A sizeable majority of Heavy Equipment Operators in the United States are men. In this role, average pay is around $18.63 per hour. With some bonuses approaching $5K and certain profit sharing proceeds approaching $7K, overall incomes of Heavy Equipment Operators spread between $30K and $72K depending on individual performance. While the company and experience level impact pay for this group, residence is the most influential factor. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. While nearly one in three report receiving no health benefits, a majority do receive medical coverage, and one-half have dental, as well.

$27,553 - $79,162
$28K
$46K
$79K
MEDIAN: $45,723
10%
50%
90%

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$13.11 - $28.96
$13
$19
$29
MEDIAN: $18.63
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$27K$54K$81K
Salary
$27,553 - $79,162  
   
Bonus
$394.53 - $5,107  
Profit Sharing
$193.92 - $7,195  
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).
)
$29,586 - $72,407  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 514
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
$13.11 - $28.96  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.86  
Overtime
$18.69 - $40.11  
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
$394.53 - $5,107  
   
Commission
$504  
Profit Sharing
$193.92 - $7,195  
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).
)
$29,586 - $72,407  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 4,622

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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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

  • 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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For Heavy Equipment Operators, progressing to a Construction Project Manager role may result in a significant raise. On average, a Construction Project Manager can earn $70K annually. As Heavy Equipment Operators progress in their field, many go on to become Construction Foremans. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and pay for the position is usually $51K per year. Another common career choice for Heavy Equipment Operators is to move into an Equipment Operator role. Typically, Equipment Operators get paid $40K.

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, U.S. Air Force (USAF), U.S. Army, and U.S. Marine Corps are leading firms in the industry. Waste Connections, Inc. offers the highest compensation with a median salary of $59K. Heavy Equipment Operators can also look forward to large paychecks at Martin Marietta Materials Inc ($54K), The Lane Construction Corporation ($53K), and Tradesmen International, Inc. ($50K).

U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force (USAF), and Vulcan Materials Co are a few other employers known for handing out relatively lightweight salaries ($29K, $31K, and $35K respectively).

Popular Skills for Heavy Equipment Operator


Survey takers working as Heavy Equipment Operators report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, facility with Global Positioning Systems, foreman, and Operations Management are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 29 percent, 25 percent, and 22 percent, respectively. Skills that pay less than market rate include Safety Compliance and EQUIPMENT OPERATOR. 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.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Heavy Equipment Operators — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $39K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $43K. Heavy Equipment Operators who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $48K. More than 20 years of experience mean a somewhat bigger median paycheck of $52K, but it's not much more than what less experienced people make.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $44,244

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

For those looking to make money, Heavy Equipment Operators in Williston enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 71 percent above the national average. Heavy Equipment Operators will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+22 percent), Indianapolis (+19 percent), Denver (+15 percent), and Houston (+8 percent). In Tampa, salaries are 17 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Charleston and Orlando (12 percent lower and 11 percent lower, respectively).

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 622 votes.
027
Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
28%
20 years or more
23%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries



National Average
$44,000



Skills That Affect Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries

Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
up arrow 29%

foreman
up arrow 25%

Operations Management
up arrow 22%

Welding
up arrow 15%

OSHA Compliance
up arrow 13%


Heavy Equipment Repair
up arrow 6%


Team Leadership
up arrow 2%


CDL
up arrow 1%

Equipment Maintenance
0%

National Average
$44,000

Operator
up arrow 2%


Safety Compliance
up arrow 15%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 622 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: 66%
dental benefits
Dental: 48%
vision benefits
Vision: 38%
dental benefits
None: 32%
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