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Heavy Equipment Operator Careers

No construction site would be complete without heavy equipment operators. They drive various large-sized vehicles designed to carry out specific tasks at a construction site. Bulldozers, forklifts, trucks, cranes, backhoes are the playthings of a heavy equipment operator.

These are essential instruments when it comes to building bridges, buildings, or roads, and their handlers are always on-site along with them, maneuvering the equipment to load, remove, and place material such as rocks, debris, and the like.

Heavy equipment operators prepare and maintain their equipment for work and always make sure to adhere to safety measures. They know best what their baby can do and when it is able to function most efficiently. As a consequence, heavy equipment operators are expected to monitor the workflow and make suggestions to boost performance if necessary.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a heavy equipment operator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $17.83 an hour? That's $37,084 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 10% and produce 44,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Heavy Equipment Operator Do

There are certain skills that many heavy equipment operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed hand-eye-foot coordination, physical strength and unafraid of heights.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a heavy equipment operator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 7.8% of heavy equipment operators included backhoe, while 7.4% of resumes included cdl, and 5.9% of resumes included front end loader. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the heavy equipment operator job title. But what industry to start with? Most heavy equipment operators actually find jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries.

How To Become a Heavy Equipment Operator

If you're interested in becoming a heavy equipment operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 8.9% of heavy equipment operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.6% of heavy equipment operators have master's degrees. Even though some heavy equipment operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a heavy equipment operator. When we researched the most common majors for a heavy equipment operator, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on heavy equipment operator resumes include bachelor's degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a heavy equipment operator. In fact, many heavy equipment operator jobs require experience in a role such as equipment operator. Meanwhile, many heavy equipment operators also have previous career experience in roles such as truck driver or operator.

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Average Salary
$37,084
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
10%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
12,733
Job Openings

Heavy Equipment Operator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Heavy Equipment Operator

Top Careers After Heavy Equipment Operator

Driver
8.6 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Heavy Equipment Operator

Heavy Equipment Operators in America make an average salary of $37,084 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $48,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $28,000 per year.
Average Salary
$37,084

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Puyallup, WA
Salary Range50k - 67k$59k$58,706
Danvers, MA
Salary Range39k - 63k$50k$49,984
Fort Collins, CO
Salary Range36k - 53k$44k$44,361
Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range36k - 52k$44k$43,869
Albany, NY
Salary Range33k - 53k$43k$42,581
Salt Lake City, UT
Salary Range34k - 49k$41k$41,325
$20k
$67k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy Equipment Operator
City of Florence
City of Florence
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$33,66301/31/2021
$33,663
Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy Equipment Operator
Pridestaff
Pridestaff
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$31,30501/29/2021
$31,305
PPM Heavy Equipment (Manipulator) Operator-Ongoing Maint.-Bridgestone AOR
PPM Heavy Equipment (Manipulator) Operator-Ongoing Maint.-Bridgestone AOR
TD Garden
TD Garden
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$31,30501/29/2021
$31,305
Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy Equipment Operator
Aerotek
Aerotek
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$45,91401/29/2021
$45,914
Peopleready
Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy Equipment Operator
Peopleready
Peopleready
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$45,91401/29/2021
$45,914
See More Recent Salaries

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Heavy Equipment Operator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Heavy Equipment Operator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Heavy Equipment Operator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Heavy Equipment Operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Heavy Equipment Operator Demographics

Gender

male

91.6 %

female

5.9 %

unknown

2.6 %

Ethnicity

White

71.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

17.8 %

Black or African American

7.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

76.4 %

Carrier

4.0 %

French

2.8 %
See More Demographics

Heavy Equipment Operator Education

Degrees

High School Diploma

57.9 %

Associate

12.7 %

Certificate

10.4 %
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Heavy Equipment Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 7.8% of heavy equipment operators listed backhoe on their resume, but soft skills such as hand-eye-foot coordination and physical strength are important as well.

Best States For a Heavy Equipment Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a heavy equipment operator. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Alaska, Nevada, and California. Heavy equipment operators make the most in Washington with an average salary of $58,698. Whereas in Alaska and Nevada, they would average $54,136 and $52,504, respectively. While heavy equipment operators would only make an average of $52,161 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Heavy Equipment Operator Jobs:
135
Highest 10% Earn:
$60,000
Location Quotient:
3.73
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Massachusetts

Total Heavy Equipment Operator Jobs:
1,222
Highest 10% Earn:
$77,000
Location Quotient:
3.07
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. North Dakota

Total Heavy Equipment Operator Jobs:
50
Highest 10% Earn:
$69,000
Location Quotient:
1.24
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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How Do Heavy Equipment Operator Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

20 + yearsFebruary 2020

5.0

Zippia Official Logo20 + yearsFebruary 2020

What do you like the most about working as Heavy Equipment Operator?

Its what I know and I am good at it . With that said always be open to constructive criticism so you can continue to grow in this field Show More

What do you NOT like?

Young bucks that come in with no it all temperaments without the experience. They can get you hurt in this line of work. Remember everything can kill you when dealing with heavy equipment Show More

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

Equipment OperatorSeptember 2019

4.0

Zippia Official LogoEquipment OperatorSeptember 2019

What do you like the most about working as Heavy Equipment Operator?

I been nccco crane operator building bridges over 35 yrs in that time i spent half my time operating Excavators dig a cofferdam,frontend loaders dozers its got levers i can operate it. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Busted out windows broke doors ,equipment you have to jury rig just to operate it. Other than that lets go to work Show More

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

GreatMarch 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoGreatMarch 2019

What do you like the most about working as Heavy Equipment Operator?

Learning and perfection, new food types in different parts of the world, making new friends. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Less payment, Environmental hazzards, long distance from home, Show More

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Top Heavy Equipment Operator Employers

1. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$33,615
Heavy Equipment Operators Hired: 
2,121+
2. United States Marine
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$34,091
Heavy Equipment Operators Hired: 
692+
3. Waste Management
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$38,347
Heavy Equipment Operators Hired: 
313+
4. United States Navy
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$33,951
Heavy Equipment Operators Hired: 
299+
5. Republic Services
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$37,993
Heavy Equipment Operators Hired: 
152+
6. Martin Marietta
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$27,795
Heavy Equipment Operators Hired: 
125+

Heavy Equipment Operator Videos

Updated October 2, 2020