The median annual wage for construction equipment operators was $40,980 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,470, and the top 10 percent earned more than $72,440.
The median wages for construction equipment operators in May 2012 were as follows:
- $48,480 for pile-driver operators
- $41,870 for operating engineers and other construction equipment operators
- $35,840 for paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators
Operators may have irregular hours because work on some construction projects continues around the clock or must be done late at night. Extremely cold weather and rain may stop construction work. Nearly all construction equipment operators work full time.
The starting pay for apprentices is usually between 60 percent and 70 percent of what fully trained operators make. They receive pay increases as they become more skilled.