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Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation Major

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Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation

122 Associates's Degrees Annually
#117 in Popularity (Associate's)
$52,920 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation graduations there were in 2020-2021 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Undergraduate Certificate 530
Basic Certificate 480
Associate Degree 122

What Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation:

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  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Abilities for Construction/Heavy Equipment/Earthmoving Equipment Operation Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation student include the following:

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  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Depth Perception - The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

What Can You Do With a Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Crane and Tower Operators 8.5% $54,140
Dredge Operators 5.6% $45,260
Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas 19.9% $44,430
Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators 8.1% $44,270
Extraction Workers 14.3% $54,840
Highway Maintenance Workers 6.9% $39,690
Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators 12.3% $47,810
Paving, Surfacing, and Tamping Equipment Operators 12.1% $39,780
Pile-Driver Operators 13.5% $58,680
Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators 8.6% $56,930

Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation?

122 Associate's Degrees Annually
5% Percent Women
9% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 95% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation majors is as follows:

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Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 0
Black or African American 5
Hispanic or Latino 1
White 108
International Students 0
Other Races/Ethnicities 8

How Much Do Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $47,500 to $56,390 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation Major  ( 47500 to 56390 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 18.6%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 62.3%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 15.6%
Some College Courses 2.6%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 0.3%

Online Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation Programs

In 2020-2021, 68 schools offered a construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 38 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 3 0
Associate’s Degree 12 0
Bachelor’s Degree 0 0
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 0 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Construction/Heavy Equipment Operation Worth It?

The median salary for a construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation grad is $52,920 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 33% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $260,400 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to construction/heavy equipment/earthmoving equipment operation.

Major Number of Grads
Truck & Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operator & Instructor 16,544
Other Ground Transportation 115
Railroad & Railway Transportation 102

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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