What does a Heavy Equipment Operator do?

A Heavy Equipment Operator uses a variety construction class vehicle on various job sites in all weather conditions. You will perform duties as part of a team and will be expected to communicate effectively while maintaining the highest safety practices.

The ideal candidate needs to have a GED or H.S. diploma with any current NCCER certification. You need to have a valid driver's license with a clean driving record for the past 2 years and at minimum of 2 years of experience handling heavy equipment. You need an understanding of the necessary job site safety procedures and preventative maintenance on a variety of construction class vehicles. A job offer is contingent on passing a drug test. A Heavy Equipment Operator will have the flexibility to work a variety of shifts potentially on different job sites with 2 weeks' notice.

  • Performs preventive maintenance
  • Operates a variety of construction class vehicles
  • Operate vehicles with safety precautions in place
  • Works as part of a team under strict deadlines
  • Expected to work in a variety of extreme weather conditions
  • Maintenance licensing and certification on all vehicles
  • Wear safety gear at all times
  • Attend all safety trainings
  • Driver's license, required
  • Clean driving record for the past 2 years
  • Ability to pass a drug test
  • Hold any NCCER certification, required
  • 2+ years of experience handling heavy equipment
  • Understanding of job site safety procedures
  • Familiarity with preventive maintenance on a variety of construction class vehicles
  • Willingness to work a variety of shifts with 2 weeks' notice
  • Willingness to be outside in a variety of extreme weather conditions
EducationAssociate's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.2 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.3 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Heavy Equipment Operator Salaries

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Heavy Equipment Operator Career Path

Learn how to become a Heavy Equipment Operator, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Heavy Equipment Operator
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Heavy Equipment Operator Insights

Read what Heavy Equipment Operator professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Kingston Freeport Terminal
Gantry Crane Operator
9 Jun 2021

“My experience was great I really have fun working with some brilliant minds..these workers are really skilled and love what they do.”

Oklahoma CountyOklahoma County
Equipment Operator
9 Jan 2022

“Management and HR will straight up lie to your face to get you to work and act like nothing happen.”

Hoopaugh GradingHoopaugh Grading
Heavy Equipment Operator
21 Nov 2021

“Insurance is expensive to have for family .. pay could be better if you have experience ..”

Alcoa Concrete & Masonry
Heavy Equipment Operator
20 Nov 2020

“Good place to work and good”

KJR Construction
Heavy Equipment Mechanic
1 Sep 2021

“i worked everyday and good money”

Heffner PavingHeffner Paving
Steel Wheel Asphalt Roller Operator
1 Apr 2021

“good pay family operated and friends”

GFL EnvironmentalGFL Environmental
Excavator Operator
18 Nov 2019

“Francois was my boss and anytime I asked him a question he would get angry or walk away.”

Oklahoma CountyOklahoma County
Equipment Operator
9 Jan 2022

“They expect you to obtain better training and certifications but it won't increase your value to them.”

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Heavy Equipment Operator Interviews

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Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a heavy equipment operator

When working as a heavy equipment operator, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are Firing, CDL, Fork Lift, English and Test Equipment.

The most similar professions to heavy equipment operator are:
  • Welder
  • Machinist
  • Mechanic
  • Millwright

The most common qualifications to become a heavy equipment operator is a minimum of a Associate's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.