According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects for heavy equipment operators are expected to be good as there is often a lack of qualified candidates in the profession. Nationwide, the median hourly wage for heavy equipment operators is $19.12. In Miami, you can become qualified to work as a heavy equipment operator by enrolling in classes at several different schools.
Miami Lakes Education Center
The Miami Lakes Education Center offers a comprehensive program for students seeking careers in heavy equipment operations and maintenance, and is the only school of its kind in Miami. Miami Lakes Education Center offers a Heavy Equipment Operations Program of 1200 hours (approximately two years), as well as a shorter 320-hour program (approximately six months) in Occupational Completion Points A (Heavy Equipment Maintenance) and B (Tractor Operator). The programs combine classroom instruction in theory as well as practical training, and prepare students to operate bulldozers, wheel loaders, backhoe loaders, motor graders, and skid steerers.
Miami Lakes Education Center 5780 N.W. 158th St. Miami Lakes, FL 33014 305-557-1100 mlec.dadeschools.net
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College offers courses related to the heavy equipment field, but the programs are intended for students who seek managerial positions and therefore need broader training in other aspects of the construction industry. There is less emphasis on the actual operation and maintenance of equipment. Miami Dade offers one course in heavy equipment maintenance and operation as part of their Engineering program. "ETI1805C:Introduction to Lifting and Rigging" is for students who plan careers involving heavy equipment maintenance. These programs lead to an associate's degree, and are designed for students who want to transfer to four-year colleges after completing the program.
Miami Dade College 300 N.E. 2nd Avenue Miami, Florida 33132-2204 305-237-8888 mdc.edu
Florida International University
Like Miami Dade, Florida International University offers degrees mainly intended for those seeking management positions. Programs up to the PhD level, including a 125-credit (approximately four-year) Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, are available. This degree is intended for students who wish to manage heavy equipment operation and maintenance, and emphasizes theory over practical training. A large range of courses in physics, safety, laws and regulations, and business management are included in the program.
Florida International University 10555 West Flagler Street Miami, FL 33175 305-348-2522 fiu.edu
2016 Salary Information for Construction Equipment Operators
Construction equipment operators earned a median annual salary of $45,120 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, construction equipment operators earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,280, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $60,420, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 426,700 people were employed in the U.S. as construction equipment operators.