How Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make In 2024?

Heavy equipment operators help to construct roads, buildings, and transit infrastructure.

Operators can work for the government or for private businesses. You do the majority of the work outside, and it is frequently seasonal.

Trained workers adhere to strict safety protocols and are well knowledgeable about the operation and maintenance of machines.

Since it is actually a dangerous job and also a tough job to perform, you might wonder how much do heavy equipment operators make, and we will answer this question.


GuideHow Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make?
Average Income$50,000 per year
Highest Income$65,000 per year
QualificationHigh school graduation or GED is necessary

Who are Heavy Equipment Operators?

Construction equipment such as bulldozers, forklifts, backhoes, dump trucks, cargo trucks, and hydraulic truck cranes are the things that these operators operate.

They use this technology to help in the construction of constructions such as bridges, highways, and buildings.

Operators of heavy machinery generally specialize in one of three areas.

Loading and excavating machinery are the main responsibility of construction equipment operators, often known as operating engineers.

They dig and lift sand, gravel, and soil with this equipment. During the building of roads, paving and surface equipment operators utilize machinery to distribute concrete and asphalt.

Pile-driver operators operate machinery that hammers large beams of wood, concrete, and steel into the earth, known as piles.


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How Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make?

During the first ten years of work, heavy equipment operators’ income rises with experience, then plateaus.

Highly experienced operators are often suitable for supervisory and managerial roles, which can result in wage raises.

The typical income for a heavy equipment operator has many differentiators, including education level, years of experience, responsibilities, and location.

In the United States, the average yearly income for a heavy equipment operator is roughly $50,000.

1. How Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make an Hour?

Heavy Equipment Operators make a minimum of $9.62 an hour and a maximum of $36.06 an hour.

2. How Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make A Month?

Heavy Equipment Operators make a minimum of $1,667 a month and a maximum of $6,250 a month.

3. How Much Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make A Year?

Heavy Equipment Operators make a minimum of $20,000 a year and a maximum of $75,000 a year.


Highest Salary of Heavy Equipment Operators In 2024

In their case, salaries increase by the years of experience you have.

That is why the more experience you have, the more potential to earn more money.

On average, those with at least two decades of experience earn an average of $65,000 annually, This is not much of an increase from the average salary, but that is one of the downsides to this profession.

Is Being a Heavy Equipment Operator Good or Bad?

Being a heavy equipment operator is not an easy profession because you need to be resilient and need to know the ins and outs of the vehicle you are using, which requires a lot of time and experience to learn. However, the salary is not bad for the job you do.

Pros and Cons of Being a Heavy Equipment Operator


  • Decent pay
  • Get to work outside
  • Fun working atmosphere
  • Exciting & challanging work


  • May develop back problems
  • Can impact health

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How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator?

There are not many qualifications, but training and certifications are a must to perform actively and not make any mistakes while working.

Here’s how you can become a Heavy Equipment Operator:

  • To become a Heavy Equipment Operator, you need to have high school graduation or GED to get training.
  • You also need to have a valid driver’s license to start training.
  • Heavy equipment operators can obtain experience by working on a construction team or by enrolling in an apprenticeship program that allows them to study while they work.
  • Traditional colleges and technical institutions can offer you an education as well as test and license preparation.
  • Once you have the license and training, you can start applying for the position.


How Many Hours Does Heavy Equipment Operator Work?

Heavy Equipment Operators work for 8 hours a day, five days a week which means they work for 40 hours a week on average.

What is the Starting Pay of Heavy Equipment Operator?

The pay for this career option is decent, and if you cannot work in a 9-5 job indoors and love big machines & outdoors, then this job might be good for you.

The starting pay of a Heavy Equipment Operator is $9.62 an hour, which comes down to $20,000 a year. With some experience in the field, you can make $75,000 a year.

Heavy Equipment Operators Training Programs

You can become ready for this job by learning to operate light equipment under the supervision of an experienced operator.

Education requirements are minimal, if at all. You must complete an apprenticeship program that lasts three to four years and includes technical training as well as on-the-job or field training.

During your training that you get on the job, you’ll learn how to operate and maintain equipment.

In the classroom, instructors will educate you about safety precautions and first aid, as well as operational procedures.

Furthermore, the municipality where you work may require you to obtain a license to operate or move equipment to job sites.

To transport machinery, several states need a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

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As you can see, you need a lot of certifications and licenses to become a heavy equipment operator, and once you do, it becomes a relatively easy job.

Apart from that, you work in not pleasant environments most of the time.

The salary is not bad and will get you on, so you should consider this profession if you like driving heavy equipment.


How much do heavy equipment operators make when they first start off?

Just like with every profession, you start with a lower starting salary than the average.

How much do heavy equipment operators make after years of experience?

Your salary increases as your years increase in the profession. There are certain milestones but the highest in two decades.

How much do heavy equipment operators make when they work overtime?

This totally depends on the company you are working for. Over time, money might or might not pay.

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