What Do Backhoe Operators Make? An In-Depth Look at Salary and Benefits

Matt at Centex Excavation
Author: MattPublished: December 12, 2022 Updated: January 5, 2024 • Filed Under: Business and Career

Key Takeaways

  1. National Median Salary: The national median salary for backhoe operators is approximately $41,500 per year, with variations based on experience level and geographical location.
  2. Experience and Certifications Impact Earnings: Salary for backhoe operators can increase with experience and specialty certifications, such as crane operations or hazardous waste removal credentials, potentially reaching up to $20 per hour or more.
  3. Benefits and Job Security: Backhoe operators often receive comprehensive benefits packages, including health insurance and 401(k) plans, and the job outlook is positive, with a predicted growth of at least 9 percent by 2026 due to increasing demand for excavation services.

People who operate backhoes are a vital part of the construction industry, playing a critical role in the construction process by digging trenches and excavating soil. But how much do backhoe operators make?

This article takes an in-depth look at the salaries and benefits associated with operating a backhoe.

If you’re considering starting a career as a heavy equipment operator, you’ll want to know what their salary is as well as benefits that typically come with the job.

Overview of Backhoe Operators

Backhoe operators can find employment across a variety of industries, such as construction, engineering, transportation and public administration.

They operate both manual and hydraulic backhoes to dig holes, ditches, trenches and other types of excavations using levers or foot pedals.

Generally speaking, backhoers require a high school diploma or equivalent training to qualify for jobs in this field.

Salary Expectations for Backhoe Operators

The national median salary for backhoe operators is approximately $41,500 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, wages can vary widely depending on experience level and geographical location.

Pay is generally higher in metropolitan areas than rural regions due to competition for labor supply and cost of living differences.

It’s also worth noting that some employers may pay their employees on an hourly basis rather than annual salary figures.

Salary Differentiators for Backhoe Operators

Experience is perhaps the most important factor when considering what kind of salary one might expect as a backhoe operator.

For instance, someone with five years or more experience will likely earn more than someone with less experience—potentially up to $20 per hour or more compared to an entry-level employee who averages around $14 per hour.

Additionally, specialty certifications may help increase earning potential; some employers may offer additional pay increases to employees who possess certain certifications such as crane operations or hazardous waste removal credentials.

Benefits Packages for Backhoe Operators

In addition to salary expectations, it’s important to consider benefits packages when deciding which job offer is right for you as a backhoe operator.

  • Health insurance. Comprehensive health coverage that may include vision and dental care, ensuring your well-being and that of your family.
  • Paid vacation days/holidays. Time off from work with pay for relaxation, holidays, and personal needs, allowing you to recharge.
  • 401(k) matching plans. A retirement savings plan where your employer matches your contributions up to a certain percentage, helping you build a secure financial future.
  • Educational assistance programs. Support for your ongoing education, whether it’s job-related training or pursuing a degree, enhancing your skills and qualifications.
  • Bonuses. Additional financial rewards that are often tied to performance metrics like profitability or customer satisfaction scores, providing incentives for excellent work.

Different employers may offer a combination of these or even all of them depending on the demand and the market.

Job Security for Backhoers

Finally, job security is always something that should be taken into account when considering a career path. Thankfully it looks good for those working in the field of backhoe operators!

The BLS predicts that job opportunities in this field should grow at least 9 percent by 2026. This is due to an increasing need for excavation services related to new housing developments, road expansion projects and other infrastructure improvements taking place across the country.

So if you’re looking for stability in your career path with upward potential earnings potential over time then becoming a professional heavy equipment operator might just be the right fit!

Do you want to start a career as a backhoe operator?

In conclusion, when researching potential career paths it’s important to consider all aspects. These include salary expectations, fringe benefits packages and overall job security before making your decision. All factors that look promising when considering becoming a professional backhoe operator.

With growing demand projected through 2026 and competitive wages/benefits packages available nationwide there’s never been a better time than now get into this career field!

About the Author

Matt Avatar


Excavation Expert

Matt is a highly experienced heavy equipment operator with over two decades of experience in the construction industry. His expertise covers a wide range of machinery and project types, and he is known for his focus on safety, efficiency, and problem-solving. Matt's commitment to delivering high-quality work within deadlines and budgets has made him highly respected at Centex Excavation and the excavation industry.

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