Heavy Machinery Operation School and Training Programs

Training programs are available in both heavy equipment operation and heavy equipment repair that can prepare you for a career in either field. Read on to learn more about these two separate educational experiences and careers, including typical classes you'll take and how to choose a school. Schools offering Heavy Equipment degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

As an aspiring heavy equipment repair technician, you may enroll in a certificate program that can be completed in as little as one year and will prepare you to apply for entry-level positions in the field. Diploma and associate degree programs could offer you more extensive hands-on experience with repair and may include internship opportunities.

Program Options Diploma in Heavy Equipment Operations and Maintenance or Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technician, Certificate of Achievement in Heavy Equipment Repair, Associate of Applied Science Degrees in Heavy Equipment Repair, Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology, and Heavy Construction Equipment Technology
Classes Heavy equipment electronics and electrical systems, heavy engine rebuild, equipment powertrain and hydraulics, diesel fuel system, GPS for earthmoving, blueprints and grade states for earthwork, site engineering and layout, the operation of trenching equipment
Training Apprenticeships usually last 3-4 years with each year requiring at least 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training and 144 hours of technical training (2017)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Heavy Equipment Training Programs Are Available?

You may not need to complete a postsecondary education in order to get a job as a heavy equipment operator or repair technician. High school repair courses, on-the-job training experiences and apprenticeships may be sufficient to enter the field. However, formal training programs can help you to gain professional experience and educational credentials that could be advantageous when seeking employment.

Certificates, diplomas or associate degrees are options for you if you are an aspiring heavy equipment operator. Certificate programs are typically focused on the basics of the field while diploma and associate degree programs could be of benefit if you have interests in construction theory or management.

What's the Best Way to Choose a School?

You should choose a program that offers access to a wide variety of large machinery in order to expand your professional knowledge. Because obtaining a commercial driver's license is typically mandatory for work as a heavy equipment operator, you should enroll in a program that prepares you to receive one.

Heavy equipment repair schools should offer you a repair shop and access to a wide variety of heavy equipment to gain hands-on training with the various components of machinery. You may find programs that specialize in particular brands of equipment, or ones that focus specifically on diesel engines. Consider this brief list of schools to begin looking for one that's right for you:

  • Southside Virginia Community College (Alberta)
  • Wake Technical Community College (Raleigh, NC)
  • Lone Star College (The Woodlands, TX)
  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (NC)
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport)

What Courses Will I Take?

Heavy equipment operator programs commonly include courses in workplace safety and the operation of various machines. Diploma and associate degree programs may allow you to expand on operation techniques with coursework in construction management, site operation and welding. These topics may be studied as well:

  • Maintenance
  • Electrical theory
  • Backhoes
  • Skidsteers
  • Wheel loaders
  • Dump trucks
  • Bulldozers

What About Other Coursework?

Through heavy equipment repair programs, you will commonly study electronics and welding. Certificate programs offer fewer courses, while diploma or associate degree programs may provide you with additional experience in areas of your choice. You may also take general education courses and gain some customer relations and management knowledge through associate degree programs. These areas of interest might also be explored:

  • Hydraulics
  • Fuel systems
  • Engine systems
  • Breaks
  • Transmissions

Can I Take Courses Online?

Because heavy equipment repair and operation are largely hands-on in the training process, distance education programs are extremely rare. However, you may find schools that offer partially-online programs for courses that can be learned through lectures and exams over the Internet. While much of the program might still require your physical presence, the availability of online courses could help you fit educational experiences around a busy personal or professional schedule.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

You may be expected to service a number of different vehicles, such as bulldozers, tractors, cranes and excavators, including diesel and non-diesel machines. You may diagnose equipment in order to install, repair or replace the engine, hydraulics, brakes, fluid systems and other components using hand tools, power tools and hoists.

Heavy equipment operators are expected to operate a number of large machines, including forklifts, dump trucks and backhoes. Expertise with these pieces of equipment allows operators to complete a number of tasks, such as moving soil, transporting construction equipment and paving roads.

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

  • Lincoln Tech

    Lincoln Tech responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Lincoln Tech:

    • Certificates

    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
  • Somerset County Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Somerset
  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula
  • Santiago Canyon College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Orange