Training Courses for Heavy Equipment Careers
By: The Working Man
A career in Heavy Equipment is not as easy as you might think.
Heavy Equipment operators build our world and it requires
specialized skills and knowledge to operate heavy machinery.
Heavy machine operators also have to be certified and licensed to
In order to become licensed to operate heavy machinery you need
to know not only how to operate the piece of equipment you plan
to drive, but several other machines as well. You also will be
expected to know how to maintain them, do minor repairs on them
and service them.
You will also need to be able to work under extreme weather
conditions for long hours. There is no air conditioning or heat
outdoors, of course, and a lot of people can't do this job just
because of the climate they have to face while working. Not all
heavy machinery operation is outdoors, some work indoors in
factories, garages and warehouses, but you should be prepared to
be flexible in that area if you want to be a valuable worker.
To qualify for a career operating heavy machinery you will not only
need the prerequisite learning, certification and licensing but
it also takes a certain kind of person to operate these machines.
You need to be observant and be able to notice when there is
damage or faults with your machinery or particular dangers or
challenges with the area in which you are working.
A heavy machinery operator also needs mathematical ability,
problem solving, and reasoning skills in order to be able to
calculate loads and balance "on the fly". He also needs to be
able to identify problems before they become problems and use
preventative maintenance on his machinery.
Most heavy machine operators are trained on site or job. They
undergo job training and acquire skills under the supervision of
a trained and licensed heavy machinery operator. The trainee
starts out with light operating equipment like the fork lift, and
moves up to the heavier machinery like the dump truck. All of
this is done under the eye of an experienced heavy machinery
Operator's controls for a Caterpillar Grader
Many people believe that attending some kind of course work also
helps you to develop a wider set of skills and more comprehensive
knowledge of heavy machinery operator skills. These day
certification through schooling is required to become a licensed
heavy machinery operator.
The International Union of Operating Engineers and the Associated
General Contractors of America offer an apprentice program that
offers formal training in the operation of heavy equipment to
become an operating engineer and is administered by the union-
In this program trainees are able to learn a wider range of
machinery starting off than just light equipment and have better
opportunities when they are through with the program. This
program is six thousand hours of on the job training for three
years and one hundred forty-four hours of instruction in the
classroom in a year.
The big construction equipment companies hire the graduates of
this program (and sometimes non-graduates) and train them to
operate specific equipment. The new heavy machinery equipment
also now has technological and electronic controls that require
further specialized training to operate them. This is opening up
further job opportunities for those that have this specialized
There is also training available for experienced heavy equipment
operators to help them to increase productivity, safety and
efficiency in the jobsite.
Index of All Heavy Equipment