What Does It Take to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator?

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Are you looking for a career where you get to spend a lot of time outdoors, working with awesome machines? If so, you might want to look at becoming a heavy equipment operator. There’s a constant demand for heavy machine operators among construction contractors, not to mention plenty of municipal opportunities, making it a career with nearly unlimited job opportunities.

The path towards becoming a heavy vehicle operator takes a little while, but it can be extremely rewarding.  Here are the basics.

What You Need To Do To Become A Heavy Equipment Operator

1 – An idea of what machine(s) you’d like to work

“Heavy vehicles” covers a wide range of machines, anything from construction equipment like excavators, backhoe-loaders, bulldozers, skid-steers and even forklifts, to city service vehicles such as fire trucks or garbage trucks. A good operator will pick up several licenses and certifications over their career, but you should have a starting point.  What sort of vehicle would you like to operate and what sort of environment do you want to operate in?

2 – A high school education (or equivalent)

The educational requirements for being a heavy machine operator aren’t strict, but they do require a basic high school education. So, stay in school!  You’ll need either a diploma or an equivalent such as a GED, to be able to obtain the licenses needed to work.

3 – Training

Whatever vehicle you want to operate, you’ll need to get in a certain number of hours (it varies) of training before you can be considered a true professional operator. While you could potentially get yourself hired at a construction company as a laborer or apprentice, the best choice is almost always to attend a heavy equipment operator training school in Ontario. You’ll receive a top-class education and receive plenty of hands-on experience, along with all the information you need to pass your tests.

Speaking of…

4 – Licensing and certification

You’ll need to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to operate most heavy machines that operate on public roads and highways, so that means getting tested by the government. Also, most heavy vehicles also require their certifications, so you’ll also be looking at testing to demonstrate you can operate the specific vehicle(s) you’ve decided to focus on.

Once you’ve got your licenses and certs, you’re set. You’re now able to start your new career!

Start Your Heavy Equipment Operator Training in Ontario

5th Wheel Training Institute is one of the best heavy vehicle operator training schools in Ontario, with decades of success and excellent on-site training grounds. Click here to learn more about us.


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