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West Coast Heavy Equipment Schools

Jul 23, 2019

There are more than 15 schools along the West Coast that have heavy equipment certificate and degree programs. Read an overview of 10 of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Heavy-equipment training programs optimize students for maintenance and diagnostic work on the large types of vehicles geared for industrial and commercial use. On the West Coast, individuals can earn an associate's degree or certificate in heavy equipment from various technical and community colleges. These programs typically consist of courses in brakes, hydraulics and various things related to diesel technology. Certificates may be offered in specialty areas, such as power trains and engines. Both the certificate and associate's degree programs include general education classes, but there are also laboratories so that practical experience can be gained on machinery and through simulations. Below is a list and comparison table of the 10 largest West Coast schools that offer heavy equipment programs, along with information on degrees, courses and tuition rates.

Bates Technical College

Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Wash., offers an Associate of Applied Technology degree and numerous certificates in its Diesel & Heavy Equipment Mechanic program. With courses that involve hands-on work in the diagnostics and repair of industrial engines and components, the program qualifies students for maintenance and operational work in the world of heavy-duty vehicles. The 106-credit AT program mixes general education courses with topics like transmission, power trains, fuel systems and wielding. The certificates range from 6 to 45 credits and focus on everything from brakes and diesel tech to electrical engines and pneumatics.

Bellingham Technical College

Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, Wash., has a program entitled Transportation & Mechanical Technology from which students can earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Diesel Technology. The 121-credit program qualifies students for construction and technical work on heavy-duty machinery with courses on engines, brakes and steering. Bellingham Tech. also offers various certificates that focus on diesel-related topics, including hydraulics, electronic systems and drive trains.

Butte College

Butte College in Oroville, Calif., offers a Certificate of Achievement (CA) in heavy-equipment operation. The 29-unit program consists of hands-on work in courses about tractors, crawlers, farm equipment and welding. Additionally, the program teaches students about everything from hydraulic and pneumatic systems to studies on agriculture and the environment.

Citrus College

Citrus College in Glendora, Calif., has a CA program concerning the repair and diagnostics of medium and heavy trucks. The 32-unit program includes courses in diesel-engine management, electronic systems and drivetrain/chassis service. After a year of hands-on experience in the department's 22,000-square-foot lab area, the heavy-trucks program sees a 70-percent placement rate amongst graduates.

Clark College

Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., has associates and certificate programs in diesel technology. The degree programs mutually focus on diesel-related fundamentals and procedures, with general-education requirements that cover human relations, communication skills and computation. The AAS program spans 122-units, while the AAT and CP closely trail at respective lengths of 110 and 108 units.

Lane Community College

Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore., offers a six-semester Certificate of Completion (CC) in Diesel Technology. During year one, the program covers everything from hydraulics and braking systems to chassis and power trains. In year two, the curriculum involves arc-welding, engine-overhaul and auxiliary systems. Graduates hold credentials in heavy-duty vehicle repair, a field in which hourly-wage figures are currently estimated at $21.16 in the state of Oregon.

Portland Community College

Portland Community College in Oregon offers a degree and two certificate options in diesel technology. The AAS can be earned with a minimum of 92 credits, with curriculum that runs the gamut from computer concepts and diesel-engine lab procedures to electronics, hydraulics and welding. Students seeking faster entrances into the heavy-vehicle maintenance field can opt for the 80-unit, two-year certificate or the 49-unit, one-year certificate option.

San Diego Miramar College

San Diego Miramar College offers certificate and degree options, including an AS in Diesel Technology with concentrations in transportation and equipment tech. In the CA program, students have the choice of focusing on heavy-duty transportation, heavy equipment or diesel-equipment repair. Miramar even offers several mini-certificates in diesel tech, which can be taken separately or applied to a larger program.

San Joaquin Delta College

San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif., offers programs in the technical and mechanical areas of heavy equipment. In the 60-unit AS program, students undergo a four-semester sequence consisting of courses in electrical systems, air conditioning, welding and diagnostic troubleshooting. The 26-unit CA focuses on core AS-essentials for a succinct two-semester program.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Heavy Equipment Degree Programs and Certificates Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Bates Technical College Two-year, public, midsize city AT - Diesel & Heavy Equipment Mechanic,
CC - Diesel Service Helper
$5,391 in-state
$10,889 out-of-state*
Bellingham Technical College Two-year, public, small city AAS - Diesel Technology,
Certificate - Diesel Drive Train,
Certificate - Engine & Electronic Systems,
Certificate - Diesel Hydraulics
$3,600 in-state
$4,547 out-of-state*
Butte College Two-year, public, rural CA - Heavy Equipment Operator Technician $1,368 in-state
$6,984 out-of-state*
Citrus College Two-year, public, large suburb CA - Medium & Heavy Diesel - Truck Technology $1,190 in-state
$7,646 out-of-state*
Clark College Two-year, public, midsize city AAS - Diesel Technology,
AAT - Diesel Technology,
Certificate - Diesel Technology
$4,287 in-state
$9,718 out-of-state*
Lane Community College Two-year, public, rural CC - Diesel Technology $4,812 in-state
$10,428 out-of-state*
Portland Community College Two-year, public, large city AAS - Diesel Service Technology,
Certificate - Diesel Service Technology
$4,340 in-state
$9,200 out-of-state*
San Diego Miramar College Two-year, public, large city AS - Diesel Technology,
CA - Diesel Technology
$1,144 in-state
$7,024 out-of-state*
San Joaquin Delta College Two-year, public, large city AS - Heavy Equipment Technician,
CA - Heavy Equipment Mechanic
$1,288 in-state
$8,848 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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