How Can I Find Heavy Duty Machinery Schools?

Read about your formal training options for entering the heavy duty machinery field, which include apprenticeships and certificate programs. Get info on finding a school for your heavy duty machinery studies, and find out what you'd learn in a certificate program in a related field like heavy equipment operation.

In these programs, you'll learn about the operation of heavy duty machinery like excavation equipment and forklifts. Plenty of certificate programs exist for heavy equipment operators.

Where Can I Find a School for Heavy Duty Machinery Operators?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most of your training in heavy equipment operation takes place on-the-job and through formal apprenticeship programs, and little formal education is necessary. However, several community colleges, technical colleges and trade schools offer training programs that teach you how to operate heavy duty machinery, such as forklifts, cranes or excavation equipment. The National Center for Construction Education and Research offers an extensive, searchable directory of training centers and learning academies that have met the organization's academic standards for heavy equipment operation.

Apprenticeship programs are typically administered by unions, such as the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) or the Operating Engineers Local 701. The IUOE maintains a list of apprenticeship programs conducted by union locals posted on its website. Many apprenticeship programs take at least three years to complete and consist of a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction dealing with a wide range of equipment.

Do I Need a Degree for This Occupation?

Even though many programs are presented at academic institutions, you'll usually earn a Certificate of Completion or Certificate of Achievement. In many cases, schools allow you to apply at least a portion of credits accumulated toward an associate's degree in areas pertaining to building or construction if you choose. This holds true even with programs presented in some commercial training facilities, such as those designating themselves as career institutes.

Which Schools Offer Certificates in Heavy Duty Machinery?

Coursework in these programs include electricity and electronics, maintenance and service, and a heavy equipment operations internship. These certificates are designed to prepare potential students for employment in the field.

  • Southern Maine Community College offers a Heavy Equipment Operations certificate program.
  • Central Arizona College offers a Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate program.
  • Butte College offers a Heavy Equipment Operator Technician Certificate Program.

How Long Is a Certificate Program?

If you choose to participate in formal education, a certificate program can take you from 4-12 months to complete. The length of time and type of certificate depends on the number of courses required by the school or the extent of the education you decide to complete. Typical programs include classroom and field components. Some schools allow you to complete some or all of your classroom requirements online and only attend campus for practice on actual equipment.

What Will I Learn?

Coursework generally includes Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, technical math and writing, civil blueprint reading and principles of project management. In conjunction with your courses, you'll usually acquire hands-on practical experience dealing with each piece of machinery or vehicle covered in the program, such as commercial trucks, backhoes, excavators, graders, finishers, bulldozers, forklifts and cranes.

In addition to operating the various pieces of equipment, you'll also learn how to maintain them. Some programs include a welding course. In addition to conducting the hands-on portions of your program at the school using school-owned equipment, you could also have the chance to serve as an intern at an off-site, private firm.

Learn about heavy duty machinery from a number of choices in certificate programs. These programs typically last one year.

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:

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.

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