Next Certificate Program Start: 07/29/2024  |  Next Associate Degree Program Start: 10/07/2024

Next Certificate Program Start: 06/06/2022  |  Next Associate Degree Program Start: 07/05/2022

Next Certificate Program Start: 07/29/2024  |  Next Associate Degree Program Start: 10/07/2024



Why You Should Choose a Career in Heavy Equipment Operation

Are you wondering whether a career in heavy equipment operation is the next best step for you? HEC’s accelerated training programs teach students how to operate heavy equipment with safety in mind. Our career services help students enter the workforce upon program completion. Enroll in our specialized courses to start your career in construction and heavy equipment operation. 

Table of Contents

The Construction Industry

The construction industry consists of four main categories: residential, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reports that the industry houses around 733,000 employers and over 7 million employees. While construction companies offer employees salaried positions, individuals, outside companies, and government entities hire those companies to complete temporary contract work.

A Career in Heavy Equipment Operation

A heavy equipment operator helps build structures (i.e. buildings, roads, bridges, sewer systems) by operating large machines such as bulldozers, backhoes, and forklifts. A heavy equipment operator must work well within a team, take safety precautions, follow technical instructions, and have a willingness to work long and/or odd hours. This career is especially appealing for military veterans because it offers competitive pay while requiring few educational prerequisites.

How To Become a Heavy Equipment Operator

If you’ve ever wondered how to become a heavy equipment operator, you’re in the right place. Any job in this field usually requires either a high school diploma or a GED. Many jobs require additional educational training. Workers often can complete this training in a short period of time through trade schools or apprenticeships. For example, HEC’s accelerated training programs can take as little as three weeks.

Skills and Duties

Employers look for the following combination of skills in qualified candidates:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work within a team
  • Critical thinking
  • Troubleshooting
  • Physical stamina
  • Strong work ethic
  • Safety-minded

The following list encompasses the primary duties of a heavy equipment operator:

  • Operate heavy equipment (i.e. bulldozers, backhoes, cranes, forklifts)
  • Inspect equipment to ensure proper functioning
    Load, move, and unload cargo
  • Follow safety procedures
    Perform equipment maintenance, cleaning, and repairs
  • Fill out any required paperwork
  • Communicate well with others in a fast-paced environment

Tips to Find Heavy Equipment Operator Jobs

Start your path to a new career with these tips on how to find a heavy equipment operator job.
2022 Guide

Top 4 Benefits of a Heavy Equipment Career

  1. Job Security
    An annual U.S. population growth of roughly 2 million people requires regular construction and maintenance of infrastructure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that this field will experience an annual growth of 51,500 new jobs. As both total population and job creation increase, job security for heavy equipment operators will increase as well. This is one of the greatest benefits of a heavy equipment career.
  2. Better Job Candidate
    Hands-on training is the greatest benefit of attending a heavy equipment operator school. While classroom learning is important, hands-on training is essential for both job placement and career success. Qualified job candidates must have experience working the equipment they’ll use on construction sites. The AGC reports that 80% of contractors have faced difficulty in finding qualified employees in recent years. As demand for skilled heavy equipment operators increases, workers with hands-on training are more likely to be hired than workers with less training.
  3. Job Flexibility
    The beauty of a career in heavy equipment operation is its diversity and flexibility of job placements. Heavy equipment operators work on four main types of construction projects: commercial, residential, infrastructure, and industrial. This field allows heavy equipment operators to transition between the four types at any time. Depending on how different contracting companies operate, workers may work solely on residential projects, or they may work on all four types of projects throughout their careers. If you don’t want to do the same thing day in and day out, this is the perfect career.
  4. Financial Security
    In 2020, the median annual salary for construction equipment operators was $49,100 and reached upwards of $86,000 according to BLS. A heavy machine operator’s salary increases as his or her skills and training increase. Most contractors offer full-time employment, resulting in greater financial security than part-time employment. Along with annual salaries, most heavy equipment operators receive the following annual benefits: health care, PTO, and retirement plans.


Through engaging classroom learning and hands-on training, HEC teaches students the skills necessary for a successful career in heavy equipment operation. Our specialized, accelerated training programs in locations near you prepare you for real-world job experiences. Whether you are a recent high school graduate looking to start a career in heavy equipment operation or a veteran looking to make a career change, HEC trains students for long-term success in the field. Check out our website to learn more about the benefits of a heavy equipment career, or call us at 888-414-0285 to start the enrollment process today.


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