Heavy Equipment Operator


Locally, a heavy equipment operator receives a monthly salary of P12,000 - P20,000 depending on the industry they belong. In the US, heavy equipment operators may receive a monthly salary of $3,500 to $6,000, again depending on the industry. In other foreign countries, pay and benefits are definitely higher than local rates.

Basic Educational Requirement

There is no specific educational requirement for heavy equipment operators. However, most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. However, specialized training in heavy equipment operations and maintenance are very essential to heavy equipment operators.

Cost of Education/Training *

The training cost for heavy equipment operator approximately ranges from P7,000 - P10,000 and training duration is about 3 months. There are also instances that training for heavy equipment operators are conducted in-house, since employers have the basic equipment.

Employment Opportunities

Heavy Equipment Operators work in many different fields. They are often seen on the construction site or in a mining area, but they can also find employment dredging waterways and canals, working on paving projects, excavating rock, loading and unloading cargo or in major assembly lines for massive items. Typical employers of heavy equipment operators are the following:

  • Municipal Government
  • Highway and Heavy Construction firms
  • Manufacturers of Primary Steel Products
  • Mining Companies
  • Logging Companies
  • Construction Site Maintenance firms
  • Quarry Companies

There are also various opportunities for overseas employment with job openings to come from Australia, Canada, and the Middle East. 
Heavy Equipment Operators may be employed in the following industries: Mining and Quarrying; Manufacturing; Construction; Wholesale and Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles, Motorcycles and Personal and Household Goods; and Transport, Storage and Communication.


Prospects for Career Advancement

Most heavy equipment operators start their career in a particular type of equipment such as bulldozers, backhoes, graders, cranes, etc. However, through experience and advance training, these operators become familiarized and are able to operate all types of heavy equipment machineries. Some operators become supervisors and others become trainers of the less skilled heavy equipment operators.

Nature of Work

A Heavy Equipment Operator operates heavy equipment such as backhoes, loaders, graders, dozers and excavators used in construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, airports, gas and oil pipelines, tunnels, buildings and other structures as well as surface mining and quarrying activities.


  • Shapes streets shoulders and ditchers by operating a heavy equipment like the motor grader or roller;
  • Maintains the road by using the bulldozer;
  • Dredges waterways, canals by using backhoes;
  • Works on paving projects;
  • Excavates rocks;
  • Loads and unloads cargo or major assembly lines for massive items;
  • Lubricates equipment components and attachments; and
  • Maintains equipment log sheets and reports.

Skills and Competencies

  • Can operate a variety of heavy equipment safely via hand signals, radio communication and using occupant safety devices;
  • Can perform pre-operational checks of equipment as well as basic maintenance on track or rubber tire undercarriage, buckets and attachments;
  • Knowledgeable site planning and set up;
  • Ability to acquire and use the knowledge of earthmoving fundamentals (soil characteristics, ground conditions, map reading).

Physical Attributes and Characteristics

  • Ability to continuously learn about new techniques/equipment in order to operate safely while maintaining productivity;
  • Physically and mentally fit; and
  • Good attention to detail.

* Based on 2011 rates.