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School Requirements for a Heavy Equipment License

Training for a heavy equipment license is usually completed at vocational trade schools or 2-year colleges. Certification programs are also available. This article discusses the school requirements for a heavy equipment license.

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License and Training Requirements

A CDL license is required for transportation of equipment, such as a large flatbed trailer. A CDL is also required to operate a dump truck on public roads. Many students train for a commercial driver's license (CDL) in combination with a heavy equipment operator's certificate.

Training Options

Students seeking to become a heavy equipment operator can apply to a certificate program, usually offered by a community college or trade school. The program usually takes eight weeks to complete.

In this program, students learn how to operate motor graders, scrapers, crawler-tractors, front end loaders, excavators, dump trucks, back-hoes, bulldozers, rollers, all-terrain forklifts and hydraulic excavators.

Approximately 50% of training is hands-on, with students training on heavy equipment in the field. Classroom instruction includes the use of computer programs to practice planning and completing projects, GPS training, safety training, applied math and surveying techniques.

Prospective heavy equipment operators learn how to manipulate controls precisely, judge distances and maintain heavy equipment machinery. Many heavy equipment training programs require a student to qualify on at least two types of heavy equipment.

Hybrid heavy equipment operator courses are available. Students learn about heavy equipment safety, signs, hand signals and safety, principles of diesel engines, basic hydraulics and electrical systems through distance education. Students then go in to resident training, where hands-on skills are learned.

Salary Information

Contractors are having a hard time finding qualified individuals trained and certified for heavy equipment operation according to Lansing Community College (www.lcc.edu). Graduates of a heavy equipment operator program will be able to find work in construction, trucking and transportation.

As of February 2014, heavy equipment operators can expect to earn between $26,564 and $66,036 (10th to 90th percentile range) annually, according to PayScale.com.

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Montana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Montana include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Ground Transportation
        • Heavy Equipment Operation
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New Castle School of Trades include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Ground Transportation
        • Heavy Equipment Operation
        • Truck, Bus and Commercial Driver
  • School locations:
    • North Dakota (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of North Dakota include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Air Transportation and Distribution
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of North Texas include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at East Tennessee State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, and Corrections
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Engineering Physics
      • Math
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Macon State College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Grand Valley State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at San Diego State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics