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Heavy Equipment Training Schools and Colleges

Individuals who want to become heavy equipment operators can find relevant training opportunities at the undergraduate level through two-year community colleges and technical schools.

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Both certificate and associate's degree programs are available for prospective students. These programs provide a comprehensive introduction to heavy equipment use through classroom-based and hands-on training.

Schools with Heavy Equipment Programs

Heavy equipment programs are typically found at technical colleges, such as the ones below:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees, In-State (2015-2016)*
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,805
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, PA 4-year, Public Associate's $15,810
Hawkeye Community College Waterloo, Iowa 2-year, Public Certificate $4,466
Hazard Community and Technical College Hazard, KY 2-year, Public Certificate $3,624
Southern Maine Community College South Portland, ME 2-year, Public Certificate $3,694
Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC 2-year, Public Certificate $2,768
Butte College Oroville, CA 2-year, Public Certificate $1,364
Central Arizona College Coolidge, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,460

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Heavy Equipment Operation
  • Truck, Bus and Commercial Driver

How to Choose a Heavy Equipment Training School or College

Below are important considerations when choosing a school:

  • Students should ensure that the school has been accredited, and they may want to look for programs that have been recognized by professional organizations such as the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).
  • Students should consider how much hands-on training experience the program entails, through simulations, on-campus practicums or off-site internships.
  • It is important to make sure that the school gives students the chance to train with up-to-date, industry-standard equipment.
  • Prospective students may want to look for schools that provide specific training for the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) exam.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs provide basic training in the use, maintenance and repair of heavy equipment such as forklifts, bulldozers, water trucks, dump trucks, backhoes and excavators. Students may also take business math and workplace communication courses to help prepare for jobs in the industry. An internship may also be required. Usually, certificate programs take one year to complete.

Associate's Degree Programs

Two-year associate's degree programs typically provide the same technical training as certificate programs, but they also include the general education courses necessary for an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate in Specialized Technology (AST) degree. In addition, some programs prepare students specifically for the CDL exam. Graduates may find jobs in construction, mining, logging or local government.

Heavy equipment operator training is available at the certificate and associate's levels. Various schools typically offer hands-on training through simulators and real equipment.

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