What Qualifications Do You Need for A Heavy Equipment Job?

150 150 5th Wheel Training Institute Team

If you’re looking for a new job, or about to leave school and you’re considering your options, operating heavy equipment could be the right choice.  Heavy equipment operators are in high demand, the job pays well, and it allows you to use some of the most awesome machinery ever built.

Now, step one in the process will be attending a heavy equipment operator training school to get the hands-on training you need to qualify.  However, you’ll still need to do job interviews.  What are employers looking for? Here are some of the things they’ll want.

What Heavy Equipment Employers Want In An Operator

1 – Licensing and certifications

Obviously, you should hold proper licenses for whatever machinery you want to operate. Keep in mind, that these are typically vehicle specific.  A crane operator can’t just jump in a dump truck and keep going.  You’ll need to pick up certifications for every type of machinery you want to operate and be able to produce those credentials on demand.

Consider picking up a few different certifications. Being able to operate multiple types of vehicles will make you more attractive to employers than if you specialize in a single machine.

2 – Education

Typically, a high school degree is not required to get a heavy equipment operator’s job, but it is required to take the training to become certified. That said, it will look good if you do have at least an HS degree or GED. You might also consider taking some business and management classes at a two-year school if you think you’d be interested in construction management as a long-term career.  The best site managers are typically those who spent time doing the work themselves.

3 – Experience

Companies will be willing to hire a new recruit with minimal experience as labourers to start, but of course, more experience is always better when it comes to equipment.  That’s why it’s best to attend a heavy equipment operator training school that has its own training grounds and simulated work sites.  That will give you real hands-on introductions to the equipment you can talk about in interviews.  Always be clear you are an entry-level operator though, never tell a foreman how good you are, let them know you are an entry-level operator and willing to learn and get better as you go.

Then, as your experience grows, so will your paychecks.

4 – Maintenance First

There is nothing cheap about owning and maintaining heavy equipment.  Make sure your training includes everything you need to know to keep a piece of equipment operating in top condition.  When you first start work on a construction site, you might be handed a shovel or a rake.  That’s ok ,usually the foreman wants to see how you work with your coworkers and how you treat his $25.00 shovel before he turns you loose on his $250,000.00 shovel.

5 – Safety focus

Heavy machinery can be extremely dangerous, and employers will want to know you take safety seriously. Be fully up to date on best safety practices for the machine(s) you want to operate and be able to completely explain how those practices are implemented on the job.

5th Wheel Training Institute is one of Ontario’s premiere heavy vehicle operator training schools. We have a long history of successful students and close ties to both the shipping and construction industries in North America. Click here to learn more!

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