While some training is broad in scope, such as engineering, there are certain fields where specialized training is necessary. For example, a heavy equipment training school will offer coverage for a huge list of machines, and while there may be some overlap, the schooling should primarily focus on the type of equipment being used most on the job site and for a particular discipline.
Excavators, forklifts, bulldozers, wheel loaders, dump trucks – the list of heavy equipment is seemingly endless. However, a certification typically adheres to one vehicle type. That doesn’t mean one cannot receive more generalized training, but there are certainly various elements to watch for when choosing a training course or curriculum.
Choosing a Heavy Equipment Training School
There are many schools out there and just as many online or fast-track training courses to earn a certification. It can make choosing the right one a little more difficult, especially if you don’t know what to look for. This list can help:
Certifications, certificates, diplomas, and degrees mean nothing if the school or training program is not accredited. Schools and programs that are accredited are certified by the state and other programs that are relevant to the field. For instance, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) might back or recommend a particular training program that meets its guidelines.
Before enrolling and spending on tuition, vet the program itself and the school to make sure they’re an acceptable channel for learning.
Types of Equipment
As previously mentioned, it is possible to get a generalized education in the heavy equipment field, but it can be more beneficial to focus on a type of equipment. Those interested should think about what they want to do and what kind of equipment they’d like to work with, and then go from there.
Some heavy equipment training schools may not offer the courses or training programs needed, which should be researched beforehand. Finding out the equipment one needs to be familiar with is not covered, after enrolling in a course, is never a good situation. Building envelope professionals, for example, are only going to utilize certain types of heavy equipment due to the nature of their work and where they’re working. Learning how to operate a dump truck or cargo crane, in that case, is probably not going to be beneficial.
For reference, some professional heavy equipment operator training courses cover vehicles like backhoes, dozers, graders, loaders, scrapers, vibratory compactors, and more. They will also review other heavy equipment operator duties required to participate in the average construction project, such as flagging, site prep, preventive maintenance, and grade checking. Not all programs are this thorough, though, and some are more focused than others because the equipment calls for it.
The courses offered by heavy equipment training schools, while trade-focused, are full-time commitments. Usually, they run from about three to nine weeks, depending on the curriculum, and some may require internship-style working hours for added experience.
Moreover, there may be auxiliary courses that have to be completed, during or after, because they inform novices about related topics or activities. This is definitely something to plan for when choosing a school, but also when scheduling courses. If the schedules or timelines are not immediately apparent before signing up, one should be able to speak to a counselor to find out what those commitments are going to be.
One of the major benefits of trade schooling or specialized programs is that they’re designed to help secure work in the field almost immediately after graduating or completing a certification course. They may even include pre-job training and guidance to help candidates succeed on the average job site. Whatever the case, it’s important to determine whether or not this support is offered by the schools being considered.
Due to reputation alone, some schools may provide an opportunity for higher earnings in the field, especially with higher operator success rates. The more novices that complete a training program and enter a field successfully, the more likely development firms are going to be willing to hire more candidates thanks to the optimal reputation. In fact, because of labor shortages, many companies look to hire new operators with the right training experience and may even offer sign-on bonuses.
If there is an opportunity, speaking to friends, colleagues, and peers about the training programs they’ve completed is always a good idea. When encountering someone who has successfully completed a course or school in question, take the time to ask for their opinions and about their experience.
Some might argue that cost is not a major concern, but for the working class, it always is. Check into some of the heavy equipment training schools that are available, review the prices or subscription opportunities, and compare.
Some will be more expensive than others, but sometimes the higher prices are justified. Maybe one of the higher-priced programs offers on-the-job training and an open position, right out of the gate. Consider the features and opportunities of the school in question before voting for or against it.
In some cases, candidates may already be on the fast track for a company hiring, in which case it’s a great idea to go ahead and ask the employer for training recommendations. Sometimes, the employer will even auto-enroll new hires into a required program or certification course.
In these cases, it’s still important to consider many of the points listed above, because even if the employer requires the training, if it’s not accredited, it won’t be usable outside the company or for new opportunities.
Your Heavy Equipment Training School Awaits
Choosing a training program or school can seem daunting, but when armed with the right information, it’s much less of a concern. More importantly, upon completion of the program, candidates are more equipped for the job site and future endeavors. Those with the proper training are much more desirable to potential employers, which can open up new doors and opportunities.
Emily Newton is an industrial writer who specializes in covering how technology is disrupting industrial sectors. She’s also the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized where she covers innovations in industry, construction and more.