How Can I Get Heavy Equipment and Truck Operation Training?

Learn about heavy equipment and truck operation training. Find out about the skills acquired in these programs and how that training can be used in a number of careers. Schools offering Heavy Equipment degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Type of Training Is Offered for Heavy Equipment and Truck Operation?

Programs in this field cover the operation, use and care of various types of heavy trucks and equipment, including excavators, mobile cranes, backhoes, bulldozers, front-end loaders and forklifts, among others. Successful training is based on your skills and the passing of a drug test and typically results in a diploma or certificate of completion in the designated area of training. You may choose to learn on one specific type of equipment or participate in a multi-skill program that involves various pieces of equipment.

Training Programs Diploma or certificate of completion most common
Online Availability Not usually offered, though some online resources are available in related subjects
Program Topics Safety, maintenance, engine operation, hazardous environmental conditions and crash management
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 12% growth for construction equipment operators,
6% growth for heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers
Median Salary (2018)* $46,990 for construction equipment operators,
$43,680 for heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Is the Training Offered Online?

Heavy equipment and truck operation training isn't typically offered through distance learning. Due to the hours of hands-on and behind-the-wheel training required, most of your time must be spent outdoors under the supervision of a professional instructor. Some online educational resources are available for heavy equipment or truck operators, but they're aimed at current employees rather than individuals in need of initial training. Examples of the online courses you may find include HAZMAT training, excavating and trenching safety, defensive driving and hazardous materials shipping.

What Will I Study?

As a student in a heavy equipment and truck operation training program, you'll learn to safely and efficiently operate various types of heavy equipment. Your curriculum will be divided between hands-on operation and classroom study, although the majority of the time is spent outside. Classroom learning may include written assignments, lectures, discussions and interactive computer learning. Truck operation training requires classroom hours and time spent on the highway gaining over-the-road experience.

In addition to operation, you'll also learn the maintenance and general care of the equipment. The training programs often comply with standards set by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Topics you may study include these:

  • Motor and engine operation
  • Refueling and charging batteries
  • Maintenance and inspection
  • Hazardous environmental conditions
  • Crash management
  • Hazmat education
  • OSHA Training
  • Maintaining logbooks

What Are My Career Options?

Upon completion of heavy equipment or truck operation training, you'll be qualified for many job positions, including those that involve the operation of forklifts, excavators, graders, bulldozers, construction equipment and commercial trucks. In addition to training and experience, you'll also need a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) along with any necessary endorsements, such as HAZMAT, to gain employment as a heavy equipment and truck operator. To improve your employment options, you may also choose to gain certification in heavy equipment operation.

Possible certifications include those from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) or the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of construction equipment operators would increase to 12% from 2016 to 2026 ( The BLS stated that heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers would see an employment growth of 6% for the same decade.

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
  • Somerset County Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Somerset
  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula
  • Santiago Canyon College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Orange