Heavy Equipment Operator Schools in MississippiWhether you’re a novice individual or a seasoned operator looking to advance a career, enrolling in a program is the best route to acquire the skills and knowledge.

If you are in Mississippi, there are a number of heavy equipment operator schools in this state, see them below.

Being a heavy equipment operator is a skilled profession and therefore it requires proper training in the classroom and real-world work environment. This is where the school comes in. The school provides a range of skills enhancement through training.

If you are looking for a school, here are what you can find in Mississippi:

  • International Union of Operating Engineers
    Local 624 1328 Highway 80 West Jackson, MS 39204 PH: 601-353-3914 FX: 601-969-3323; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Jones County Junior College
    900 South Court Street Ellisville, MS 39437
    Admissions (601) 477-4025 | General Information (601) 477-4000

  • Pearl River Community College
    Poplarville Campus - 101 Highway 11 North, Poplarville, MS 39470
    Forrest County Center - 5448 Highway 49 South, Hattiesburg, MS 39401
    Hancock Center - 454 Hwy. 90, Suite D, Waveland, MS 39576
    For more info, please contact: 601.403.1000

  • Copiah-Lincoln Community College
    Wesson Campus - 1028 JC Redd Drive, Wesson, MS 39191; 601.643.5101
    Natchez Campus - 11 Co-Lin Circle, Natchez, MS 39120; 601.442.9111
    Simpson County Center = 151 Co-Lin Drive, Mendenhall, MS 39114; 601.849.5149

  • Jones County Junior College
    900 South Court Street Ellisville, MS 39437
    Admissions (601) 477-4025 | General Information (601) 477-4000



Criteria You Could Follow When Choosing for the Right School

Before you make a decision to send out your application for the training, it is important to know if you are applying for the right school. To help you in this endeavor, we laid out these criteria:

  • Small class size. Find a class with a small number of students because it leads to more one-on-one focus from the instructor. With a small class, the instructor can get to know each trainee to give more attention when needed. The instructor doesn’t want to leave behind an individual student, with a small class size, the instructor can tailor the lectures more individually to not-so-performing students. The ideal number of students in a particular heavy equipment training program is 10-15. Remember this, in a crowded classroom, there’s a low level of student engagement that leads to decreased learning, so it is important to find a small class size.

  • Find a school with modern pieces of heavy equipment and maintained facilities. Technology is constantly changing so as in heavy equipment training. GPS and simulation training is now on-trend, while it is also important to train in well-maintained training facilities as well. If you want to make sure you are choosing the right school, visit personally their campus, observe how the training is conducted and see what equipment they use.

  • Financial aids are important. We all know that taking the course is an expensive undertaking. You may not have a sufficient amount of money to pay for the tuition. To defray the expenses and help you pay, you could avail of a student loan or tuition discounts. Find a school that offers such benefits.

  • Gather information about the training school’s reputation. Well, you don’t want to spend money on the school that you would not give the best education that you need. To make sure you’re enrolling in the right one, gather information from your colleagues or from someone you know who’ve undergone training at that school. By doing so, you can collect reliable and first-hand information to make that important decision.

  • Find what are the instructor’s credentials and experience. Instructors serve two important roles: as teachers and mentors. To bring the best out of them, credentials and experience are certainly a factor. To make sure if the instructor is qualified to conduct a heavy equipment training course, talk to the school and ask about their instructors’ professional background.



How to Pay for Heavy Equipment Operator School

Taking a heavy equipment training course is costly. It could set you back several thousand dollars, which doesn’t include other expenses. There are a number of ways you can pay for the school. Here are some of them:

  • One of the popular ways of paying to get into the program is through availing of career loans. The loan can be used to defray the expenses such as tuition, board, and expenses while on the training. A career loan is used to cover the remaining balance after the applicant has made a down payment. When you’re applying for this, please keep in mind that a credit record is an important factor to get approved for a career loan.

  • Federal grants can also be used to pay for tuition. As students, you may qualify for this. Talk to the school about it. Some examples of the grants are: Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Department of Workforce Development, Trade Adjustment Act (TAA), Displaced Workers, Displaced Farmers, Vocational Rehabilitation, Tribal Education (BIA), Veterans Title 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation)



How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator

There are three (3) routes you can follow to become a heavy equipment operator.

While you may have heard from other people that in the past you just have to gain some on-the-job experience, you could get hired on the spot. But the industry has changed since then, professionals have recognized the necessity for the training. If you want to be an operator, you need to undergo a training course offered by a school. Doing so, you just have to spend several months, not years, in the program. To get the most benefits and employment opportunities, you can acquire proper certification such as NCCER or CDL and this is where the school will help you with. Being certified, meaning you are at better standing to negotiate your salary with a hiring manager or employer.

An apprenticeship program is also a great approach for an aspiring operator to obtain the necessary practical skills needed for the job. the apprenticeship program is frequently offered by a local union or participating contractor. This is a great way to make a living while learning the trade. You will spend around three (3) to four (4) years in the program, after completion, you will earn the title of operating engineer or journeyman. Just like the school’s training program, apprenticeship is a combination of hands-on exercises and classroom instructions.

Lastly, you can be a construction site laborer or helper. Basically, if you show your interest in operating heavy equipment on-site and pay attention, your foreman will give you more responsibility every day, you could start operating lighter equipment like a skid steer and work your way up as you gain experience, you could operate heavier equipment such as a dozer or backhoe.

How the Training is Conducted

The training program is composed of classroom instruction and practical training while depending on the school, testing may also be administered to gauge the knowledge and skills students get from the program.

The classroom instruction can be done through computer module learning while practical training can be performed with simulation, but nothing beats the real-world scenario.

As a beginner student, you focus operation in four important pieces of heavy equipment: bulldozers, wheel loaders, backhoes, excavators. The length of the program typically is between 6 to 12 weeks depending on the program you enroll for.

By completing the training course, you will be able to obtain an entry-level heavy equipment operator position. If you want the best out of it, you can further your education and gain credentials. You can take NCCER certification and CDL. These credentials are important if you want to solidify your standing.

Requirements that You Need

  • As an education requirement, you need to have a high school diploma or GED as its equivalent. Most employers may prefer to hire those job candidates who finished high school.

  • A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is also an important requirement if you want to be an operator. With CDL, you are allowed to operate heavy equipment on public roads and drive trailer trucks that transport goods and equipment to and from the job site. If you have a CDL, you are better standing to getting accepted for the job.

  • Since you will work outdoor in different weather conditions, you need to be physically fit for the job. You may undergo physical and medical exams prior to employment.

  • NCCER certification would also give you an advantage. NCCER certification is recognized nationally and by the industry. This certification involves taking and passing a written test and a practical exam.

  • The employer may require job candidates to have a clean driving record. If you have DUI, this may or not affect employment opportunities, depending on how the employer perceives it.



Salary of Heavy Equipment Operator in Mississippi

The first thing that you might ask is how much you can make as a heavy equipment operator working in Mississippi. To answer this, well, according to the latest March 28, 2023 report of Salary.com, the average salary per year is $60,947 but it varies, it could range from $50,965 and $69,141 depending on some factors. Here are the cities and towns of Mississippi that offer the best wage:

Belen  $64,429 Mccomb $63,674
Brandon  $62,661 Michigan City  $64,429
Byram $62,703 Nesbit $64,658
Chatawa $65,277 Oakland $63,038
Como $64,429 Osyka  $65,277
Crosby $65,277 Oxford $64,429
Dundee  $64,429 Pearlington $63,496
Farrel $63,038 Pocahontas  $62,703
Fernwood $65,277 Potts Camp  $64,429
Gloster  $65,277 Ripley  $62,140
Harrisville  $62,114 Roxie  $63,674
Horn Lake  $64,789 Senatobia  $64,429
Jonestown $64,429 Southaven  $64,821 
Laurel  $62,072 Taylor  $64,429
Leakesville  $64,226 Vancleave  $62,089
Marks  $64,429 Walls  $64,756


If you will work in the neighboring state of Alabama, the wage you could make is much higher.

If you have a considerable amount of experience for the job and certification for the trade and applicable skills, you can expect better pay. The city where you are working in this city also affects how much you can earn.

The future is fruitful for the heavy equipment operator. According to the latest report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth for this trade is projected to increase until the next coming years.

The demand for heavy equipment operators is no surprise. As the population continues to rise and more government expenditures, there will be new homes to be constructed, roads and bridge to be built and commercial buildings to be put up, there is expected to be a need for qualified people like you to do those jobs.



To Make a Conclusion

There will be a need for talents like you in the coming years. You are mostly to get employed in the construction, the industry always in search of qualified individuals like you.

If you want to start a career in this field, start now. If you are thinking of getting professional training, attend a course offered by a heavy equipment operator school in Mississippi, they will help you achieve your goal.

We wish you good luck!

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