Heavy equipment operators need to master special skills in handling large machinery which includes bulldozers, excavators, backhoes, dump trucks, trailers, rollers, pavers, hoists, skid steers, wheel loaders, and other machines used in construction
To get trained to be able to drive these types of equipment, you need to complete a course at the heavy equipment operator school in Wisconsin.
the school will help you in many ways not only in the provision of training but in career guidance as well. Some even offer employment assistance upon successful training completion.
Community colleges and/or vocational schools offer special skills training for aspiring heavy equipment operators. Here are the schools where you can enroll in:
- Wisconsin Technical College - 4622 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53705, Phone: 608-266-1207, Fax: 608-266-1690
- Associated Training Services - 7132 Elder Lane, Sun Prairie, WI,
- Fox Valley Technical College - 1825 N. Bluemound Drive, P.O. Box 2277 Appleton, WI 54912-2277, Toll-free: 1-800-735-3882, Local: 920-735-5600, Apprenticeship program is available
- Nicolet College - 5364 College Dr, Rhinelander, WI 54501, Phone:+1 715-365-4493, training is in cooperation with Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, to check if there’s an upcoming schedule, contact: 715.365.4905 or 800.544.3039, ext. 4905
- Vista Training, Inc. - 721 Cornerstone Crossing, Waterford, WI 53185, Toll-free: (800) 942-2886, Phone: +1(262) 514-2886
- Building Wisconsin Together - 4702 S. Biltmore Lane, Madison WI 53718, Phone: 608-240-4170
- Operating Engineers Training Center 139 - W11584 State Hwy 21 • Coloma, WI 54930, Phone: 800-280-0139
Choosing a Heavy Equipment Training School
Finding the right school can be a daunting task if you don’t know what criteria to follow when you searching for one. Here are some of the guidelines for choosing the best training school:
- Visit the school’s training facility to see how the training is being facilitated – doing so will give you a sneak peek of what is involved in the classroom and practical training.
- Know about the class size – you can make an inquiry with the school; ask how many students are there in a particular class. A class with a small number of students is ideal for you so that you can receive much more personal training inside the classroom and in the field.
- Know how experienced the trainers are – it is important that the trainers are not just good, they should also have years of experience in teaching and have earned certifications. You need trainers who can pass on knowledge and skills to the students.
- The school must have modern facilities and machinery used in the training - It is important to pay a visit to the schools you are considering to enroll in. You will be able to compare their methods, machines and tuition and other fees when you personally inspect their school premises.
- Opportunities for scholarships or student loans - It usually takes an average of $10,000 in tuition and fees to take a course. Seek for company grants, deferred payment schemes and other tuition subsidies to reduce the costs of training.
- Employment Opportunities after training completion - There are schools affiliated with construction companies and will be able to recommend you for employment opportunities after graduation. If you have completed your training with flying colors, ask for company referrals from the school administration so you could submit your resume and application.
Steps in Becoming a Heavy Equipment Operator
- You need to have at least an idea of what you are getting into. You can research about the basic knowledge and skills, safety protocols and responsibilities of operating heavy equipment. Most heavy equipment operators work in the construction field. They control the machines that are used in preparing the field for a building, road or maintenance.
- Consider getting professional training and/or formal education that is offered in vocational schools and community colleges. There are courses that may be related to building processes and construction management. Heavy equipment training will give you the most hands-on experience in the field. Training and programs usually take eight weeks to as much as 4 years depending on the level of training. Get certified to handle the heavy equipment by passing a written and practical exam at the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).
- Try getting hands-on experience in operating the machinery. You need to sign up for an apprenticeship program or on-the-job training to get the skills needed. To help you find the suitable apprenticeship program, you can inquire at the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services (OATELS) for on-the-job or apprentice opportunities. You can also take an apprenticeship program at the nearest local of the International Union of Operating Engineers in your area. In Wisconsin, you can apply at Operating Engineers Training Center 139. These programs often require completion of around 3000 hours of actual field demonstration and 150 hours of classroom lectures.
- Submit your resumes to different construction companies. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected the job growth rate of heavy equipment operators at 10% for a 10-year standpoint starting from 2014 to 2024. The job growth rate is sensitive to economic situations so the job may be seasonal in some states. The average annual salary of a heavy equipment operator is $43,810 in the year 2015. The statistics mean that there is a high demand for operators, you won’t be running out of employment opportunities wherever you go.
- Advance your career by taking on higher roles. Most seasoned and experienced heavy equipment operators move up to a higher level in their construction career. They may become foreman to supervisor to project managers and then to senior manager. Some may even start their own contracting or construction business. You can do so by taking more advanced certifications and by gaining field experience.
Requirements to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy equipment operators have special training and skills intended in the operation of heavy machines such as cranes, forklifts, load trucks, backhoe and bulldozers. They are also required to have knowledge of the repair and maintenance of the equipment. They could travel with their machinery from the construction field and back to their headquarters.
Commercial Driver License
Most states require heavy equipment operators to obtain the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). In order to acquire this, the operator needs to have the following:
- He must be at least 18 years old
- He must have a valid license number
- He must have the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam
- He must have a social security card
The operator will undergo a practical and written exam to acquire the CDL.
Education and Experience
You must have working knowledge and experience in handling and maintaining heavy equipment. This may include becoming acquainted with traffic regulations, risks, safety procedures and operation and repair of heavy machines. Heavy equipment operators must maintain and keep updated licenses and certification necessary to operate the mechanisms in the field.
Heavy equipment operators are obliged to meet some physical requirements to qualify for the job. Here are some of the physical requirements needed for the job:
- You must have an accurate field of vision that is able to discern distances and drive the equipment safely.
- You must have a strong physique that can have the ability to move and operate the heavy equipment.
- You must have good balance and agility.
- You must have the strength to be able to lift compact heavy loads on a day to day basis.
Heavy equipment operator career entails mental capacity, physical attributes and special skills set to be able to deliver the tasks required for the work. Because of the hazards of this occupation, the annual salary for heavy equipment operators is at an average of $46,080 with benefits, overtime pays and hazard pays.
How Much Way Would Get If You Work in Wisconsin
Based on the last March 28, 2023 report of Salary.com, the average salary of heavy equipment operators working in Wisconsin is $69,004. But since some factors affect how much pay you would get, the salary ranges from $57,702 and $78,280.
If you will work in Minnesota, you could make way better salary.
The factors that come into play that affect the wage is the location where you are working in this state, the size of the business of your employer, your education and certification that you have earned, and the experience you have – if you are capable to operate a wide variety of heavy equipment, you are more likely to get a better salary.
Here are the cities and towns of Wisconsin that pay well:
|Black Earth||$68,306||New Auburn||$71,802|
|Frederick||$74,005||Saint Croix Falls||$74,005|
Wisconsin has a high demand for heavy equipment operators. There are obvious reasons why there is workforce shortage such as the aging labor force, and the recession that happened a few years ago. Those operators who had lost their employment during that recession permanently left the industry to get other jobs. The last reason is that people don’t have any idea of getting into this industry.
Construction is a booming industry, this where someone can get employment, you can build a career as a heavy equipment operator. This job is something that will last for a long time.
To Wrap This Up
Wisconsin is now is in great demand for talents like you. In this state, you get a job in industries such as forestry, road maintenance, construction, and in manufacturing.
Aspiring heavy equipment operators need a high school diploma, be in good physical condition and training certificate to penetrate this field.
Training is the key to get employment. You can get the proper training by enrolling in a course offered by a heavy equipment operator school in Wisconsin.
It will only take several weeks to finish the course.
The benefits of having such education outweigh the investment you put in.