If you have the passion and interest to work around heavy equipment and outdoor in different weather conditions, then becoming a heavy equipment operator might just be the career you are wanting to get into.
If you’re aiming to build a career in this industry, enrolling in a training program is the perfect move to start. If you are still thinking about your decision, be hesitant no more.
Being a heavy equipment operator is the pathway toward a long-term job, better pay and good benefits, and employment opportunities that you had not received from the previous job before.
If you are looking for a heavy equipment operator school in Missouri where you can take the training, below are the ones you can find in this state.
And if you’re now interested in this position, want to know the process of becoming a trained operator, or want to know more about the job outlook of this profession, then keep reading this article, here you will find everything you need to know.
State Technical College of Missouri
One Technology Drive, Linn, MO 65051
Phone: 573.897.5000; Fax number: 573.897.4656
- St. Louis City-SLATE Job Center
1520 Market Street, 3rd Floor, St. Louis, MO
- Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 E. Chestnut Expressway, Springfield, MO 65802
- International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE )
- Local 101: 6601 Winchester Ave., Suite 280
Kansas City, Missouri 64133; Phone: (816) 737-8600; www.iuoelocal101.org
- Local 148: 2929 South Jefferson Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63118
Phone: (314) 865-1300; www.local148.com
- Local 513: 3449 Hollenberg Drive, Bridgeton, Missouri 63044
Phone: (314) 739-3983; www.iuoe513.org
Criteria in Choosing a School to Take the Training From
- Find a school that grants scholarships to students – the school may set requirements prior to getting accepted for the scholarship, inquire with your chosen school if you can qualify for it.
- Find a school that gives free OSHA 10 and 30 Safety Training as part of their curriculum so that you would not have to take this training separately when asked by a prospective employer.
- Choose the one with modern equipment and a large training facility - It is essential that the training space be large enough to accommodate the trainees who are doing practical training. Likewise, the equipment should also be modern and current, you would not want to train on a rusty piece of equipment. To make sure your chosen has these, ask permission from the school if you could pay a visit to their facility. See the environment and observe how’s the training is being conducted.
- Choose a class with a low student-teacher ratio – it is one of the criteria that should be taken into consideration when taking heavy equipment training. With a low student-teacher ratio, you can guarantee to receive the attention and focus which allows you to connect with the trainer. You don’t have to compete with other trainees and share the equipment with several students during hands-on exercises and field activities.
- The schools should have a training curriculum inlined with the NCCCO or NCCER certification - Taking a training program that conforms with the NCCCO or NCCER allows you to pass the certification tests. You would not have a hard time adjusting and passing those exams. You need to have these credentials since these are the ones that will be asked of you by a prospective employer.
How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator
- Make a decision if this occupation is the one you want to pursue - making an informed decision should take time, you would want to make a mistake in choosing. Know facts about being a heavy equipment operator, the nature of the job, and what the future holds for you, these are what you need to consider when making a career choice. Don’t base your decision based on the money you can make being an operator, you need to have a passion for the job.
- Complete a heavy equipment operator training course - if you are a rookie or a seasoned pro who wants to advance your career, taking the heavy equipment training and earning the necessary certificate (such as NCCER or NCCCO) is the way to go. The course is offered by a heavy equipment operator school in Missouri. The list of schools is above, for your reference. Completing the course will enable you to earn an initial certificate and prepare you to pass the certification exams.
- Earn the necessary certification –NCCCO or NCCER certification is the one should be aiming for to obtain. These credentials are recognized by the industry. Earning such certification involves passing the written test and performance assessment. If you have such certification, you are in better standing to negotiate the pay with the employer, plus the fact that you will be sought after by big contractors.
- Take a heavy equipment operator apprenticeship program – apprenticeship training is commonly offered by the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) or by Associated General Contractors of America. The program usually lasts for about 3 to 4 years of paid on-the-job training. You will learn the trade by doing the actual job. By being an apprentice, you earn a living while making a living as they say. To know more about how to apply and what the requirements are to be an apprentice, check out this page.
- Get employment as a heavy equipment operator – if you are lucky enough, the school where you took the initial training from or in the union where you completed the apprenticeship program can place you on the job. The school and union have a connection with industry people and contractors who are needing qualified talents like you to join the workforce.
Requirements You Need to be a Heavy Equipment Operator
The following requirements will determine if you can be qualified for the training when enrolling in a class. The same requirements are also the ones being asked by the employer when applying for a job.
- A high school diploma is required prior to getting accepted in the training and in
the job; GED as its equivalent is also accepted.
- Be at least 18 years old
- Prior to completing the course, you may be required to get a Class A CDL
- A driving record may also be required. You can obtain this record from local
License Bureau or from the Department of Revenue.
- A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical test may also be required by the school when applying for the training or by the employer when applying for a job.
- Substance abuse testing may be also be needed to be taken by you.
- A valid driver’s license and a reliable transportation
- To boost your chance of getting a better job and fat paycheck, you will need NCCER (heavy equipment operator) or NCCCO (crane operator) certification.
How Long and How Much Would It Cost You?
The heavy equipment operator training course will last for about 8 weeks of intensive classroom and hands-on training if you take it at the school. You will be able to learn the operation of bulldozers, tractors, backhoes and excavators on-site, these are the most important pieces of equipment you need to have knowledge on. The training duration could last longer depending on the training package you avail.
Such training is called a certificate program which is commonly focused on the fundamental use of the equipment and basic safety. You can advance your career by taking a diploma or degree study which is commonly taken at the community college or university.
The certificate program usually costs around $4,000 to $10,000 depending on the school and covered equipment in the training. The cost does not include the training supplies and training materials. You have to spend some money on personal protective equipment such as steel-toe boots, hard hats, safety vests and other supplies.
If you will take the apprenticeship training, it would take around 3 to 4 years to complete such a course with a participating employer. It consists of classroom lectures and intensive on-the-job training. Contractors and approved companies use to sponsor apprenticeships. If you completed the program, you will earn the title of a journeyman.
Salary of Heavy Equipment Operators in Missouri
If you are wondering how much you would get being a heavy equipment operator in this state, well, you could make as much as $66,762 annually. But the salary ranges between $55,827 and $75,737 depending on some factors that affect the salary. These figures are based on the latest March 28, 2023 report of Salary.com. Here are the cities and towns of Missouri that pay well:
|Earth City||$68,714||New Florence||$68,415|
|Kansas City||$68,702||Valley Park||$68,714|
|Lake Spring||$66,671||West Alton||$68,751|
If you will work in Arkansas, the wage there is much lower.
The things that could affect it is the years of experience you are doing this job, the city/town in MO where you are working, the certification and licensure you have as a heavy equipment operator, the size of the company you are working for, and other relevant skills relevant for the job. The more equipment you can operate, the better chance for you to receive good pay. This is what matters most if you are in this field and to stay marketable.
You have the opportunity to advance to become a site foreman, a supervisor or run your own contracting business. The opportunity is flexible.
What does the future hold for you as an operator? According to BLS, the job looks good. The demand for heavy equipment is continuing to grow until the year 2024. Be hesitant no more. Being a heavy equipment operator is a rewarding career to get into. You can get good pay and expect a flourishing career in the next coming decades because this job is something not to get obsolete.
To Make a Conclusion
You might be asking if being a heavy equipment operator is a good profession to get into? Well, it is, without a doubt. It is one of the careers that would last for a long time and the pay is great. You just have to expend some effort in completing the training and spend some money on the tuition.
You could enroll in a program offered by a heavy equipment operator school in Missouri, it is the first step toward achieving your goal of being an operator.
The school will teach you everything you need to know and help you gain the confidence to operate the heavy equipment in an efficient and safe manner.
We wish you good luck on your journey ahead.
Contacting the Authorities
Missouri Department of Transportation
105 W. Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65102
1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636) (Customer Service)
1-866-831-6277 (Motor Carrier Services)
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Robert A. Young Federal Building, 1222 Spruce Street, Room 9.104, St. Louis, Missouri 63103
(314) 425-4249; (314) 425-4255 Voice Mail; (314) 425-4289 Fax
Office of Administration - Division of General Services
PO Box 809, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: (573) 751-0929; Fax: (573) 751-7819
Cities and Towns of MO
Concord, Sikeston, Lemay, Republic, Overland, Clayton, Joplin, Chesterfield, Jefferson City, Independence, Lee's Summit, O'Fallon, St. Joseph, Raytown, Kirkwood, Maryland Heights, Gladstone De Soto, St. John, Parkville, Shrewsbury, Battlefield, Cape Girardeau, Oakville, Wildwood, Wentzville, University City, Ballwin, Belton, Sedalia, Affton, Arnold, Springfield, Columbia, Ferguson, Nixa, Raymore, Rolla, Warrensburg, Old Jamestown, Spanish Lake, Fort Leonard Wood, , Perryville, Pleasant Hill, Nevada, Maplewood, Lake St. Louis, Jackson, Jennings, Lebanon, Carthage, Washington, Moberly, Grain Valley, Marshall, St. Ann, St. Charles, St. Peters, Blue Springs, Florissant, Fulton, Dardenne Prairie, West Plains, Neosho, Festus, Crestwood, Maryville, Bridgeton, Mexico, Troy, Excelsior Springs, Branson, Webb City, Town and Country, Union, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Bolivar, Kennett, Eureka, Harrisonville, Liberty, Mehlville, Hazelwood, Grandview, Webster Groves, Cameron, Chillicothe, Kearney, Ellisville, Smithville, Berkeley, Monett, Clinton, Park Hills, Ladue, Des Peres, Sunset Hills, Richmond Heights, Murphy, Ozark, Creve Coeur, Willard, Macon, Bowling Green, Waynesville, Manchester, Farmington, Hannibal, Kirksville, Poplar Bluff, Boonville, Oak Grove, Olivette, Carl Junction, Warrenton, Brentwood, Dexter, Aurora, Sappington, Pacific, Marshfield, Sullivan, Bonne Terre, Valley Park, Black Jack, Caruthersville, Glendale, Trenton, Charleston, St. Robert, Barnhart, Pevely, Richmond, North Kansas City, Vandalia, Centralia, Northwoods, Weldon Spring, Greenwood, Odessa, Savannah, Dellwood, Salem, Normandy, Desloge, Glasgow Village, Peculiar, Crystal City, Platte City, Cottleville, Mountain Grove, Higginsville, Rock Hill, Eldon, Imperial, Lexington, Mount Vernon, Scott City, Hollister, Ste. Genevieve, Osage Beach, California, Lamar, Breckenridge Hills, St. Clair, Brookfield, St. James, Malden, Butler, Fredericktown, Sugar Creek, Pagedale, Woodson Terrace, Fenton, Whiteman AFB, Herculaneum, Camdenton, Ashland, High Ridge, Castle Point, Carrollton, Palmyra, Holts Summit, Frontenac, El Dorado Springs, Wright City, Kansas City, St. Louis, Pine Lawn, Tipton, Cuba and Rogersville, Cassville, Gray Summit