night on a road construction project. Often, the equipment operator works very long shifts in excess of 12 hours; further, these shifts usually start at hours very early in the morning. Travel may also be required to reach the project site.
Due to the variety of equipment used, there are numerous certification programs that are designed to teach equipment operators how to operate and maintain various machines. These courses also teach best safety practices and inform the operator of the dangers inherent in using heavy machinery.
Equipment Operator Tasks
- Follow safety regulations and remove and minimize potential hazards.
- Perform routine maintenance and ensure any needed repairs are made.
- Operate heavy construction machines such as bulldozers, compressors, tractors, and graders.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Equipment Operator
Those at Baker Hughes Inc can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $83K.
Popular Skills for Equipment Operator
Survey results suggest that Equipment Operators use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. Most notably, facility with Welding, Operator, and Heavy Equipment Repair are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 42 percent, 26 percent, and 11 percent, respectively. At the other end of the pay range are skills like truck driver and Operations Management. Most people familiar with Equipment Maintenance also know Heavy Equipment Repair.
Pay by Experience Level for Equipment Operator
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Equipment Operators, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $36K on average, and those who have worked for five to 10 years see a bigger median salary of $41K. Equipment Operators who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $43K. After two decades in the workforce, the average Equipment Operator generally earns more than ever; median pay for this group is estimated at $49K.
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