Most companies wouldn’t hire unqualified heavy equipment operators. It is impossible to get a job if you’re not properly trained and certified even if you have the experience.
You build the skills and knowledge from training. You can get professional training by taking a course in a heavy equipment operator school in Washington.
If you are intending to enroll for a course, here are the schools in this state you can register in:
West Coast Training
3805 Dike Road, Woodland, Washington 98674,
IVES Training & Compliance Group Inc.
8420 Portal Way, Unit H3, Blaine, WA 98230-9482
Industrial Training International
9428 Old Pacific Highway, Woodland, WA 98674
832.324.4613 (phone); 360.225.1122 (fax)
West Coast Training
3905 Dike Road, Woodland, WA
800.755.5477 (Toll Free); 360.225.6787 (Local); Fax: 360.225.6760
Heavy Equipment Colleges of Washington
4701 McChord Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
Phone: (800) 536-1503
Bates Technical College
Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology Course and Commercial Truck Driving
101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405, USA
17300 West Valley Hwy, Tukwila, Washington
Inland Northwest Chapter Associated General Contractors Operators AC
2110 N. Fancher Rd., Spokane, WA 99212
Phone: (509) 534-0502
Western States Operating Engineers Training Institute
23500 S Operating Engineers Ln, Spangle, WA 99031-0210,
Phone: (509) 235-9393
Construction Industry Training Council of Washington
Call: 877.428.0442; Toll-free 1.877.707.2482 – Fax 425.462.7391
4510 NE 68th Drive, Suite 120, Vancouver, WA 98661-1261
10428 W. Aero Road, Spokane, WA 99224
3506 124th St. NE, Marysville, WA 98271
1930 116th Ave. NE, Bellevue, WA 98004-3044
International Union of Operating Engineers
2011 W Yakima St, Pasco, Washington 99301
Phone: +1 509-545-1811
1555 South Fawcett Avenue, Tacoma, Washington 98402
Telephone: (253) 572-9612 or (800) 207-8226; FAX : (253) 591-9882
2800 First Avenue, Room 311, Seattle, Washington 98121
Phone: (206) 441-8544
18701 - 120th Avenue, N.E., Bothell, Washington 98011
Phone: (425) 806-0302
18 East Street, S.W., Auburn, Washington 98001
Phone: (253) 351-9095
1305 Knight Street, Richland, Washington 99352
Phone: (509) 946-5101
How to Select the Perfect Heavy Equipment Operator School
- The operator school should modern training facility and current heavy equipment – you can schedule a visit to your preferred school and see the kind of training the school provides. Observe the facilities they used in the conduct of the training; see also if the heavy equipment they used in the hands-on training is up-to-date. You don’t have to have an eye of an eagle to become aware of it.
- Has a good reputation and established name – This kind of operator school has been in the business years or even decades ago. They already established their credibility in this field. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know the good one. Just ask your colleagues which school is reputable; you can even hear the school name from other people doing this craft.
- Has accreditation from NCCER, conforms to the NCCCO standard or even licensed by the Washington state itself – the operator school must be accredited by the National Center for Construction and Research (NCCER) and that the training standards conform with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).
- The school gives up-to-date lectures and methods of training that conform with the current laws and regulations – Due to the changing technology and standards of training/certification, students must cope up with the change. The school must have current training lectures such as interactive learning and computer testing; and it provides new methods of training such as heavy equipment operation simulation. Due to the technological advancement, modern equipment is now equipped with computer systems and screens, and the operator school needs to cope up with that.
- The operator school gives an opportunity for job placement – the hiring managers know the school is the best place to scout for potential skills, the school also maintains a network of employers where they can recommend their graduates to. If you showed good performance during the training, you can be referred by the school to the hiring manager for possible employment.
- Accepts grants and other funding to defray the cost of the training – we all know how expensive attending a heavy equipment operator school. The tuition is no joke; it can cost as much as $12,000 to complete a certain course. This is a big burden if you don’t have such an amount and one way to pay the tuition is through a grant.
- Gives versatile payment methods and discounts – We know the expense of taking the course, you may not be able to pay the operator school is full. The school knows that burden that’s why they give installment payment plans or possible discounts to lessen the amount of tuition.
How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator
- You can become a heavy equipment operator by enrolling in a training school near your area. The list of training schools is above for your reference. We indicated their addresses and contact details so that you can make an inquiry.
- There are some prerequisites you have to complete before taking the course. The requirements will depend on the school but typically you need be at least 18 years old and above, you need to be physically fit and possesses a high school diploma or GED certificate to get accepted in the course.
- Attend the classroom instructions and practical training of the course. These two parts are what the course is composed of. You will spend time inside the classroom taking the lectures and exhaust effort doing the hands-on operation in the field.
- If you would like to work in construction, you need to have NCCER certification. The certification usually involves passing the written test and practical assessment. The NCCER certification is required if you want to be employed in the construction industry.
- Taking the apprenticeship program – the apprenticeship program is an opportunity for you to earn while you learn. It is on-the-job training. You can apply for such a program in the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) near your location. There are several IUOE locals in Washington, see above.
You May Need Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
If you will be driving large dump trucks or flatbed trailers, you need a commercial driver’s license. This license permits you to drive these vehicles on public roads to transport materials and other equipment from and to the worksite.
There are four (4) categories of CDL you can apply for, namely classes A, B, C and D.
Class A is for vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. Class B is for vehicles with GVWR of the single-vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being pulled must not be more than 10,000 pounds.
The age minimum requirement of a CDL applicant is 18 years if he only intends to drive the vehicle intrastate, while 21 years old and older for an applicant if he wisher to drive interstate and be able to haul hazardous materials.
You also need to submit identification such as certificate of birth, social security number, passport, current driver’s license, proof of residency, other licenses issued by Washington state.
For the complete CDL application procedure, you may follow this link.
Salary of Heavy Equipment Operator in Washington State
If you will work in Washington state, you could expect an average yearly salary of $74,818. This number is based on the latest salary.com report of March 28, 2023. And since the work location is important in determining how much you would get, here are cities and towns of Washington that gives the highest salary for operators:
If you will work in Oregon, the salary you could receive is a bit lower.
Aside from the location where you will work as a heavy equipment operator, the other factors that play a role in your salary are your skills and length of experience.
To Finalize This
You have to exhaust your effort and spend time in taking and completing a heavy equipment training course. Without proper training, it would be difficult to get a job as an operator.
You can get professional training by enrolling in courses offered by a heavy equipment operator school in Washington. The course will prepare you for the certification that you need as the credential for employment.
Washington is one of the states that offer a high salary for heavy equipment operators, you can easily recuperate the amount you spent attending the school.
Contacting the Authorities
Occupational Safety and Health Administration Washington
L&I Headquarters – Tumwater
7273 Linderson Way SW, Tumwater, WA 98501-5414
Phones: 1-800-423-7233; (360) 902-5798 FAX