Heavy Equipment Certificate Programs

Learn about certificate and apprenticeship programs for heavy equipment jobs. Find out about key skills required to succeed in this field and how certification from professional organizations can advance your career. Schools offering Heavy Equipment degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Heavy Equipment Certificate Program?

If you're interested in learning how to work, drive and operate heavy machinery, such as dump trucks, backhoes, rollers, tractors, scrapers and dozers, a certificate program can provide you with the necessary training. You'll also learn about grade reading, safety procedures and laser-level interpretations. Among some of the safety procedures, you'll learn how to work in a number of settings, such as a construction site, an excavation site, mines, highways and farmland.

Since a commercial driver's license (CDL) is required to operate heavy equipment, these programs prepare you to take your state's CDL exam. Much of this preparation involves ample time learning to drive trucks and other heavy equipment. This Class A CDL will allow you to work with commercial vehicles that can pull over 10,000 pounds.

Certificate TopicsSafety procedures, survey stakes, grade reading, laser-level interpretations
Apprenticeship TopicsTerminology, hand signals, equipment inspection, maintenance and troubleshooting
CertificationCrane operators may need to be certified; many other certifications are voluntary

What Can an Apprenticeship Do for Me?

Certificate programs are generally designed to prepare you for apprenticeships. Whether you're interested in fixing heavy machinery or if you just want to operate the machinery, an apprenticeship will provide you with hands-on training that a certificate program may not be able to provide. Many apprenticeship programs work with county and state government agencies to meet standards. Some other apprenticeship programs require you to be an employee of the county or sponsored by a certified contractor.

The apprenticeship programs, while also providing on-the-job training, build real-world experience in the field. You'll learn the common terminology used on the job sites, as well as learning hand signals for operations and safety equipment. You'll also spend more time learning how to inspect equipment prior to use, maintain the heavy equipment and troubleshoot any problems.

Do I Need Certification?

Certification in heavy equipment operations is voluntary, but it can provide employers with proof that you have the skills and technical knowledge required to operate and maintain heavy equipment. The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS) provides information on several centers and associations that provide certification involving heavy equipment and construction equipment.

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) offers certification for operating large cranes. These certifications cover tower cranes, overhead cranes and mobile cranes. This website also provides information for city and state licensing.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Washington-Holmes Technical Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Chipley
  • Washington County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Calais
  • Washburn Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Kansas: Topeka
  • Uintah Basin Applied Technology College

    Campus Locations:

    • Utah: Roosevelt
  • Southern Maine Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: South Portland
  • South Louisiana Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Louisiana: Lafayette
  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula
  • Somerset County Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Somerset