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Choosing a Career in Heavy Equipment Industry

The heavy equipment industry is growing rapidly and offers a fast-paced, interactive career path with good pay and many options. Heavy construction equipment is a vital part of any building project or construction site.

Using heavy machinery allows project managers to reduce the labor cost as well as the length of time needed to finish a construction project. Heavy construction equipment is not only used for construction, but is also used in mining, forestry, agriculture, and other areas as well.

Heavy Equipment Industry

Research continues to point to the growth and expansion of the industry, and while the field has been growing for years, the demand for heavy equipment has significantly increased. As the demand for the equipment has increased, so has the demand for the equipment operators.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics, heavy equipment operator employment is expected to jump by 4% from 2019 to 2029. The advantages of working in such a booming industry as the heavy equipment industry are endless, but here are several of the major reasons that it should be considered.


A major motivator for many people is the pay of working in the heavy equipment industry. If you do not have a college degree, becoming a heavy equipment operator is one of the best paying jobs that you can get. The median salary for a machine operator is around $48,000 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You could potentially even earn up to $84,000 by obtaining the necessary training to receive full certification in heavy equipment operation. Besides offering good pay, the industry also generally provides good benefits such as health and dental insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

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Career Outlook

For a person who has education, training, and certification in heavy equipment operations, the possibilities are endless. Employers like people who are knowledgeable and having received training and certification in heavy equipment proves that a potential employee is just that.

In turn, that person’s starting salary could see a major bump. Besides being a desirable contender for any heavy equipment positions that may open up in the area, having the proper education and training also allows one to seek employment anywhere else in the world as heavy equipment operators are needed everywhere.

The heavy equipment industry growth paired with education and training leads to more opportunities and greater job security as well. Many companies will provide or allow employees to receive ongoing training which is of great benefit for future prospects.


Heavy equipment operators tend to have some flexibility and ability to choose what their daily work will consist of. One may choose to use a grader to flatten a surface on which to pave a road. They may want to operate a large crane and lift heavy objects.

They could prefer to dig up dirt and gravel with an excavator or to operate a digger in the mining industry. In the heavy equipment industry, there are many choices for someone interested in either a specific area or different aspects.


Related to the previous point, a heavy equipment operator is able to choose what they want to do. If wanting to operate only a single type of machine, one can do that. On the other hand, if desiring to operate a wide variety of machines, one can become a general operator as well.

Whatever is chosen as a specialization will determine the type of work the operator is able to complete and their responsibilities on the worksite. If work variety is something that is preferred, then getting as much experience and exposure to different types of machines and gaining the training and expertise needed to operate them is recommended.

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Heavy Equipment Industry Work Environment

If you are the type of person that enjoys working outside, then this could be a good career path for you. In the heavy equipment industry, the machine operators will be working outdoors a majority of the time.

The machinery chosen to specialize in, just as it affects the type of work, will also affect the environment in which the work is done. If the specialization is in cranes or excavators, then the work may be completed in a metropolitan area putting up apartment buildings or skyscrapers.

If certified in forestry equipment, then the operator may work more in nature and more wooded environments. If trained on using loaders and diggers, a machine operator may even be able to work in the mountains.

Heavy Equipment Industry

Being a heavy equipment operator is a full-time job and many work odd hours, nights, and weekends, but the environment in which one chooses to work is up to them and the possibilities are abundant. When considering a career in the heavy equipment industry, safety is paramount.

When trained in heavy equipment operation, one will be taught proper safety practices as well. Heavy equipment industry training schools or companies that provide heavy equipment training often target particular areas such as excavation or road construction and include safety training in the curriculum, but there are also separate courses available that will make a machine operator the best worker possible.

COVID-19 has impacted the ways that people receive training and the resources available as well. Education and training are still available but have been adjusted in order to keep people safe and healthy. Social distancing is enforced in classrooms, and in some instances online courses are available.

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Typically though, hands-on training is required for a career in heavy equipment, so in the current pandemic situation just be sure to wear a mask and wash your hands frequently when in close proximity to others.

In conclusion

One can look anywhere and find construction equipment for sale. Knowing how to operate that heavy equipment is an impressive feat and a very appealing career path for a number of reasons. Not only is the heavy equipment industry growing constantly, but the potential income is very attractive and the career outlook for someone with the proper training and certification is extremely positive as well.

Additionally, heavy equipment operators are provided the variety and flexibility to choose the work that they want to do and even to choose the work environment in which they want to complete that work. If undecided on a career, think seriously about how a role in the heavy equipment industry could positively affect your life.

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