Schools with Heavy Machinery Training Programs

Learn about schools offering programs that train heavy machinery operators for employment. Explore what you'll learn and how programs commonly work. See what your career options are after completion. Schools offering Heavy Equipment degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

To prepare for a career in heavy equipment machinery, you can choose to earn a certificate or associate's degree or complete an apprenticeship training program. You can find heavy machinery programs that focus on construction equipment, agricultural equipment or diesel-powered equipment used in transportation.

Program Options Heavy Equipment Operations Certificate, Associate of Applied Science in Heavy Construction Equipment Technology, Associate of Applied Science in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology, Heavy Equipment Operator Training Apprenticeship
Training Construction equipment operators may complete a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship that includes 2,000 hours of training each year
Courses Site layout, engine systems, construction management safety, operations of track-type tractors, quarry operation

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where Can I Find Heavy Machinery Training Programs?

Vocational schools and technical colleges offer heavy equipment training programs that result in certificates or associate's degrees. To find an apprenticeship, you can check with a school, a heavy-equipment trade union or on job boards.

Here's a short list of some locations offering heavy machinery training programs:

  • Wake Tech Community College (Raleigh, NC)
  • Central Lakes College (Brainerd/Staples, MN)
  • Bates Technical College (Tacoma, WA)
  • International Union of Operating Engineers (based in Washington, DC)
  • Southside Virginia Community College (Alberta, VA)
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport, PA)

What Kind of Training Programs Are Available?

Certificate programs are common and typically focus on becoming an operator of different machines. Some schools also offer associate's degree programs that may be helpful in learning how to operate more complex machinery. These programs include an Associate of Applied Science in Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology and Heavy Construction Equipment Technology A.A.S. Associate's programs can be completed in four semesters.

An apprenticeship combines a classroom curriculum with extensive on-the-job training. Typically lasting three to four years, the apprenticeship is a paid position that allows students to work with real equipment under a journey-level operator's instruction, and it often includes high-tech equipment simulators as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, apprentices should expect at least 144 hours of classroom instruction and at least 2,000 hours of supervised work per year.

What Can I Expect From These Schools and Programs?

You can expect to be working hands-on with many different pieces of machinery, including motor graders, front-end loaders and water and dump trucks. Look for schools that have newer machines as well as older machines still used in the industry. Some schools require you to purchase your own tools. This may be a high initial investment, but these are your own tools to take with you when you complete the program. If you are enrolled in a degree program, you'll also have to take foundational courses in basic math, English and science. You'll likely be covering these topics in your program:

  • Safe handling of heavy machinery
  • Bulldozers
  • Rubber tire loaders
  • Backhoes
  • Hydraulic excavators
  • Diesel technology
  • Electronic engine systems
  • Wheel ends service
  • Servicing manual transmissions
  • Forklift operation

What Career Options Will I Have?

You can work for a number of different companies, including your state or county highway departments or private construction and mining firms. Some career options include working as an asphalt paver, concrete paving machine operator, railroad car repairer or farm equipment mechanic.

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