Heavy Machine Operator School and College Information

Dec 11, 2019

Heavy machine operators run and repair equipment such as tractors and excavators. Aspiring operators typically earn a diploma, certificate or associate's degree.

Schools with Heavy Equipment Programs

The following schools offer heavy equipment programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)*
Flathead Valley Community College Kalispell, Montana 2-year, Public Certificate $4,808 In-district
$6,180 In-state
$11,948 Out-of-state
Hawkeye Community College Waterloo, Iowa 2-year, Public Diploma $5,311 In-state
$6,021 Out-of-state
Southern Maine Community College South Portland, Maine 2-year, Public Certificate $3,770 In-state
$6,590 Out-of-state
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, Pennsylvania 4-year, Public Associate's $16,740 In-state
$23,880 Out-of-state
South Seattle College Seattle, Washington 4-year, Public Certificate
Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, North Carolina 2-year, Public Diploma
$2,768 In-state
$8,912 Out-of-state
Butte College Oroville, California 2-year, Public Certificate $1,368 In-state
$6,984 Out-of-state
Central Arizona College Coolidge, Arizona 2-year, Public Certificate
$2,580 In-state
$11,100 Out-of-state
Hazard Community and Technical College Hazard, Kentucky 2-year, Public Diploma
$4,248 In-state
$14,400 Out-of-state

Source: *NCES College Navigator

School Selection Criteria

Heavy machine operators can find training programs at 2-year community and technical colleges throughout the U.S. Students should consider the following:

  • Diploma and certificate programs can be completed in as little as one semester whereas associate's degree programs are longer and include a wider variety of courses.
  • Some programs may focus more strongly on repair techniques, so students should look for a curriculum that includes this content.
  • Students may want to consider enrolling in programs that offer a great deal of hands-on opportunities and access to a wide variety of heavy equipment.
  • Schools with high placement rates may offer programs for direct employment upon graduation.

Diploma in Heavy Equipment Operation

Diploma programs incorporate coursework in servicing and operation of heavy machinery, safety procedures and blueprint reading.

Certificate in Heavy Equipment Operation

A certificate program in heavy equipment operation typically takes less than one year and includes hands-on experiences working with heavy equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers and excavators via internship opportunities.

Associate's Degree in Heavy Equipment Operation

Associate's degree programs in heavy equipment operation include general education courses that students can transfer to bachelor's degree programs. Prior to entrance into some programs, students must submit to a physical and drug screening.

Heavy equipment operation programs are available at the diploma, certificate and associate's degree levels. These programs cover topics such as mechanical theory, welding, safety procedures, math and blueprint reading.

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