Heavy Equipment Operator Salary – How Much Do They Earn?

A heavy equipment operator is the one responsible for driving and operating large engineering vehicles that are used in construction and engineering projects. Excavators, cranes, forklifts and bulldozers are best examples of heavy equipment.

Even though technology keeps on improving and it seems that the need for manpower is decreasing, heavy equipment operator jobs still need human skills to control the machineries and equipment. Infrastructure needs are estimated to multiply rapidly and this means that more offices, hospitals, schools and roads are needed to be built. To be able to do that, more heavy equipment are required so more heavy equipment operator jobs will be open. It has been said that because this industry will keep on growing, there will come a time that all experienced heavy equipment operators will have to resign just to give chance to the new heavy equipment operators.

Almost all heavy equipment operator jobs concentrate in the construction industry and since building bridges, structuring highways, making buildings, and creating railroads need heavy construction equipment, thus heavy equipment operators are also needed. There are many heavy equipment operator employment opportunities in local governments and in different states as well as in private industries. Some people say that heavy equipment operator salary is not that bad that’s why many Americans are now busy in training and studying heavy equipment operations.

The heavy equipment operator salary depends on which industry he is engaged in and the type of equipment that he operates. Heavy equipment operator salary will also be based on the location, benefits and experience of the operator. Heavy equipment operators can be separated into two categories if we base their salary in the type of equipment they operate. The first category consists of the operating engineers and other construction equipment operators, and the second category consists of the pile driver operators, tamping and surfacing equipment operators, and paving operators.

In May 2004, as stated by the data presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary of operations engineers and other construction equipment operators was $17.00. Others made $13.19 to $23 per hour. Some earned lower than $10.98 per hour while the others earned more than $29.34.

The average salaries of tamping and surfacing equipment operators and paving operators were $14.22 per hour. Other job descriptions similar to the said jobs received salary between $11.35 and $19.30. As for the other operators, they earned lower than $9.47 while some earned more than $26.51.

For the pile driver operators, heavy equipment operators, their average salaries per hour were $21.29. Several of them earned between $15.50 and $30.23. Salary that is lower than $11.78 was received by ten percent of the operators as the other ten percent received a salary that is higher than $34.04.

Today, the standard heavy equipment operator salary is ranging from $15.24 to $21.21 per hour of work. However, the average earnings of heavy equipment operators are actually 40% lower than the average earnings for all job postings countrywide. In metropolitan areas, heavy equipment operator salary is absolutely higher.


  1. Heavy equipment operating needs training properly. So, the workers also earn a handsome amount of money.

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  3. There are a number of training options open to individuals who want to get training and the first, and probably most traditional, would be a working apprenticeship.

    Heavy Equipment Training