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Heavy Equipment Operator

Heavy Equipment Operators operate 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.


  • Shape streets shoulders and ditchers by operating a heavy equipment like the motor grader or roller;
  • Maintain the road by using the bulldozer;
  • Dredge waterways, canals by using backhoes;
  • Work on paving projects;
  • Excavate rocks;
  • Load and unload cargo or major assembly lines for massive items;
  • Lubricate equipment components and attachments;
  • Maintain equipment log sheets and reports;

Basic Educational Requirement

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

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;
  • Good attention to detail.


Locally, heavy equipment operators receive a monthly salary of P10,000 - P18,000 depending on the industry they belong.

In the US, heavy equipment operators receive a monthly salary of $2,946 to $5,893, again depending on the industry.

In other foreign countries, pay and benefits are definitely higher than local rates.

Prospects for Career Advancement

Most heavy equipment operators starting 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 able to operate all types of heavy equipment machineries. Some operators become supervisors and others become trainers of the less skilled heavy equipment operators.

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.

Cost of Training *

The training cost for heavy equipment operators approximately ranges from P4,000 - P6,000 and training duration is about 3 months.

There are also instances that training for heavy equipment operators are usually conducted in-house since employers have the equipment.

* Based on 2007 training rates

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