Heavy Equipment Operator


Work Tasks

HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATORS use machinery to move construction materials, earth, petroleum products, grain, logs, and other heavy materials. Operators run power-driven machinery such as bulldozers, cranes, graders, scrapers, loaders, power shovels, tractors, and pile drivers. They move materials over short distances such as around a construction site, factory, or warehouse. Some heavy equipment operators load materials on and off trucks and ships. This equipment is used in building dams, highways, and other construction projects, and in mining, logging, utilities, and other industries.

Salary, Size & Growth

Entry Requirements

HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATORS usually learn their skills on the job. Employers prefer to hire high school graduates. Some construction equipment operators are trained in a three-year apprenticeship program. Union-management committees of the International Union of Operating Engineers (AFL-CIO) and the Associated General Contractors of America lead these programs. In some states, a special license or certificate is required for operators.