Heavy Equipment Operator Salary

Skills That Can Boost Your Heavy Equipment Operator Salary

A heavy equipment operator (a construction worker in charge of operating heavy machinery such as loaders, dump trucks, backhoes, and graders) can expect to see both high growth over the course of their career as well as an increase in available jobs — in fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5% increase in available jobs from 2020–2030. But in this field you’re not limited to only one career path with one projected salary, and with the addition of certain skills, you can increase your pay even more. According to PayScale, these are the top six skills that will give your heavy equipment operator salary the biggest boost!

1. Land surveying

  • Average pay for a welder with land surveying skills: $28/hour
  • 38% boost*

2. Energy/utilities

  • Average pay for a welder with energy/utilities skills: $25/hour
  • 23% boost*


  • Average pay for a welder with HAZMAT skills: $22.93/hour
  • 13% boost*

4. Blueprints

  • Average pay for a welder with blueprint skills: $21.92/hour
  • 7% boost*

5. Operations Management

  • Average pay for a welder with operations management skills: $21.72/hour
  • 7% boost*

6. Global positioning systems (GPS)

  • Average pay for a welder with GPS skills: $21.38/hour
  • 5% boost*

7. Plant maintenance

  • Average pay for a welder with plant maintenance skills: $21.34/hour
  • 5% boost*
HVAC Technician Salary

Heavy equipment operation fast facts

  • In addition to the base heavy equipment operator salary, you could also earn an additional bonus that ranges from $197–$5k, according to PayScale.
  • Surveyed heavy equipment operators were, on average, “highly satisfied” with their job.
  • Heavy equipment training can take between four months and four years, depending on the type you’ll be receiving — such as technical school, on-the-job training, or apprenticeship.

Looking to find out more about heavy equipment careers before enrolling in a training program?

Check out our other articles below!

*Salary numbers gathered from PayScale.com, as of 10/22/2021.

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