Passion for Heavy Equipment & Construction

The Educational Requirements For A Heavy Equipment Operator Job

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If you have a knack for using machinery and enjoy the operations, pursuing a career as 'heavy equipment operator' is worth considering. It would offer a rugged outdoor lifestyle with reasonably good payment and a chance to really enjoy what you do to earn your living.

A heavy equipment operator handles big heavy machines used in the construction, mining and agriculture industry. These machines are mostly hydro-mechanical equipment and require special knowledge and skills to operate and maintain and repair. Most machines are put to use for grading and landscaping, excavating earth and transporting men and material. The list of machines that fall within the definition of heavy equipment is quite big. However, the more common ones that can be seen functioning and operating on construction sites and mines etc are shovels, bulldozers, excavators, loaders, heavy-duty tipping trucks, graders, forklift trucks, cranes, drilling machines, motor graders, asphalt pavers, skid steer loaders, roadrollers, compactors, pile drivers, pipe layers etc.

Similar to any other career that needs possessing specialized skills, a career as a heavy equipment operator also needs specific technical education of a certain level to include modules covering preventive maintenance of equipment, basic safety, including specific modules on backhoes, loaders, graders, dump trucks and tractors etc. A heavy equipment operator not only operates equipment, but is also required to adjust, maintain and ensure timely small repairs to these huge machines that despite their size are delicate in many respects. They are extremely expensive and incorporate many sensitive and sophisticated high tech components that can easily get damaged if not handled with care. A bulldozer along with attachments can easily cost up to half a million dollars or even more. In such conditions, employers are becoming increasingly hesitant to employ unqualified operators to handle such machines.

Therefore, a qualified and skilled heavy equipment operator is more and more in demand. This demand is going to keep increasing over the years as billions of dollars are being spent on new projects by the government and private industries as well. You can see new dams, flood control projects, hydroelectric plants, and transmission facilities being built to cater to growing requirements. All this will involve huge numbers of heavy machines and qualified operators.

Sensing the growing need for qualified operators for heavy equipment, top equipment training schools came together to form NAHETS (The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools) in order to promote higher technical standards and training required for operators of today's high-tech machines. NAHET schools have an advanced training curriculum that includes theoretical and hands-on operating and maintenance training on latest equipment.

Apart from NAHETS, The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) also offers certification leading to heavy equipment operator credentials. It is a not-for profit education foundation established by manufacturers, big contractors and national trade associations. NCCER certifications are highly valued by employers.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics data of 2005 indicates that heavy equipment operators were paid $17 an hour. However, qualified operators equipped with training and certification got $30 an hour. With numerous openings for employment, pursuing a career as an educated and certified heavy equipment operator can be a rewarding experience for anyone who prefers an outdoor work environment and physical work that includes working on machines.

Heavy Equipment Careers are well paying and in demand. Did you know you can finance your education? We are fully accredited by the DETC. Visit our website

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