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Heavy Machinery Certification and Licensure Programs

Learn about licensing and certification for careers in heavy machinery operation. See what you'll study in these programs, get ideas about future job options, and explore the requirements for certification in operating various types of heavy machinery.

What You Need to Know

Certificate and diploma programs in heavy machinery operations can teach you how to handle equipment through a combination of hands-on and classroom experiences. Your courses will generally cover how to move, slope, grade, back-fill and excavate earth. You could also learn to smooth or level asphalt or concrete.

Programs Certificates and diploma programs in heavy equipment operation
Certification Operating Engineering's Certification Program (OECP) requires International Union of Operating Engineers membership and a valid medical card from Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the U.S. Department of Transportation
Licensing CDL required for heavy machinery operation

Source: iuoe.org

What Kind of Certification Can I Earn?

Some certificate and diploma programs offer certification in particular kinds of equipment; for example, you can find forklift certification. By becoming a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, you can apply for the Operating Engineer's Certification Program (OECP). Through this program, you can be certified to operate tower, overhead, boom truck, lattice boom and telescopic boom cranes.

To qualify for the OECP, you'll need a valid medical card from either the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or the U.S. Department of Transportation. You'll also need 1,000 hours of work experience using heavy machinery. Finally, you'll have to pass written and practical examinations.

What Kind of License Can I Earn?

Many heavy machinery operation jobs will require you to hold a commercial drivers license (CDL). Through a diploma or certificate program, you might receive the instruction necessary to earn a Class A CDL. Some programs require students to learn to operate tractor-trailers or other equipment-moving vehicles.

Which Careers Can This Preparation Qualify Me For?

After receiving training in heavy equipment operations and earning licensure or certification, you can work as a heavy equipment operator, operating engineer or construction equipment operator. Multiple industries utilize such professionals, including landscaping and construction. You may work on commercial or residential projects. You could also work for the government, working in county, state or interstate projects.

What Can I Learn in Heavy Machinery Programs?

Heavy machinery programs will teach you about safety, including U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration standards. Upon graduation, you'll be able to repair and maintain this equipment. Programs can cover a variety of machinery. Some of the heavy equipment you'll learn to use could include backhoes, earthmovers and bulldozers. These course topics might also be studied:

  • Proper reading of engineering drawings
  • Accurate judgment of distances and slopes
  • Font-end loader and forklift operations
  • Trench digger and excavator operations
  • Road roller and concrete paver operations