Heavy Equipment Operator Salary

A sizeable majority of Heavy Equipment Operators in the United States are men. In this role, average pay is around $18.22 per hour. Geography is the main element affecting pay for this group — the company and experience level are driving factors as well. For the most part, Heavy Equipment Operators enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Although just under a third lack health benefits of any kind, a majority do enjoy medical insurance, and a little less than one-half get dental coverage, too.

$27,280 - $72,301
(Median)
$27K
$44K
$72K
MEDIAN: $43,637
10%
50%
90%

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$12.61 - $27.61
(Median)
$13
$18
$28
MEDIAN: $18.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25K$50K$75K
Salary
$27,280 - $72,301  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,023  
Profit Sharing
$293.61 - $7,603  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$28,659 - $69,729  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 441
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$13$26$39
Hourly Rate
$12.61 - $27.61  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $3.33  
Overtime
$17.83 - $38.96  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$26K$52K$78K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,023  
   
Profit Sharing
$293.61 - $7,603  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$28,659 - $69,729  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 3,453
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Job Description for Heavy Equipment Operator

Heavy equipment operators are responsible for operating heavy equipment in a safe and effective manner. "Heavy equipment" may refer to forklifts, tankers, 18-wheel tractor-trailers, excavators or other pieces of machinery. They perform daily safety and maintenance checks on their equipment and perform scheduled cleanings. Additionally, they are responsible for maintaining a clean and presentable workplace, which includes storing heavy equipment safely and securely. Heavy equipment operators frequently work on construction sites and in manufacturing plant-type atmospheres. Operators can work indoors (such as in warehouses) or outdoors, and operators may need to work in extreme weather conditions.

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Heavy Equipment Operator Tasks

  • Clean heavy equipment as scheduled.
  • Perform daily safety and maintenance checks.
  • Maintain a clean and presentable workplace.
  • Operate heavy equipment in a safe and effective manner.
  • Store heavy equipment safely and securely.

Common Career Paths for Heavy Equipment Operator


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At the upper end, Heavy Equipment Operators who move into a Construction Project Manager role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Construction Project Managers is a much higher $70K per year. With an annual salary of $51K, Construction Foreman is the most common role for Heavy Equipment Operators to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into an Equipment Operator role — which usually pays $40K — is also typical for Heavy Equipment Operators, though less common by comparison.

Heavy Equipment Operator Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Heavy Equipment Operator


Known for taking on a considerable number of Heavy Equipment Operators, Waste Management, Inc., Republic Services Inc, Vulcan Materials Co, U.S. Air Force (USAF), and Kinder Morgan Inc. are leading firms in the industry. Heading up the field in terms of compensation, Waste Connections, Inc. offers the most; Heavy Equipment Operators earn $62K on average there.

Employees of Republic Services Inc can expect to make the least, with the company offering a median salary of $39K; however, pay is widely dispersed from top to bottom, ranging from $33K to $66K.

Popular Skills for Heavy Equipment Operator


Heavy Equipment Operators generally report applying a varied skill set to their work. Most notably, skills in foreman, Blueprints, Welding, and heavy equipment operator are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 12 percent and 19 percent. Skills that pay less than market rate include Plant Maintenance, Land Surveying, and CDL. Most people skilled in Equipment Maintenance are similarly competent in Blueprints.

Pay by Experience Level for Heavy Equipment Operator

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Heavy Equipment Operators with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Although individuals who have less than five years' experience earn $38K on average, people with five to 10 years benefit from a notably larger average of $42K. On average, Heavy Equipment Operators make $45K following one to two decades on the job. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $48K.

Pay Difference by Location


Williston is home to an above-average pay rate for Heavy Equipment Operators, 83 percent higher than the national average. Heavy Equipment Operators will also find cushy salaries in Las Vegas (+26 percent), Seattle (+23 percent), Pittsburgh (+21 percent), and Los Angeles (+17 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Raleigh, 16 percent below the national average. Orlando and Tampa are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 13 percent lower and 11 percent lower, respectively.

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Experience Affects Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries



National Average
$43,000



Skills That Affect Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries

foreman
up arrow 19%


Welding
up arrow 12%

heavy equipment operator
up arrow 11%

Machine Operation
up arrow 1%

National Average
$43,000

Equipment Maintenance
up arrow 1%

Heavy Equipment Repair
up arrow 3%

CDL
up arrow 4%

Land Surveying
up arrow 8%

Plant Maintenance
up arrow 19%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 542 votes.

Gender

Female
2 %
Male
98 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
22%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
31%
20 years or more
25%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 68% dental benefits Dental: 47%
vision benefits Vision: 38% employee benefits None: 31%
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