Heavy Equipment Operator Salary

Men make up the majority of Heavy Equipment Operators in the United States, and the nationwide average salary in this area lies in the neighborhood of $18.37 per hour. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the company, but the particular city and years of experience are influential factors as well. The majority of Heavy Equipment Operators claim high levels of job satisfaction. Although just under one in three lack health benefits of any kind, the larger part do enjoy medical insurance, and slightly less than one-half get dental coverage, too. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$27,333 - $71,248
(Median)
$27K
$43K
$71K
MEDIAN: $43,212
10%
50%
90%

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$12.75 - $28.29
(Median)
$13
$18
$28
MEDIAN: $18.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$24K$48K$72K
Salary
$27,333 - $71,248  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,071  
Profit Sharing
$296.61 - $7,500  
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).
)
$28,824 - $71,124  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 508
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$12.75 - $28.29  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.50  
Overtime
$18.09 - $39.40  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,071  
   
Profit Sharing
$296.61 - $7,500  
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).
)
$28,824 - $71,124  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 4,333
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Job Description for Heavy Equipment Operator

A heavy equipment operator is a construction worker who is specifically tasked with the safe and efficient operations of heavy machinery, such as loaders, dump trucks, backhoes, and graders. The heavy equipment operator ensures that the machinery he or she is about to use is in good working order, and then follows all relevant procedures and protocols while using it. The operator may be asked to provide input into the way some equipment is used on a site, and is required to report any noticed anomalies in operation to a construction manager or equipment repair foreperson. The operator also typically assists with any loading or unloading of the equipment from flatbed trucks or trains.

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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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Heavy Equipment Operators may progress into high-paying roles like Construction Project Manager, where median compensation is $70K annually. Going from Heavy Equipment Operator to Construction Foreman is the transition that occurs most often in this field, where the paychecks are $51K. Many others choose to work as Equipment Operators, where pay is typically $40K.

Heavy Equipment Operator Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Heavy Equipment Operator


Heavy Equipment Operators flock to Waste Management, Inc., Republic Services Inc, U.S. Air Force (USAF), Vulcan Materials Co, and Kinder Morgan Inc., highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. Those at Waste Connections, Inc. can expect to make the most, with the company offering a median salary of $59K. Other leaders in compensation levels are Cemex, Inc. at $48K, Kinder Morgan Inc. at $47K, and Waste Management, Inc., where Heavy Equipment Operators annually earn $43K.

For Heavy Equipment Operators, below-average salaries can be found at Vulcan Materials Co; in fact, average earnings are around $37K, the lowest in the area, though the difference in the company's lowest and highest employee paychecks ($29K versus $59K) is great. Other low-paying employers include U.S. Air Force (USAF) at $38K and Republic Services Inc at $39K, though some Heavy Equipment Operators there earn up to $68K.

Popular Skills for Heavy Equipment Operator


Heavy Equipment Operators report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Lucky workers who know crane operator can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 25 percent above average. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and foreman are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 23 percent and 25 percent. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Plant Maintenance, Maintenance, and Team Leadership. It is often found that people who know Equipment Maintenance are also skilled in Blueprints.

Pay by Experience Level for Heavy Equipment Operator

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


For Heavy Equipment Operators, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Relatively untried employees who have fewer than five years of experience earn around $38K on average. People who have worked for five to 10 years can expect a higher median salary of $42K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $46K in this role. Heavy Equipment Operators with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $50K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $42,947

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Heavy Equipment Operators in Seattle enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 25 percent above the national average. Heavy Equipment Operators will also find cushy salaries in Las Vegas (+23 percent), Pittsburgh (+17 percent), Los Angeles (+16 percent), and Austin (+13 percent). In Orlando, salaries are 16 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Raleigh and Tampa (14 percent lower and 13 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries



National Average
$43,000



Skills That Affect Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries

Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
up arrow 25%

crane operator
up arrow 25%

foreman
up arrow 23%



Operations Management
up arrow 7%

Machine Operation
up arrow 1%

Equipment Maintenance
up arrow 1%

National Average
$43,000

CDL
up arrow 1%

EQUIPMENT OPERATOR
up arrow 1%

Operator
up arrow 2%

Heavy Equipment Repair
up arrow 4%

Team Leadership
up arrow 8%

Maintenance
up arrow 17%

Plant Maintenance
up arrow 20%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 641 votes.

Gender

Female
3 %
Male
97 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
23%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
30%
20 years or more
24%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 67%
dental benefits
Dental: 47%
medical benefits
Vision: 38%
dental benefits
None: 31%
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