Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy equipment operators sit behind the wheel of some of the largest machines on a jobsite, such as dump trucks, bulldozers, diggers, and cranes. Due to the size and power of these machines, safety and proper training is crucial for operators.
Using the skills taught in heavy equipment operator courses and apprenticeships, operators are usually involved in road construction or maintenance, tunneling work, airport development, forestry, or even skyscraper construction. Heavy equipment operators may work directly with construction, pipeline development, mining or logging companies. There are also specialty heavy equipment companies that employ operators for more general work.
In school, students learn how to use — and often also repair and maintain — equipment safely. During apprenticeships, the skills taught in the classroom are put to use as students get hands-on experience with machines. Heavy equipment operator courses and heavy equipment operator apprenticeships teach potential operators the skills they need to excel on site: essentials such as servicing and maintaining brakes or fuel lines, and more generally how to service heavy machinery. Additional skills like welding and precision measuring are also standard.
Heavy equipment operators in Canada earn an average of $75,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. Those just entering the workforce can earn up to $51,000 per year, while more experienced operators make more than $110,000 annually.