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Heavy Equipment Operation and Repair

Career Outlook:

Earning Potential:

Median $48,290/year

Job Growth:

+5% (Average)



  • Heavy equipment safety procedures and regulations
  • Operation and maintenance of heavy equipment
  • Identification of different types of soils and materials
  • Basic surveying and blueprint reading
  • Principles of earthmoving, grading, and excavation
  • Trenching and shoring techniques for underground work
  • Loading and hauling techniques for materials such as gravel, sand, and dirt
  • Basic welding and metalworking techniques for equipment repair
  • Basic electrical and hydraulic system operation and repair
  • Site preparation and cleanup techniques
  • Communication and teamwork skills for working with other construction workers and supervisors
  • Basic project management and cost estimating skills.
  • And more!

Program Overview

Collins Career Technical Center in Ohio offers a Heavy Equipment program for high school students interested in exploring careers in operating heavy machinery and equipment. The program covers various topics, including equipment maintenance, safety procedures, operation techniques, and soil management. In addition, students will learn how to operate and maintain industry-standard heavy equipment such as bulldozers, excavators, and backhoes. This program offers hands-on training and allows students to gain experience in the heavy equipment industry. The Heavy Equipment program is a two-year program for high school juniors and seniors. Upon completing the program, students will have the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue careers in the heavy equipment industry, such as equipment operator or maintenance technician, or continue their education in a related field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for heavy equipment operators is projected to be about average for all occupations. The median annual wage for operating engineers and other construction equipment operators was $48,290 in May 2021.

What do Heavy Equipment Operators Do?

Construction equipment operators typically do the following:

  • Clean and maintain equipment, making basic repairs as necessary
  • Report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors
  • Move levers, push pedals, or turn valves to drive and maneuver equipment
  • Coordinate machine actions with crew members using hand or audio signals

Careers in this Field

There are several careers that students could pursue after completing a heavy equipment operator program. Here are a few examples:

  • Heavy equipment operator: This is the most common career for graduates of a heavy equipment operator program. Operators use heavy machinery such as bulldozers, excavators, and backhoes to move earth, rocks, and other materials at construction sites, mines, and quarries.
  • Crane operator: Crane operators use a variety of cranes to lift and move heavy materials, such as construction materials, shipping containers, and machinery. They must have a strong understanding of weight distribution and balance, as well as knowledge of safety procedures and regulations.
  • Construction equipment sales representative: Graduates with excellent communication and customer service skills can pursue a career in sales of heavy equipment. They may work for a dealership or manufacturer, and must have a strong understanding of the features and capabilities of various types of equipment.
  • Construction site manager: Graduates with leadership and project management skills may be able to pursue a career as a construction site manager. They oversee the work of heavy equipment operators and other construction workers, ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.
  • Environmental remediation specialist: Heavy equipment operators who are interested in environmental work may be able to pursue a career in environmental remediation. They may operate machinery to remove contaminated soil or debris, or to install or remove pollution control systems.
  • Highway maintenance worker: Highway maintenance workers operate heavy machinery to maintain and repair highways, bridges, and other roadways. They may clear debris, repair potholes, or perform snow removal during the winter months.
  • Demolition specialist: Demolition specialists operate heavy equipment to demolish buildings, bridges, and other structures. They must have a strong understanding of safety procedures and regulations, and be able to work with precision in order to avoid damage to nearby structures.

These are just a few examples of careers that graduates of a heavy equipment operator program may be able to pursue. Depending on their interests and skillset, they may also be able to pursue careers in mining, logging, or other heavy industry.


Nicholas Tabor

Heavy Equipment Operation and Repair Teacher
Farm Complex



Bryan Ward

Construction and T&I Academies Supervisor
High School

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