Between a lack of skilled workers and an aging workforce, the construction industry is experiencing an ongoing labor shortage. The good news is that jobs in heavy equipment operation are widely available nationwide. If you’ve considered pursuing a career as a heavy equipment operator, now is the perfect time to enter the field.
Heavy equipment operators are the backbone of the building industry. From transporting metal beams to digging pipeline trenches, they perform essential tasks for various construction projects.
The first step to becoming a heavy equipment operator is earning your certification, which requires the proper training. When you need a construction equipment training program that will equip you for success in the field, Heavy Equipment Colleges of America (HEC) is the name you can trust.
Keep reading to see if working as a heavy equipment operator is right for you.
Table of Contents
What Do Heavy Equipment Operators Do?
Heavy equipment operators are tasked with operating some of the most powerful machines known to man. Whether it’s a mobile crane, backhoe loader, or bulldozer—the operator is primarily responsible for safe and proper operation. It’s the best way to get the job done and helps maintain a safe work environment for everyone involved.
Maybe you’re still wondering what the day-to-day looks like in the heavy equipment field. Take a look below to see what the qualifications, skills, and duties are for the average heavy equipment operator.
A Heavy Equipment Operator’s Job Description
- High school diploma or GED
- Have an up-to-date Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Equipment-specific certifications (vary by state)
- Clean driving record
- 3+ years of experience, on average
- Hand and foot coordination
- Basic physical abilities
- Strong communication skills, both oral and written
- Works well with a team
- Critical thinking
- Decision-making skills
- Planning skills
- Operate, drive, and control heavy equipment
- Load and unload equipment from vehicles
- Know various machine settings
- Check and maintain equipment functionality
- Keep performance records of machine functionality regularly
- Provide preemptive maintenance on equipment to prevent malfunctions
- Comply with safety policies and procedures
- Conduct pre-trip and post-trip equipment evaluations
- Perform minor repairs and report issues for larger repairs
Most construction work is completed outdoors. Depending on where you work, you may work in more extreme weather conditions—like cold, rain, and snow. Since heavy equipment is involved, safety hazards come with the job. Thankfully, our training programs cover basic safety skills that minimize the risk of accidents on the job.
4 Benefits of Heavy Equipment Training
- Professional Certification
Many states require you to have proper training and certifications before starting a career in heavy equipment. Not only is it a good idea to get certified, so you have a larger pool of employability, but certification can also increase your chances of staying safe and compliant with OSHA regulations.
- Skills That’ll Get You Employed
There’s nothing quite like practicing the skills you’ll need to use in the field in a safe learning environment. That’s what you can expect from our heavy equipment training programs. You’ll get hands-on experience that you can put to use right away.
- Pay & Benefits
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the baseline annual pay for construction equipment operators was $48,290 in May 2021. Those in the highest 10% earned over $84,640, while those in the lowest 10% earned under $35,770. Along with annual pay, heavy equipment operators typically receive health insurance and other benefits from their employers—like paid time off.
- Accelerated Training
You don’t have to wait months or even years to get started on your career in heavy equipment operation. At HEC, we offer programs you can complete in as little as three weeks—and one that can be completed in as little as two.
The Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Entry-Level Heavy Equipment Operator Jobs
The following ten cities have annual salaries that are higher than the national average for entry-level equipment operator jobs.
|City||Annual Salary||Monthly Pay||Weekly Pay||Hourly Wage|
San Mateo, CA
Green River, WY
Santa Clara, CA
New Haven, CT
San Diego, CA
How Can Heavy Equipment Operators Increase Their Salaries?
One of the best ways to achieve an earning jump as a heavy equipment operator is by building your skills and experience level. There’s no quick fix to earning more—it takes patience and dedication to your craft. But with the right training and education as your foundation, you’ll put yourself on a new career path.
Kickstart Your Career in the Construction Industry
Looking for a place to start your construction career? Whether you want to become a crane operator or a forklift operator, you can’t go wrong with getting your education, training, and certification at HEC. We offer various training programs, most of which can be completed in as little as three weeks. Explore your options today to get started.
Find an HEC Location Near You
With training locations in four different states, earning your certification in heavy equipment operation has never been more convenient. We offer construction equipment training courses in the following locations:
- Stonecrest, Georgia
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- San Bernardino, California
- Lakewood, Washington (veterans only)
If you’re ready to become a heavy machinery operator, start the enrollment process today.