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Heavy Equipment Operator Salary

Men account for the majority of Heavy Equipment Operators in the United States. The overall average income for this group is approximately $17.84 per hour. Overall cash earnings for Heavy Equipment Operators stretch from $28K on the lower end to $68K near the top, and the heftiest packages can encompass around $2K from bonuses and $7K from profit sharing. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by geography, followed by the specific employer and experience level. Close to one-third of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, a majority report medical coverage and a little less than half claim dental coverage as well. The majority of Heavy Equipment Operators claim high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
$25,971 - $72,820
(Median)
$26K
$43K
$73K
MEDIAN: $42,837
10%
50%
90%

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$12.19 - $26.82
(Median)
$12
$18
$27
MEDIAN: $17.00
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
$25,971 - $72,820  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $1,994  
Profit Sharing
$450.00 - $7,450  
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).
)
$27,657 - $68,442  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 407
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
$12.19 - $26.82  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.96  
Overtime
$17.35 - $38.47  
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 - $1,994  
   
Profit Sharing
$450.00 - $7,450  
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).
)
$27,657 - $68,442  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 3,008
United States (change)

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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Compensation may increase greatly for Heavy Equipment Operators who advance to upper-end positions like Construction Project Manager. Median pay for Construction Project Managers is $70K per year. More often than not, Construction Foreman role is the next step for Heavy Equipment Operators moving up in the field. Construction Foremans usually make $51K per year. Many other Heavy Equipment Operators choose to take on a Construction Equipment Operator role, where salaries are typically $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 leaders in the field that employ a large number of Heavy Equipment Operators. The biggest paychecks can be found at Waste Connections, Inc. — the median salary there is $53K.

Waste Management, Inc. offers the lowest pay, with a median salary of just $42K. The pay scale doesn't vary widely, either; compensation ranges from $31K to $57K.

Popular Skills for Heavy Equipment Operator


Survey results imply that Heavy Equipment Operators put a diverse skill set to use. Most notably, skills in Blueprints, Machine Operation, Equipment Maintenance, and heavy equipment operator are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Land Surveying. Those educated in Equipment Maintenance tend to be well versed in 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. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $37K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $41K. Heavy Equipment Operators with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $45K. Heavy Equipment Operators who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $47K on average.

Pay Difference by Location


Los Angeles is home to an above-average pay rate for Heavy Equipment Operators, 31 percent higher than the national average. Heavy Equipment Operators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Pittsburgh (+27 percent), Columbus (+19 percent), Bakersfield (+17 percent), and Denver (+13 percent). Heavy Equipment Operators in Raleigh earn salaries far below the national average by 21 percent, proving that geography overwhelmingly affects the pay scale for those in this field. Below-median salaries also turn up in Tulsa and Tampa (12 percent lower and 10 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries



National Average
$42,000



Skills That Affect Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries


Machine Operation
up arrow 3%

Equipment Maintenance
up arrow 2%

heavy equipment operator
0%

National Average
$42,000

Heavy Equipment Repair
up arrow 2%

Land Surveying
up arrow 7%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 476 votes.

Gender

Female
2 %
Male
98 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
2%
1-4 years
21%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
31%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 67% dental benefits Dental: 46%
vision benefits Vision: 37% employee benefits None: 32%