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Become A Heavy Equipment Operator

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Working As A Heavy Equipment Operator

  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Getting Information
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Repetitive

  • $44,580

    Average Salary

What Does A Heavy Equipment Operator Do At Waste Connections, Inc.

* Ability to efficiently operate bulldozers, wheel loaders, excavator and off road dump trucks.
* Compactor experience _preferred_ , but not required.
* Performs routine inspection and maintenance on vehicles such as checking oil, water, and tires.
* Ensures proper care in the use and maintenance of equipment and supplies.
* Promotes continuous improvement of workplace safety and environmental practices.
* Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.
* A typical schedule for this position is Monday
* Friday, and every other Saturday

What Does A Heavy Equipment Operator Do At Tradesmen International, Inc.

* Operates heavy equipment (305 CAT mini excavator, 650 John Deere doxer, 544 loader) and other equipment as needed on site such as CAT dozers and larger excavators
* Observes and examines colored flags and ground markings indicting the location of underground utilities and structires
* Excavates to dimensions as specified by construction drawings, sketches, grade markers, and/or verbal instructions
* Performs preventative maintenance as needed
* Performs backfilling and grading operations to specified grade

What Does A Heavy Equipment Operator Do At ASRC Federal Holding Company

* Operate heavy equipment such as excavator, backhoe, rubber tire front end loader and excavating equipment for highway and road repairs.
* Experience with motor grader is a plus.
* Fine grading, drainage work and other items associated with highway and roadwork
* Must be well versed in grading, surveying, drainage, structural backfill, compaction
* Understand how to obtain geotechnical engineering requirements using heavy equipment as well as associated support to team members including the appropriate equipment and manpower to get the job done right the first time

What Does A Heavy Equipment Operator Do At Ledcor Group

* Safe and efficient operation of haul trucks, water trucks, loaders, dozers, graders, and excavators to meet production targets
* Conducts pre-trip/walk-around safety inspections and completes daily Field Level Hazard Assessments for all activities
* Maintains heavy equipment in good operating condition, reporting and logging maintenance requirements or concerns
* Complete production reporting and other documentation as required
* Communicate effectively and professionally with other team members
* Be a leader of both safety and production for the team by ensuring compliance with all company, client, and legislated safety policies and procedures
* May perform other related duties as assigned

What Does A Heavy Equipment Operator Do At Texas Association of Counties

* Operates road construction equipment (motor graders, rollers, loaders, tractors, dump trucks, backhoes, and water distributor trucks.) Operates rear and side mount shredders for mowing.
* Patches roadways Cuts brush and picks up and disposes of trash and brush.
* Assists in the estimation of required amount of materials needed for projects.
* Performs maintenance and repair of road construction equipment Loads and unloads large amounts and weights of materials and debris to and from trucks.
* Operates a truck to transport personnel, supplies, and materials.
* Assists in flagging traffic as needed Performs housekeeping and facilities maintenance functions.
* Date Posted: 8/25/2017 Position Numbers:
* ADA/Equal Employment Opportunity Employer/VETS

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How To Become A Heavy Equipment Operator

Many workers learn equipment operation on the job after earning a high school diploma or equivalent, while others learn through an apprenticeship or by attending vocational schools.


A high school diploma or equivalent is required for most jobs. Vocational training and math courses are useful, and a course in auto mechanics can be helpful because workers often perform maintenance on their equipment. 

Education at a private vocational school may be beneficial in finding a job, and the variety of construction equipment that is taught varies from school to school. However, people considering this kind of training should check the school’s reputation among employers in the area and find out if the school offers the opportunity to train on actual machines in realistic situations.

Many training facilities incorporate sophisticated simulators into their training, allowing beginners to familiarize themselves with the equipment in a virtual environment before operating real machines.


Many workers learn their jobs by operating light equipment under the guidance of an experienced operator. Later, they may operate heavier equipment, such as bulldozers. Technologically advanced construction equipment with computerized controls requires greater skill to operate. Operators of such equipment may need more training and some understanding of electronics.

Other workers learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. On the job, apprentices learn to maintain equipment, operate machinery, and use special technology, such as a Global Positioning System (GPS). In the classroom, apprentices learn operating procedures for special equipment, safety practices, and first aid, as well as how to read grading plans. Because apprentices learn to operate a wider variety of machines than do other beginners, they usually have better job opportunities.

A few groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work
  • Valid driver’s license

After completing an apprenticeship program, apprentices are considered journey workers and perform tasks with less guidance.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Construction equipment operators often need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to haul their equipment to various jobsites. State laws governing CDLs vary.

A few states have special licenses for operators of backhoes, loaders, and bulldozers.

Currently, 17 states require pile-driver operators to have a crane license because similar operational concerns apply to both pile-drivers and cranes. In addition, the cities of Chicago, New Orleans, New York, Omaha, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC require special crane licensure.

Important Qualities

Hand–eye–foot coordination. Construction equipment operators should have steady hands and feet to guide and control heavy machinery precisely, sometimes in tight spaces.

Mechanical skills. Construction equipment operators often perform basic maintenance on the equipment they operate. As a result, they should be familiar with hand and power tools and standard equipment care.

Physical strength. Construction equipment operators may be required to lift more than 50 pounds as part of their duties.

Unafraid of heights. Construction equipment operators may work at great heights. For example, pile-driver operators may need to service the pulleys located at the top of the pile-driver’s tower, which may be several stories tall.

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Heavy Equipment Operator jobs

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Heavy Equipment Operator Typical Career Paths

Heavy Equipment Operator Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • Carrier

  • French

  • Dakota

  • German

  • Portuguese

  • Thai

  • Japanese

  • Polish

  • Filipino

  • Russian

  • Finnish

  • Italian

  • Chinese

  • Marshallese

  • Swedish

  • Turkish

  • Samoan

  • Mandarin

  • Hmong

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Heavy Equipment Operator

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Heavy Equipment Operator Education

Heavy Equipment Operator

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Real Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Heavy Equipment Operator Shelton Federal Group, LLC Washington, DC Jan 29, 2015 $55,890
Heavy Equipment Operator Joseph J. Magnolia, Inc. Washington, DC Feb 27, 2012 $55,099
Heavy Equipment Operator Tim's Tree Service, Inc. Lexington, TN May 15, 2014 $44,871
Heavy Equipment Operator Coleman Construction Hazlehurst, MS Jan 10, 2015 $42,016
Heavy Equipment Operator Chris Dowden Forestry LA Apr 15, 2015 $41,093
Mason & Heavy Equipment Operator All Pro Contracting, L.L.C. Sep 17, 2008 $40,175
Heavy Equipment Operator Planted Earth Inc. Carbondale, CO May 22, 2009 $38,630
Heavy Equipment Operator Chaparral West Inc. Grand Junction, CO Feb 29, 2008 $30,282
Heavy Equipment Operator-Leveler Victor Produce of New Mexico, Inc. Animas, NM Dec 19, 2016 $29,740
Heavy Equipment Operator Island Construction Co. Inc. Charleston, SC May 19, 2009 $29,218 -
Heavy Equipment Operator M. Lipsitz & Co., Ltd. Waco, TX Jul 24, 2008 $28,683
Heavy Equipment Operator Island Construction Co. Inc. North Charleston, SC Aug 21, 2009 $27,820
Heavy Equipment Operator Island Construction Co. Inc. North Charleston, SC Oct 18, 2007 $27,820
Heavy Equipment Operator Big 'd' Paving C Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Sep 23, 2008 $27,194
Heavy Equipment Operator Insulation Specialists of Tulsa Tulsa, OK Feb 29, 2008 $26,755

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Top Skills for A Heavy Equipment Operator


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Top Heavy Equipment Operator Skills

  1. Bull Dozer
  2. Load Trucks
  3. Backhoe
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Bull Dozers, Track hoes and 60Ton RT Project Overview Various Sites NC and SC
  • Operated a loader to feed the plant and load trucks.
  • Operated wide variety of equipment including excavators, bulldozers, backhoes, and packers.
  • Learned and followed safety regulations.
  • Operated Grove RT cranes, Bobcats, Dump trucks and Semi water trucks during the construction of the Oil Refinery.

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