Heavy Equipment Operator


$31, 200 - $38, 800



At a glance

As a Heavy Equipment Operator you are expected to perform these duties:

  • Operate heavy equipment
  • Clean and lubricate equipment and refill equipment tanks
  • Conduct pre-operational checks on equipment
  • Secure special attachments to equipment
  • Operate two-way radios and other communication equipment
  • Perform minor repairs to equipment
  • Operating loader to remove snow off roads, bridges and parking lots,
    • Bridges: watch out for expansion joints at end of bridge, curbs
    • Roads/parking lots: watch out for fire hydrants, bus stops, and don’t cover fire hydrants

Servicing Machines

  • Greasing the machines with a greasing gun
  • Shoveling the tracks of a machine

Career Video(s)

Click below to watch this career in action!

Source: CareerTrekBC

Work environment

Work environments for heavy construction careers are located outdoors Work hours may vary as well. Some positions are seasonal while others are all year round, but part-time. Other positions are project-based and may require you to work full-time until the project is complete. And, of course there are careers that have full-time hours all year round.

Below is a list of workplaces where you might find opportunities to gain in-seat hours and/or experience. (Source: Manitoba Prospects, careercruising.com, industry experts)

  • Heavy construction companies
  • Heavy equipment contractors
  • Public works departments
  • Pipeline, logging, cargo-handling companies

Other conditions: project based, work outdoors in all weather, stressful, may travel to remote locations, may work 40 – 50 hours per week

Mini Skills Assessment

If you answer YES to the questions below, then a career as a Heavy Equipment Operator may be right for you!

  • Do you like working with your hands?
  • Do you enjoy doing a variety of things on the job?
  • Could you use precision tools and equipment?
  • Do you think you could solve heavy-duty problems?
  • Can you be precise and accurate in your work?

Specialized skills required

In addition, it would be great to know the following before pursuing this career path:

  • research the industry,
  • work on a construction site,
  • take an assessment,
  • see what it entails to work in the construction industry, and
  • research different training providers

Essential Skills Profiles

The Government of Canada Job Bank has identified Nine Literacy and Essential Skills (Reading, Writing, Document Use, Numeracy, Computer Use, Thinking, Oral Communication, Working with Others, and Continuous Learning).

Below you will find links to the Essential Skills Profiles for this occupation and/or related ones.


Below you will find salary ranges for entry to senior level positions for a Heavy Equipment Operator or a related field. (Source: Manitoba Prospects).

*Effective October 1, 2014 minimum wage will increase to $10.70 per hour.

Manitoba Prospects 2013


$31, 200/ $38, 800

Below is a sample career path, wage range, and duties for a heavy equipment operator.

Labourer $14.00 - $18.00/hour
  • Clean and clear up the worksite
  • Mix concrete, build and level concrete form
  • Build or dismantle scaffolding
  • Work 2 -3 years as a labourer before becoming HEO
Heavy Equipment Operator $21.50 - $32.00/ hour with 4+ years experience
  • Operate heavy equipment
  • Clean and lubricate equipment and refill equipment tanks
  • Conduct pre-operational checks on equipment
Foreman $70, 000 - $80, 000 year
  • Supervise heavy equipment operators and labourers
  • Operate heavy equipment in difficult or hazardous situations
  • Work with another foreman to oversee specific project tasks


It is important to inform students that studying to become a heavy equipment operator does guarantee them a position in the heavy construction industry. Some entrance criteria to become a heavy equipment operators may include:

  • 2 – 3 years’ experience as a construction labourer
  • Previous experience operating some type of heavy equipment, which can include farming equipment
  • Classroom training and/or simulator training
  • Minimum of 160 hours of seat time on at least one piece of equipment (depends on training institution)

OETIM's Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years of age or older
  • Valid Class 5 driver’s license
  • Preferred high school grad but not required
  • Physically Fit (able to work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions)
  • Preference to those with some construction experience
  • Pass OETIM’s assessment (knowledge, comprehension, essential skills)
  • Have a basic understanding of the construction industry

Training institutions include, but are not limited to:

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"I notice that friends of mine who have other careers, do not seem to be able to take the time off that I can."


"It is incredibly diverse and always changing. I never get bored, because it always keeps me on my toes."