Image Alt

Heavy Equipment Operator

Do you have an interest in operating excavators, bulldozers or other vehicles classified as heavy machinery? As a heavy equipment operator, you will learn how to safely use this type of equipment to move construction materials, dirt and other heavy objects at construction sites and mines. This occupation operates equipment that clears and grades land to prepare it for construction of roads, buildings and bridges, as well as airport runways, power generation facilities, dams, levees and other structures.

AVERAGE STARTING HOURLY WAGE: $16.00 – $24.00 + Benefits


EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES: 2-year Technical Degree or AGC Apprenticeship or On-The-Job Training

Heavy Equipment Operator Career Paths


AGC of SD Heavy Equipment Operator Apprenticeship

Earn while you learn. Instead of taking out thousands in college loans, apprentices work and earn a paycheck during their training. AGC’s apprenticeship programs range from 2-4 years. Apprenticeships usually get paid on a graduated scale as their skills and experience increases, and of course learns a trade at the same time. Click here for more information!

Lake Area Technical College

Heavy Equipment Operator
Make a Living Playing in the Dirt! Did you like to play with tractors, bulldozers, and shovels as a kid? Get paid for it now! Graduates from Lake Area Technical College’s new Heavy Equipment Operator program will enter into a field that has a high-demand for qualified workers in commercial and industrial construction, heavy equipment operation, and earthmoving equipment operation.


Students entering our new Heavy Equipment Operator program will choose from a diploma in Excavation Operations after 11 months or an Associate of Applied Science degree in Heavy Equipment Operations after completing the entire 20-month curriculum. Click here for more information!

Northwest Iowa Community College

Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance
If you have a desire to operate and repair large and complex equipment, the Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance program is perfect for you. NCC offers the only Heavy Equipment program in Iowa. It is nationally certified by the Associated General Contractors and is recognized for excellence by the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association. Click here for more information!