Heavy equipment operators are in demand right now and will be in the foreseeable future. Don’t be surprised why. They are a critical workforce in the construction industry. Now is a great time to consider this career.
With great pay and good benefits and without strict requirements makes this profession is ideal for many interested individuals like you. By just taking the heavy equipment operator training in West Virginia and getting the necessary certification, you can get a decent job.
It is one of the fastest-growing job categories, with good reason, the construction sector, the industry where you can get employment, is booming and would not likely diminish. You can build a long-term and flourishing career being an operator.
If you’ve been wondering how to get into it, how to find a school and how much you would get doing this job, then, we made this article to help you start.
How to Take the Heavy Equipment Operator Training
- Decide if being a heavy equipment operator is the occupation you want to get into - The old saying says “find a job you love and never work a day in your life.” This is true whenever you choose a career to pursue. Think many times before making a final decision. If your passion and interest are aligned to the nature of work of an operator and you like working with equipment and love working outdoors, then there’s a chance this job is right for you.
- Complete the requirements – the most important aspect to pursuing a career is being prepared, hence it is important to know what the requirements are. Before you delve into taking the training, you must know the requirements you need to have/be to become an operator, the list is below for your reference. Just make sure you have what it takes otherwise you are wasting time and money.
- Find a school to enroll at – Unfortunately, there are not many heavy equipment training schools in WV to enroll at, the list is below for your reference. Although, you can take training from a school in another nearby state, see also below how to choose the right school. The training will help you prepare to pass the NCCER or NCCCO certification exams – the certification you need to have when working as a heavy equipment operator.
- Enroll in a course – if you want to be an operator, you can apply for a certificate program, a much shorter course which is usually being offered by a trade school or community college. It is much shorter training to complete that lasts for just about 10 weeks. In this program, you will learn to operate several important pieces of heavy equipment such as loaders, excavators, bulldozers, backhoes, dump trucks, tractors, scrapers. The training is composed of classroom training but you will spend most of the time in the field doing the hands-on training.
- Receive your certificate - when you’ve completed the training course, the trainer will assess your performance, when your assessment is satisfactory, you will be given a certificate of training completion. The training will help prepare to pass the certification exams.
- Take the NCCER or NCCCO certification exams – If you want to be competitive and marketable, you still have to take the NCCER or NCCCO certification exams. This involves taking the written exam and passing the performance assessment. Having such credentials will boost your chance of getting better pay and long-term employment.
Heavy Equipment Operator School in this state
If you are looking for a training school, here are what you can find in West Virginia:
- West Virginia Northern Community College
1704 Market Street | Wheeling, WV 26003,
Call: (888) 360-8764
- PIA Jump Start Training Center
251 Marietta Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301, USA
Phone: +1 304-624-6666
Ben Franklin Tech Center, 500 28th Street, Dunbar WV 25064
3354 Main Street, Weirton, WV 26062
- Ben Franklin Career Center
500 28th Street, Dunbar, WV 25064
Phone: (304) 766-0369
- Total Equipment Training
Service WV and other nearby locations has specialized training on bulldozer
- International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 132
Apprenticeship Training School
3377 Medina Rd, Ravenswood, WV 26164-5264
Phone: 1-304-273-4852; Toll-free: 1-800-376-4852
You have the option to take the training in another nearby state such as in Washinton.
What to Look for When Choosing a Training School
To avoid committing a mistake in enrolling in the training, it is important to define some criteria in choosing the best school. Here are some that you can follow:
- Since heavy equipment training is expensive, find a school that offers financial aid programs such as grants or scholarships. Inquire with your chosen school if they give such aid and ask how you can be qualified to avail of the program.
- Choose the school with the modern training facility and current equipment – getting training on modern facilities creates a comfortable environment for students to learn and learning to heavy equipment operation in current ones improves the quality of education. To make sure that you enroll at the right school, pay a visit to their facility, see the equipment they used in the training and observe how’s the training course is being facilitated. Just ask permission first from your chosen school if you could enter the facility, the school will most likely abide by your request.
- Find a school with a small class size – with a smaller class, you receive the focus and attention, it is less likely that there will be students that will be left behind. Not only that, with a small class size, you will learn faster in the classroom and in the practical training thus enhancing your confidence. And finally, with a small class size, you don’t have to share the equipment with other students, you get the best education you deserve.
- Choose the school with a good reputation in the industry – you can do some research to find the school’s reputation, good ones have been in the industry for years. You can also ask your friends if your chosen school has a good reputation. Those good ones are licensed and accredited as well.
- Find who the instructors are – ask about the instructor’s credentials and qualifications with the school. You can even sit in the class while the training is being conducted, observe how’s the training is delivered. Talk to other trainees about their experience, doing so, you get firsthand knowledge about training.
- Find the one with the curriculum that conforms with NCCER or NCCCO standards - well, at the end of the day, these are credentials you need to have if you want to be a heavy equipment operator, so better choose the school with a training curriculum that will prepare you to pass the certification exams of these accrediting bodies.
- With intensive hands-on training – the most critical part of the course is practical training. The school should have a focus on giving hands-on exercises in the field so that you learn the practical skills and abilities of operating the equipment. Though, I am not saying classroom lecture is less important.
General Requirements You Need to Start
Learn the requirements to become a heavy equipment operator, so that you can save time and effort. Here are generally what will be required from you:
- A high school diploma or a GED certificate as its equivalent
- You must be at least 18 years old of age
- Since the nature of work is physical, you need to be in good health condition and with good stamina to perform the duty.
- Must be a resident of West Virginia for at least a year (if you would like to apply for an apprenticeship)
- A commercial driver’s license CDL Class A may be required
- Department of Transportation (DOT) physical is required to verify your physical fitness and health condition for the job.
- Must have a valid driver’s license issued by the state and a reliable transportation
- You will undergo a substance abuse test
Taking the Apprenticeship Program
If you take the apprenticeship program at a local 132 of IUOE, you will undergo 1,000 hours of on-the-job training each and every year to advance to the succeeding year. You must have the willingness to work anywhere in West Virginia. You can submit your application to West Virginia Employment Security Offices if there’s an opening.
Being an apprentice is the best way to learn the trade, this is what they say. There’s a truth about this. By being an apprentice, you have the best opportunity to learn the practical skills needed for the job while making money. You will be paid to do on-the-job training. The salary you’ll earn is about 50% to 60% of what the journeyman is receiving.
The length of an apprenticeship program usually is three (4) to four (4) years of intensive hands-on and OJT training. You learn the trade from the best people around. You will work under the supervision of journeymen and other trade professionals.
Apprenticeship is considered full-time employment but there could be some downtime and sporadic work especially when the market is not flourishing.
When you finish the apprenticeship program, you receive a certificate of completion as proof of being highly skilled in this trade. Apprentices aren’t the only ones who can benefit from such programs, businesses too.
Salary of Heavy Equipment Operator in West Virginia
An important aspect to consider when choosing a job is financial compensation. If you are asking how much you would get being a heavy equipment operator in this state, well, according to the latest March 28, 2023 report of Salary.com, the yearly salary is $62,068. But the salary range $51,902 and $70,412, depending on some factors.
If you will work in Tennessee, the salary is almost the same as in West Virginia. And since the work location is a determining factor of how much you would get, here are the cities and towns of WV that compensate well:
|Bunker Hill||$77,634||Red Creek||$66,432|
The factor that affects your wage is the location where you are working, the salary may vary widely for the position of heavy equipment operator in other locations. Your experience and education also have an effect, the more experience you have, the better you are to negotiate a salary with an employer, and lastly, the certification and licensure are also a factor to consider in determining the salary, employers prefer to hire those candidates with NCCER or NCCCO certificate if you have these credentials, you are more likely be given a better paycheck.
According to BLS, the employment of heavy equipment operators in construction is projected to grow from the year 2016 to 2026. The continuous growth of the construction industry and private and public infrastructure projects are the main driver of this progress.
To Wrap This Up
Being a heavy equipment operator is an exciting and lucrative profession to get into, it is a job that would not likely to get obsolete. The demand for talents like you is high and will continue to be in demand in the next coming years.
Complete the heavy equipment operator training in West Virginia, spend some time and money to take it. You will have definitely the edge if you have such credentials and qualifications.
The big potential of employment for heavy equipment operators is in the construction industry if you have the right training and certification to work as a heavy equipment operator.
We wish you good luck on your journey ahead.
Keeping in Touch with the Authorities
West Virginia Division of Labor
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, State Capitol Complex - Building 3, Room 200, Charleston, WV 25305; Ph: (304) 558-7890
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
405 Capitol Street, Suite 407, Charleston, West Virginia 25301-1727
(304) 347-5937 Phone; (304) 347-5275 Fax
Cities and Towns of WV
Morgantown, Wheeling, Star City, Stonewood, Logan, Ronceverte, Shepherdstown, Montgomery, Nutter Fort, Clarksburg, South Charleston, St. Albans, Elkins, Princeton, Hurricane, Charleston, Huntington, Wellsburg, Hinton, Paden City, Chester, Vienna, Bluefield, Moundsville, Welch, Spencer, Eleanor, Rainelle, Marmet, Parsons, Terra Alta, Ceredo, Benwood, Mount Hope, Westover, Follansbee, Philippi, Kingwood, Romney, Williamstown, Fayetteville, Pleasant Valley, Madison, Wayne, Mabscott, Ansted, Winfield, Shinnston, Mannington, Bridgeport, Dunbar, Oak Hill, Nitro, Moorefield, Richwood, McMechen, Belington, Harrisville, St. Marys, Salem, New Haven, Mullens, Chesapeake, West Liberty, Glenville, Glen Dale, Petersburg, White Sulphur Springs, Milton, Chapmanville, Buffalo, Clendenin, Alderson, Barboursville, Ravenswood, Lewisburg, Summersville, Ripley, Kenova, Williamson, Sistersville, Oceana, Sophia, Barrackville, Belle, Weirton, Fairmont, Beckley, Martinsburg, Bethlehem, Pennsboro, Hamlin, New Cumberland, Parkersburg, Weston, Buckhannon, Keyser, New Martinsville, Charles Town, Grafton, Ranson, Point Pleasant