Heavy equipment operators (except crane) (NOC 7521)

About this job

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Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

Heavy equipment operators:

  • operate heavy equipment used in the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, airports, gas and oil pipelines, tunnels, buildings and other structures, in surface mining and quarrying activities, and in material handling work
  • work for construction companies, heavy equipment contractors, public works departments and pipeline, logging, cargo-handling and other companies
Common job titles
  • engineer, operating - heavy equipment
  • erector, structural hydraulic jack
  • forest road machine operator
  • operator, marine railway
  • operator, mole
  • operator, mucker / mucking machine
  • engineer, operating - heavy equipment
  • erector, structural hydraulic jack
  • forest road machine operator
  • operater, dozer
  • operator, aerial tram
  • operator, boom-conveyor


Annual provincial median salary


Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report


Heavy equipment operators perform some or all of the following duties:

  • operate heavy equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, loaders and graders to excavate, move, load and grade earth, rock, gravel or other materials during construction and related activities
  • run bulldozers or other heavy equipment to clear brush and stumps prior to logging activities and to build roads at logging and surface mining sites
  • operate heavy equipment with pile driver head to drive piling into earth to provide support for buildings, bridges or other structures
  • run heavy dredging equipment to deepen waterways or reclaim earth fill
  • operate heavy paving and surfacing equipment to lay, spread or compact concrete, asphalt and other surface materials during highway and road construction
  • run power shovels to excavate rock, ore or other materials from open-pit mines, strip mines, quarries or construction pits
  • run heavy equipment to move, load and unload cargo
  • do pre-operational checks on equipment and clean, lubricate and refill equipment

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work is done using various types of heavy equipment.
  • Working with machinery can be a source of injury.
  • Work often takes place in hazardous locations such as construction sites and underground sites.
  • Workers may be exposed to dust, noise and vibration.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

  • Some secondary school education is required.
  • Completion of a one- to two-year apprenticeship program or some high school, college or industry courses in heavy equipment operating combined with on-the-job training are required.
  • Trade certification is compulsory in Quebec and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
  • Internal company certification may be required by some employers.


  • Finger Dexterity
  • Motor Coordination
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Numerical Ability
  • Verbal & Written Comprehension
  • Spatial Perception
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Driver/Heavy Equipment Operator Training

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Trades training resources

Visit our trades training page at www.workbc.ca/trades to learn about apprenticeship and trades training in B.C.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
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Employment in 2016:
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Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
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North Coast & Nechako
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Employment in 2016:
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Employment in 2016:
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Vancouver Island / Coast
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Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Additional resources