Equipment operator jobs are growing; you will find employment in construction, ports, trucking, and logistics, and in many other companies.
But to break into this career, you need to have an education.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced individual looking to advance your skill, you need to take heavy equipment training in Michigan. And where else do you go?
You have to enroll in the training school. The list of schools is below for your reference. Enrolling in such a program offers a lot of advantages.
Two of the most important benefits are you will be qualified to earn certification (such as ADEPT, NCCCO or NCCER), these certifications are what employers look for from a job candidate.
The second benefit is for rookies who are still just gaining experience in this field; enrolling in the school is the fastest way to gain operating skills and knowledge on a wide range of subjects required for the job.
If you have fully decided and are ready to earn your training, below are the schools and colleges where you can take your training:
Heavy Equipment Operator Schools in Michigan
North Country Heavy Equipment School, LLC
Jacob King, Director, 2929 16th Avenue North, Escanaba, MI 49829
Lansing Community College
409 N Washington Square, Lansing, MI 48933, USA
2937 Atrium Dr. Ste 200 Okemos, MI 48864
AIS Training Center
3600 N. Grand River Ave., Lansing, MI 48906
Phone: 517.321.8000; Fax: 517.321.9686
Detroit Training Center
5151 Loraine Street, Detroit, Mi,
Ferris State University - Heavy Equipment Department
220 Sports Drive, HEC-203, Big Rapids, MI 49307
Phone: (231) 591-2810
Operating Engineers 324
500 Hulet Drive, Bloomfield Township, MI 48302
Toll free 888.256.9610; Phone: 248-451-0324
Grand Rapids Office:
900 40th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
5914 Executive Drive, Lansing, MI 48911
802 Clark Drive, Gladstone, MI 49837
7677 Midland Road, Freeland, MI 48623
1305 I-75 Business Loop, Grayling, MI, 49738
Port Huron Office:
2441 West Water St., Port Huron, MI 48060
The school will help you pass the certification test. Their course will prepare you to be able to pass as OSHA requires heavy equipment operators to have such certification through a nationally-accredited testing body.
Criteria in Selecting Heavy Equipment Operator School
If you do not set a standard in choosing a school, you may end up losing money; you will not get the right education need to be an equipment operator. Here are the criteria you can use in deciding where to enroll:
- Choose the school that has a good reputation and had a good track in the field of heavy equipment training. You can easily spot a good one, just ask your colleagues; sometimes word of mouth can do wonders when you have doubts.
- The school should have modern and up-to-date heavy equipment in their training facilities. If you are unsure about this, pay a visit to their facility, ask permission if you could go inside. Observe and scrutinize their facility. You don’t need an eye of an eagle to spot discrepancies.
- The school should have low instructor-to-student and equipment-to-trainee ratios. Would you want to enroll in a class crowded with students? You won’t get the attention and focus, your learning will suffer.
- If you could find a school that offers grants and discounts that would be a benefit for you. The school tuition to take heavy equipment courses is no joke to laugh at. It could cost you $10,000 on average to pay for the tuition. To defray the expenses, you can avail of the school’s grant, if there is, or the flexible payment scheme they give.
- Offers job employment after graduating. The training school usually maintains a network of companies that hire talents like you. From time to time, these employers contact the school to scout for qualified operators to fill up their manpower requirements. If you are one of the successful ones that can be referred to by the school, you can get instant employment after taking the training.
These are just some of the criteria you can follow. If you have other reasons for making the decision, well, you might also consider what I’ve mentioned.
How Long and How Much is the Training?
The heavy equipment training could last from 4 weeks up to 12 weeks. Depending on the course you’ve enrolled for. During this period, you will spend much of your time doing the hands-on equipment operation in the field; you will spend some time in the classroom to learn about the theories and lectures of the training. Everything you will learn from the course will be your preparation for your taking of certification exams.
The school tuition could burn a hole in your pocket. The cost of the training ranges from $6,000 up to $12,000 depending on the comprehensiveness of the training course.
The school tuition is very costly, we know that. One of the ways to get a discount or perhaps full tuition funding is by applying for a Pell grant. If you want to enroll at Lansing Community College, they offer such a grant to their students. If you’re not qualified for a grant, you may ask for a discount, if you will be paying in full. You may also avail of the school’s flexible payment scheme if they have.
If you think with all the money that you have to bring out, how long can you recuperate that? In Michigan, heavy equipment operators can make a salary of $58,000 annually, and that’s the bare minimum (please see below salary matrix). You can easily recover the money you invested in.
Taking the Heavy Equipment Apprenticeship Program
Taking an apprenticeship program is a great way to earn a living while you earn experience and skill.
Completing an apprenticeship program could last from 3 to 4 years. During this period, you will learn actual work scenarios familiarizing you with the different corners of being a heavy equipment operator also known as an operating engineer.
You can apply for an apprenticeship program in the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local OE 324, their offices and contact numbers are listed above.
The minimum requirements to apply for a program is you need to be at least 18 years old, you need to have a high school diploma or GED certificate as proof of education, having prior heavy equipment training or certification (NCCER, NCCO, etc) will be a big factor to get accepted.
The wage of an apprentice is competitive and augmented with perks and benefits. Aside from your pay, you can enjoy benefits such as insurance and a pension plan.
But most importantly, the apprenticeship program gives you the practical skills you can use to get full-time employment. The program will also supply you with free career guidance and training to put you on the right track.
What are Your Responsibilities as a Heavy Equipment Operator
- Of course, first and foremost, you should have the ability and skill in the operation of heavy equipment, if you can operate different varieties that could be a big plus factor for you.
- You may use power tools from time to time at work, therefore, you should have the familiarization in the use and care of these tools such as chainsaws, jackhammers, compressors, mixers, power jacks, etc.
- You will operate semis with trailers, and heavy-duty trucks to transport goods and other equipment from and to the worksite. You will need to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to be able to drive such trucks.
- You need to have the ability to perform regular inspections and maintenance of the equipment; you may also be doing troubleshooting and minor repair. You will participate in equipment maintenance and repair work of the equipment for you to be able to familiarize yourself with it.
- You must be able to read and understand blueprints or plans to conform to the work orders; technical understanding is a prerequisite if you will be working in construction.
- If you’re a seasoned individual who has a lot of experience, you will assist in the training of novice and beginners.
- You have to report unsafe and hazardous work conditions to superiors for proper corrective action.
- There will more roles you have to perform depending on the workplace or nature of business of your employer where you are assigned in.
Salary of Heavy Equipment Operator in Michigan
According to the March 28, 2023 report of Salary.com, if you will work in this state, the average pay you would get is $70,110. Here the cities and towns of Michigan offering competitive pay for heavy equipment operators:
If you will work in Wisconsin, the salary you could make is almost the same as Michigan's.
Leaving a Final Word
Taking heavy equipment training in Michigan can be the fastest way to earn your certification. The training will prepare you for the certification exams. Though, it may take resources to fulfill your dream.
Getting a job as a heavy equipment operator takes preparation. You need to invest not only money but also effort and hard work.
The demand for equipment will never cease and the statistics are right about it. The US BLS had reported that there was a 12 percent increase in the year 2008 to 2025, creating more than 58,000 jobs. And in my opinion, there will more increasing demand for heavy equipment operators in the next coming decades.