Heavy equipment training is offered for students interested in the repair and operation of commercial and agricultural equipment like graders, excavators, construction equipment, heavy-duty trucks and diesel engines. In Wisconsin, heavy equipment training is offered through certificate, diploma and associate degree programs. Some programs include coursework that helps students prepare for the commercial driver's license (CDL) exam.
Blackhawk Technical College
Blackhawk Technical College, located in Janesville, offers a diesel and heavy equipment technician program that prepares students to repair diesel trucks and diesel-powered heavy equipment. Offered through the Center for Transportation Studies, the two-year diploma program teaches students about the latest diesel technologies and helps them become familiar with technical manuals. Course topics include hydraulics, diesel engine heads and blocks, inspection and maintenance procedures, truck steering and suspension, heating and air conditioning, engine fundamentals and diesel fuel systems. Applicants to this program must pass the S/P2 Safety and Pollution Test and take a student success course.
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Located in Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Technical College offers a two-year diesel construction equipment service technician program that helps provide students with troubleshooting skills and teaches them to inspect and repair heavy trucks and equipment. The ASE-certified instructors provide training in suspension and steering; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; brakes; preventative maintenance inspection; electronic and electrical systems; drive train and diesel engines. Upon graduation, students will have a Wisconsin Class A Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Each applicant must have a valid driver's license, complete a drug screening, pass an entrance exam and complete a Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) medical/physical form.
Madison Area Technical College
This technical college in Madison has two programs that provide students with training in heavy equipment technology through the School of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology. The two-year diesel and heavy equipment technician diploma program trains students in a simulated shop environment to manufacture, maintain, diagnose and repair commercial and heavy equipment vehicles. The curriculum equips students with the skills to adjust wheel alignments and suspensions, perform tune-ups and repair major vehicle systems, including air-conditioning, hydraulic, fuel and transport refrigeration systems.
The 67-credit associate degree program trains students in repair, maintenance and adjustments through lecture and labs in a simulated shop environment. The curriculum includes general education courses, simulated shop training and a paid internship, which allows students to develop practical skills and diagnostic expertise. Both programs hold ASE and National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) master certification in medium and heavy-duty trucks and are available at the Truax Campus.
Mid-State Technical College
The diesel and heavy equipment technician program at Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) in Wisconsin Rapids requires completion of at least 67 credits and takes approximately 27 months. Topics of study include mobile hydraulics repair, hybrid systems, preventative maintenance, engine repair, fuel systems and emissions, engine performance and metal fabrication. Students obtain hands-on training maintaining and servicing on-site equipment, using state-of-the-art tools and equipment. This program's curriculum is based on NATEF standards.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College offers two diesel equipment technology programs at its Sturgeon Bay campus. The 65-credit diesel and heavy equipment technician diploma program teaches students to service diesel-powered equipment and vehicles, including heavy equipment used for construction, agriculture and trucking. Through course assignment and lab work, students develop the skills to maintain and repair engines, engine systems driveline, chassis components and braking, steering and hydraulic systems.
The two-year associate degree program in diesel equipment technology provides students with the technical skills to diagnose, repair and maintain diesel-powered engines, as well as the management training to own or supervise an automotive shop. In addition to technician courses, students take general education courses, in which they develop math, communication, technical reporting and organizational skills. Both programs prepare students to earn their CDL and are certified by ASE, NATEF and the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED).
Western Technical College
The diesel and heavy equipment technician program at Western Technical College in La Crosse teaches students to inspect, maintain and repair diesel engines, transportation equipment, construction equipment and various other diesel-powered equipment. Applicants must have adequate assessment scores in math, reading and English. Through the expertise of four instructors, students learn about diesel safety and industry practices, diesel power trains, diesel electricity, diesel preventative maintenance, basic and advanced diesel engines and diesel engine repair. Students obtain hands-on training working on equipment such as trucks, backhoes and loaders and develop a maintenance schedule.
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College offers an agricultural power and equipment technician program at its New Richmond campus. The 60-credit program teaches students to service, assemble, repair and operate various types of machinery and tractors. Through coursework and practical experience, students examine air conditioning and electrical systems, transmissions and hydraulics. Applicants interested in enrolling should be proficient with computers, blueprints, auto mechanics, drafting, welding and basic math.
This program includes courses in mobile hydraulics, diesel engine theory, basic tools, welding for mechanics and engines for agriculture mechanics. Participants are required to obtain forklift licenses. Students will also be able to take a state-approved training program that can help them obtain certification as operators of refrigerant/recycling equipment leading to a mobile air conditioning license.
Heavy equipment operators or technicians might find employment with a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training. However, most employers prefer to hire individuals who have completed a training program, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Students who successfully complete such programs might be eligible for voluntary certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Programs below combine hands-on experience and training geared to prepare students for licensing exams in this state.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Heavy Equipment Training Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Blackhawk Technical College||Two-year, public; small suburb||Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician Diploma||$4,364 in-state; $6,647 out-of-state*|
|Chippewa Valley Technical College||Two-year, public; small city||Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technician Diploma||$4,364 in-state; $6,377 out-of-state*|
|Madison Area Technical College||Four-year, public; midsize city|| Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Diesel Equipment Technology
|$4,407 in-state; $6,512 out-of-state*|
|Mid-State Technical College||Two-year, public; fringe rural||Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician Diploma||$4,432 in-state; $6,445 out-of-state*|
|Northeast Wisconsin Technical College||Two-year, public; midsize city|| Diesel and Heavy Equipment Diploma,
Associate Degree in Diesel Equipment Technology
|$4,479 in-state; $6,492 out-of-state*|
|Western Technical College||Two-year, public; small city||Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician Diploma||$4,403 in-state; $6,377 out-of-state*|
|Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College||Two-year, public; distant rural||Agricultural Power and Equipment Technician Diploma||$4,729 in-state; $6,877 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES School Navigator