Heavy Equipment Operator Salary

Very much a male-dominated career in the United States, Heavy Equipment Operators earn an average of $18.84 per hour. Total cash compensation to Heavy Equipment Operators ranges from $30K on the lower end to $74K on the higher end; the final number includes potential for approximately $6K each from bonuses and profit sharing in exceptional cases. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the specific employer and experience level. While some workers in this profession — one in three — do not have any health coverage, more than half do receive medical benefits and about one-half have dental insurance. Most Heavy Equipment Operators report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$27,044 - $79,022
$27K
$47K
$79K
MEDIAN: $46,515
10%
50%
90%

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$13.24 - $29.40
$13
$19
$29
MEDIAN: $18.84
10%
50%
90%

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$0$79K
Salary $27,044 - $79,022
Bonus $296.96 - $5,898
Profit Sharing $489.36 - $6,205
Commission $504
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).
)
$29,737 - $73,961
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 11 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 534
Hourly Data $0$40
Hourly Rate $13.24 - $29.40
Hourly Tips $0.00 - $4.77
Overtime $19.14 - $40.64
Annual Data $0$73K
Bonus $296.96 - $5,898
Commission $504
Profit Sharing $489.36 - $6,205
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).
)
$29,737 - $73,961
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 11 Jul 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 4,705

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Employers: Start Here »

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

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

Common Career Paths for Heavy Equipment Operator


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As Heavy Equipment Operators transition into upper-level roles such as Construction Project Manager, they may see a strong upturn in salary. Construction Project Managers earn $70K on average per year. Becoming a Construction Foreman is, more often than not, the most common role that Heavy Equipment Operators move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. The average salary for the position is $51K. Another frequent advance is for Heavy Equipment Operators to assume an Equipment Operator role; in this role, workers often earn $40K.

Heavy Equipment Operator Job Listings

Popular Employer Salaries for Heavy Equipment Operator


Dominating the field, Waste Management, Inc., Republic Services Inc, U.S. Air Force (USAF), U.S. Army, and The Lane Construction Corporation are top firms with a reputation for hiring a great number of Heavy Equipment Operators. Waste Connections, Inc. leads the field in terms of pay, with a median salary of $59K. Those in search of high salaries should also consider The Lane Construction Corporation, Martin Marietta Materials Inc, and Cemex, Inc., top-paying firms where Heavy Equipment Operators rake in a $54K, $54K, or $51K, respectively.

Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include U.S. Army at $28K, U.S. Air Force (USAF) at $31K, and Vulcan Materials Co, where $37K is the norm.

Popular Skills for Heavy Equipment Operator


Survey results imply that Heavy Equipment Operators deploy a substantial tool kit of skills at work. Lucky workers who know Global Positioning Systems can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 29 percent above average. Operations Management and foreman are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 19 percent and 29 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Safety Compliance, EQUIPMENT OPERATOR, and Operator. Most people familiar with Equipment Maintenance also know Blueprints.

Pay by Experience Level for Heavy Equipment Operator

Pay by Experience for a Heavy Equipment Operator has a positive trend. An entry-level Heavy Equipment Operator with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $39,000 based on 1,844 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Heavy Equipment Operator with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $43,000 based on 1,485 salaries. An experienced Heavy Equipment Operator which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $49,000 based on 1,782 salaries. A Heavy Equipment Operator with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $52,000 based on 1,152 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $45,295

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

Williston offers some of the highest pay in the country for Heavy Equipment Operators, 67 percent above the national average. Heavy Equipment Operators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Las Vegas (+24 percent), Indianapolis (+19 percent), Denver (+12 percent), and Pittsburgh (+7 percent). Tampa is the lowest-paying area, 18 percent south of the national average. Employers in Charleston and Orlando also lean toward paying below-median salaries (15 percent lower and 12 percent lower, respectively).

Heavy Equipment Operator Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Heavy Equipment Operator?

Heavy Equipment Operator in York:
"Ready to get out of Pennsylvania."
Pros: Working with my hands and at my own pace alone most of the time.
Cons: Constant check ups from supervisor, the union, working 3rd shift.

Heavy Equipment Operator in Colorado Springs:
"Fun."
Pros: I get to run heavy equipment and the jobs sight changes.
Cons:

Heavy Equipment Operator in Dade City:
"I."
Pros: It's fun.
Cons: I have to do every thing.

Heavy Equipment Operator in Shelbyville:
"Low stress."
Pros: No responsibility, no pressure, reasonable hours.
Cons: Overtime, work on-call, adverse weather conditions.

Heavy Equipment Operator in Lima:
"Enjoyable."
Pros: Get to operate equipment and baler. Because I am skilled in other areas as well.
Cons: Staff and employee attitude and pay.

Heavy Equipment Operator in Lynnville:
Pros: Never do the same thing everyday.
Cons: Have to work in bad weather conditions.

Heavy Equipment Operator in Richmond:
"Dig wholes. Grading."
Pros: Operating heavy equipment and working with people.
Cons:

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Heavy Equipment Operator

Gender

Female
3 %
Male
97 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 740 votes.
Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
28%
20 years or more
23%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries

▲15%

▲7%

National Average
$45,000

▼5%

▼13%

Skills That Affect Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries


▲19%


OSHA Compliance
▲10%

▲9%

Welding
▲8%

excavator
▲3%



CDL
▼0%

National Average
$45,000


Equipment Maintenance
▼2%

▼6%


Safety Compliance
▼17%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 740 votes.

Gender

Female
3 %
Male
97 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
28%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 67%
dental benefits
Dental: 49%
vision benefits
Vision: 39%
no benefits
None: 32%
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