NOC 7521 – Heavy equipment operators (except crane)



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. They are employed by construction companies, heavy equipment contractors, public works departments and pipeline, logging, cargo-handling and other companies.

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Main Duties

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
  • Operate 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
  • Operate 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
  • Operate power shovels to excavate rock, ore or other materials from open-pit mines, strip mines, quarries or construction pits
  • Operate heavy equipment to move, load and unload cargo
  • Conduct pre-operational checks on equipment and clean, lubricate and refill equipment.

Employment Requirements

  • Some secondary school education is required.
  • Completion of a one- to two-year apprenticeship program
    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.

All Titles

  • aerial tram operator
  • apprentice heavy equipment operator
  • asphalt batch plant operator
  • asphalt plant operator
  • asphalt roller operator
  • asphalt spreader operator
  • asphalt street paver operator
  • asphalt-grooving machine operator
  • asphalt-paving machine operator
  • asphalt-paving screed operator
  • backhoe operator
  • bituminous paver operator – heavy equipment
  • bobcat operator
  • boom-conveyor operator
  • bucketwheel operator
  • bucketwheel-excavator operator
  • buggy-operator skinner
  • buggy-scraper operator
  • bulldozer driver
  • bulldozer operator
  • cat operator
  • cat skinner
  • caterpillar car operator
  • caterpillar operator
  • concrete spreader operator – heavy equipment
  • concrete-grooving machine operator
  • concrete-paving machine operator
  • construction equipment operator
  • continuous bucket excavator operator
  • crawler tractor operator
  • ditcher operator – construction
  • ditching machine operator
  • dozer operator
  • dredge operator
  • dredge runner
  • earth-moving equipment operator
  • electrical equipment operator – shovel
  • elevating grader operator
  • elevating scraper operator
  • equipment operator, heavy-duty
  • excavating machine operator
  • excavator operator
  • front end loader operator
  • gradall operator
  • grader operator
  • groove-cutting machine operator
  • grooving machine operator – heavy equipment
  • hammer operator, pile driving
  • heater-planer operator
  • heavy construction-equipment operator
  • heavy equipment operator
  • heavy equipment operator apprentice
  • heavy-duty equipment operator
  • heavy-duty equipment operator apprentice
  • ho-ram operator
  • horizontal earth-boring machine operator
  • hydraulic excavator operator
  • industrial backhoe operator
  • loader operator – construction
  • marine railway operator
  • mining shovel operator (except underground)
  • mole operator
  • mucker operator – construction
  • mucking machine operator – construction
  • operating engineer, heavy equipment
  • operator, asphalt plant
  • operator, heavy construction-equipment
  • operator, pile-driving hammer
  • operator, side boom tractor
  • paver operator
  • payloader operator
  • peat-moss-cutting machine operator
  • peat-moss-gathering machine operator
  • pile driver winch operator
  • pile-driving hammer operator
  • pipelayer operator
  • power grader operator
  • power shovel operator
  • pulvimixer operator
  • ripper operator – heavy equipment
  • road grader operator
  • road mixer operator
  • road planer operator
  • road roller operator
  • roller operator
  • rotary trencher operator
  • scarifier operator
  • scraper operator
  • screed operator, asphalt paving
  • shield operator
  • shovel operator – heavy equipment
  • side boom operator – pipeline construction
  • side boom tractor operator
  • snow-grooming machine operator
  • spreader operator – heavy equipment
  • stacker operator – heavy equipment
  • street paver operator
  • street paver, asphalt operator
  • stripping shovel operator
  • structural hydraulic jack erector
  • surface mining equipment operator
  • track-loader operator
  • tractor operator – construction
  • tractor-excavator operator
  • trench-digging machine operator
  • trenching machine operator
  • tunnelling machine operator
  • vibratory road roller operator
  • vibratory roller operator


  • Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews (7302)
  • Crane operators (7371)
  • Forklift and industrial truck operators (See 7452 Material handlers)
  • Logging machinery operators (8241)
  • Underground production and development miners (8231)


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