Are you considering a career becoming a heavy equipment operator? Now is the time to change your future.
Get trained today. How do you get the training then?
In the old days, all you need is to have a little experience and the company will take you. But the industry has changed since then.
Now, you need to be professionally trained by a school.
Heavy equipment operator school also known as a vocational school, trade school, community colleges is a great place to train for this trade.
If you’re asking where you can find one near me, well, this is where we come in.
On this website, we made directories of heavy equipment operator schools in every state so that you would not have a hard time looking for one near you.
Just select your state below.
Choose What State You Are Located
To make it easy for you to train, we have heavy equipment operator school locations, just choose the state where you're living in:
An Overview of the Program
Criteria in Choosing a Heavy Equipment Operator School
Attending school can be a great way to train as a heavy equipment operator. But not all of these schools are reputable and the same. Before you commit, it would help if you set some guidelines in choosing. Below are some of the criteria to follow in selecting the right school:
- Find a school that offers job placement assistance when you graduate. Would it be great if the school place you on a job upon program completion since they have a network of employers in search of skilled operators like you. But then again, everything is still up to you because there’s no guarantee that the school will give you employment. The school will only be there for assistance in job hunting and career guidance.
- Find a small class size. It is obvious that in small class size, the students perform better in the classroom discussions and get the attention they need from the instructor. Likewise, the student won’t share the equipment with other trainees giving you ample time to learn practical skills.
- Choose a school that has modern training facilities and well-maintained heavy equipment. To ensure that you are getting the value for money, get the high training quality you deserve. It is important to find a school that both has acres of land to train in and well-maintained machinery and see if that equipment the same that’s used in the industry. Visit the school’s premises in person to find out what they have to offer. Ask permission first before visiting.
- The students should spend much seat time to sharpen skills. Select a curriculum that gives emphasis on practical training or hands-on exercises to build your practical skills as a heavy equipment operator as this is the qualification the employer is looking for from new hires.
- Find a reputable training school. Before enrolling, it is important to confirm if companies employ the school’s graduates or had produced professional operators in the years they’ve been in the industry. To find out the school’s reputation, do simple online research such as in Yahoo Answers, or in other online forums, people there are sharing their first-hand experience, you can even ask and participate. It is a great place to ask anything.
- Find a school that has a training program in line with the NCCER certification. If you would like to work in the construction, which I am sure you certainly would, the NCCER certification is the one you need to get into this industry. Gaining certification involves passing the written test and performance assessment. It would help if the training program you are going to take must be matched with NCCER so that you have a greater chance to pass the tests.
- Choose a school that provides financial assistance to the students. Grants, student loans, and other flexible payment terms are the options you can avail of. You can talk to the school’s representative to know what financial assistance they can extend to you.
- Is there lodging or accommodation near your preferred school? Find a school that has motels close to that school. The cost of lodging varies depending on whether you want a single room or shared with other trainees.
With those tips above, I am sure, you can narrow down your selection to come up with the school you hope to attend.
How Much Does the School Cost?
The ballpark figure of attending a heavy equipment operator school is somewhere around $8,000 - $12,000 excluding some expenses such as the learning materials, PPEs, lodging/housing, certification body test fees. While the other costs you might be surprised when you sign in the program are the non-refundable administrative fee and registration fee.
Taking the heavy equipment operator training may seem like it costs a lot of money now, but later on after years of working, you will realize how valuable this education that given you a rewarding job.
How Do You Pay for the Tuition?
The first option to pay for the heavy equipment operator school is through a student loan. The school usually works with a lender who provides the finances for their students, in fact, they may even have an in-house creditor. You would then pay the lender back when you get employed. Although the student loan has an interest, it is a great way to pay the school especially if you a good credit financing record.
If you’re having difficulty qualifying for the loan, the second way to pay for the school is to become eligible for state or federal grants. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Department of Workforce Development, Trade Adjustment Act (TAA), Displaced Workers, Displaced Farmers, Vocational Rehabilitation, Tribal Education (BIA) are such of the grants you may be qualified for. These financing programs are constantly changing, you will need to determine your eligibility and the amount the grant it covers.
If you’ve served the Armed Forces, you may be qualified for the Post 911 GI Bill. For more information about this, follow this page. In fact, you may be qualified for other Veterans Affairs benefits too.
Lastly, you can avail of the school’s tuition reduction scholarship. You may ask the school what scholarship they are running and how you can be qualified for. The school has a rigorous process accepting students for the scholarship.
Trade School vs. Community College vs. Union: Your Training Options
To get an entry-level job, operators need a diploma or certificate. To earn this credential, you have to complete a training program offered by a trade school. Not only you will hone your skills in the operation of heavy equipment but most importantly you learn proper safety procedures.
The trade school has continuous registration; you can enroll anytime which you could not do in the community college and union.
The length of time it takes to complete the program will depend on the school and comprehensiveness of the training, you can earn your certificate in a matter of weeks, 4-8 weeks perhaps.
What I like about the trade school is that they have a connection with contractors and companies. What this means is that the trade can easily refer you to a prospective employer upon training completion.
The trade schools shine above the rest as there are many of them near you. Browse our directory to find out how to get in touch with them. Just choose your state above.
If you cannot find a curriculum suited for you from the trade school, the community college may also offer a course you are looking for.
What I like about enrolling in the community college is that you can extend your education to a more advanced bachelor’s level program.
Unlike, the trade school where registration is open anytime, the community college has a schedule. So you have to be an early bird to get included in their roster.
And in some circumstances, they may offer an apprenticeship program you can apply. Being an apprentice is the other way to get into the industry, as a matter of fact, many chose this as their stepping stone. Please see below how to become an apprentice.
If you like to train by a community college, in our directory, just choose your state above, we also have the contact information of every college/university you can contact with to register in their program.
The trade schools and community colleges aren’t the only exclusive providers of heavy equipment operator training program, the local union offers an apprenticeship program that you can get into to attain a journeyman-level certificate.
The heavy equipment operator apprenticeship is a 4,000 - 5,000 hours program that can be finished in a span of 3-4 years. It is a combination of classroom training and extensive on-the-job training.
Earn while you learn as they say. It is true when you become an apprentice. The wage you could make is very competitive and it increases every year as you gain the experience. Aside from the good pay, you will also receive a health insurance package and pension plan – as if you’re a regular employee.
But most of all, the apprenticeship program puts you on the career track which is necessary to become a full-fledged heavy equipment operator.
The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) accepts applicants. If you’re willing to apply as an apprentice, contact the nearest IUOE local near you as there more than 100 branches of them across the US and Canada. To find out their contact info, choose your state above, and browse our directory.
General School Admission Requirements
Without the required documents, you may find a hard time getting accepted in the program. If you would like to know the basic that you need, here they are:
In the US
• Applicant must be at least 18 years old
• High school diploma or with GED certificate as its equivalent
• Must be in good shape as the nature of the job demands it
• Must pass substances abuse test
- Submission of a personal profile is required
- The student must be in good physical condition, free of vision and hearing impairments.
- The student must be 18 years old or above to get accepted in the heavy equipment operator training program
- The student must have completed at least Grade 12 or equivalent
- The student must have Class 5 driver’s license
If you would like to be an apprentice, here are what you need:
- You need to be at least 18 years old
- A valid driver’s license
- A copy of the birth certificate
- A copy of social security card
- High school diploma or a GED certificate as its equivalent
- Legal proof residence for the past 6 months
- Be in good shape and health condition
These are the basic requirements you need to apply for an apprenticeship. Depending on the local you are applying, the requirements may vary.
Would You Do Training Online if the School Permits It?
If you cannot find a suitable heavy equipment operator school near you, would you do online training? Providers of such a method are uncommon, but you may stumble upon one. Completion of online training will earn a certificate of completion rather than a certification.
If you ask me what does online training cover? Well, it only covers the theoretical part of a training curriculum, it doesn’t provide the practical training, and hence the students are required to take weeks of residency on the campus to learn the hands-on part of the training course.
To answer if you would enroll or not in an online class, well, that is completely up to you if you think it suits you.
Again, as I’ve said above, online training is uncommon. But time will come that the online method will be a new trend in teaching. The heavy equipment operator school will provide this method in the near future.
The Heavy Equipment Operator School Will Teach Provide the Skills and Experience
The heavy equipment operator school will teach you everything you need to know – from theoretical to practical training in the field. It is designed to give you the fundamental knowledge needed to operate different types of machineries such as the following: Road Graders, Scrapers, Excavators, Articulated Haul Trucks, Bulldozers, Skid Steers, All-Terrain Forklifts, Wheel Loaders, and backhoes.
If you planning to enroll, ask the school first which types of machinery are included in the program, this is to confirm if the curriculum and equipment are matched with your requirement.
Gaining practical skills is important as well as theoretical knowledge. In the program, you will also learn site layout, laser level, soil, grade reading, health and safety protocols, equipment maintenance, dig alert, site preparation, flagging, current government regulations, and many other topics that may be deemed necessary.
If you have the practical skills and the theoretical knowledge mentioned above, you are at a better edge of securing a job as these are the qualifications employers are looking for from the candidates.
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To Conclude This
Just like any other endeavor, deciding on what profession you want to get into is a big decision to make. Take time to decide, you would not want to make a mistake.
But if you are really sure that becoming an operator is the occupation you want to get into, just find a heavy equipment operator school near you, and take the training there.
Gaining education is the first step but you have to expend some investment – and it is worth it. Later on, you’ll see, you would thank yourself that you got into a training program.
We wish you good luck!