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Heavy Equipment Operator Salary

Men make up the majority of Heavy Equipment Operators in the United States, bringing in about $18.12 per hour. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the specific employer, but the particular city and experience level are influential factors as well. Job satisfaction for Heavy Equipment Operators is high. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — slightly less than a third lack coverage. On the flip side, a majority have medical insurance and a little less than one-half receive dental plans.

$27,368 - $72,181
(Median)
$27K
$44K
$72K
MEDIAN: $43,588
10%
50%
90%

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$12.45 - $27.40
(Median)
$12
$18
$27
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
$27,368 - $72,181  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,007  
Profit Sharing
$294.79 - $7,630  
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).
)
$28,393 - $69,179  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 418
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
$12.45 - $27.40  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.96  
Overtime
$17.71 - $38.45  
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 - $2,007  
   
Profit Sharing
$294.79 - $7,630  
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).
)
$28,393 - $69,179  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 3,235

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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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Heavy Equipment Operators who go on to become Construction Project Managers may see their salaries climb quite a bit. Median pay for Construction Project Managers is $70K annually. A Construction Foreman role is the most common promotion for Heavy Equipment Operators moving up the ladder, and pay for the position tends to be around the $51K mark. Another typical, albeit less common, transition for Heavy Equipment Operators is an Equipment Operator position, where earnings are usually $40K.

Heavy Equipment Operator Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Heavy Equipment Operator


Waste Management, Inc., Republic Services Inc, Vulcan Materials Co, U.S. Air Force (USAF), and Kinder Morgan Inc. are top-notch employers for Heavy Equipment Operators in this area. Heavy Equipment Operators seeking a sizable paycheck can earn the most at Waste Connections, Inc., where the average salary comes to $62K.

Waste Management, Inc. reports the lowest median salary in the area (it's only $39K) but some workers make up to $57K, indicating a rather large gap in employee earnings.

Popular Skills for Heavy Equipment Operator


Heavy Equipment Operators report using a wide range of professional skills. Most notably, facility with foreman, Blueprints, and Welding are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 20 percent, 14 percent, and 13 percent, respectively. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Land Surveying and Heavy Equipment Repair. For most people, competency in Equipment Maintenance indicates knowledge of Blueprints.

Pay by Experience Level for Heavy Equipment Operator

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


For many Heavy Equipment Operators, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $37K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $41K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $45K. Old hands boasting more than twenty years of relevant experience report pay that is more or less commensurate with that extensive experience; average earnings for this group come out to approximately $48K.

Pay Difference by Location


Heavy Equipment Operators will find that Seattle offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 22 percent. Heavy Equipment Operators will also find cushy salaries in Los Angeles (+20 percent), Pittsburgh (+19 percent), Denver (+13 percent), and Austin (+11 percent). The lowest-paying market is Raleigh, which sits 17 percent below the national average. Tulsa and Tampa are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 12 percent lower and 11 percent lower, respectively.

Related Job Salaries

United States (change)

Experience Affects Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries



National Average
$42,000



Skills That Affect Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries

foreman
up arrow 20%


heavy equipment operator
up arrow 13%

Welding
up arrow 13%

Machine Operation
up arrow 2%

Equipment Maintenance
0%

National Average
$42,000

Heavy Equipment Repair
up arrow 3%

Land Surveying
up arrow 8%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 537 votes.

Gender

Female
2 %
Male
98 %

Years of Experience

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

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 67% dental benefits Dental: 47%
vision benefits Vision: 37% employee benefits None: 31%
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