How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator

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There are several different ways to become an operator of heavy construction equipment. The first way and most common way is probably to enroll in a vocational school that offers programs in construction equipment operation. It is crucial that the school gives students an opportunity to operate actual machines in real work-like situations. The availability of hands-on training is what separates good schools from great ones when it comes to developing qualified heavy equipment operators.

In order for a prospective applicant to be accepted, most schools or employers require a high school diploma. While still in high school many students find that a course in auto mechanics is useful because it prepares them for the inevitable maintenance that all heavy equipment will eventually need. Students can learn a great deal about fixing and maintaining heavy equipment without having to rely on their superiors or a maintenance crew. This gives them a favorable edge when being considered for jobs or promotions. However, some issues are more serious and will need the work of a professional. 

One way that the prospective heavy equipment operator can learn the trade is through on-the-job training. Vocational and classroom instruction is important, but does not give relevant, real time instruction like actually operating machinery under the watchful eye of a seasoned machine operator, who will not only know how to skillfully operate the vehicle, but can provide valuable input about the different quirks of each machine and the individual attention that must be given, to make it function at its best. It is still beneficial, though, to possess the classroom and theoretical knowledge involved in the use of heavy machinery and the safety regulations that govern its use. It may be wise to consider the kind of schooling acquired at any auto heavy rigid vehicle training geelong

Heavy equipment operators may complete apprenticeship programs or college programs in heavy equipment operation. These programs combine classroom and hands-on training. Generally, apprenticeships take 3-4 years to complete because they include instruction on several types of equipment. These apprenticeships also include paid training, as opposed to vocational and junior college programs, which, though classroom-heavy, typically take only 1-2 years to complete. Potential operators should have a driver’s license and a commercial driver’s license.(CDL) 

Heavy equipment operators do more than just move earth and operate big machines. 
They will find themselves performing other important duties such as the reading of job instructions, the performing of regular reports, inputing of data in computers, recording of documents, and the maintenance and repair of machinery, to name a few. These tasks all require strong basic math skills. At a work site, there is a great deal of activity. Machines and people are all going in different directions. It is very important to be able to communicate and interact well with others in order to prevent accidents and maintain a culture of safety. Therefore, communication skills are also very helpful. 

Becoming a heavy equipment operator can be a very rewarding experience. The hard work in terms of classroom studying and the hands-on experience in realistic situations make the success of receiving certification more fulfilling. Whether of a massive excavator or moving tons of soil in the cab of an enormous back hoe, there is an unmistakable feeling of confidence that one possesses the qualifications needed to command these powerful machines.


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