What To Expect from Heavy Equipment Operator Training and Your New Career

150 150 5th Wheel Training Institute Team

Are you going to graduate from high school soon, and pondering your career possibilities? Or are you tired of being cooped up in an office all day, and want a job that’s more hands-on and exciting? In either case, attending heavy equipment operator training school could be your path to a great new career that could last the rest of your life.

However, being a heavy equipment operator isn’t for everyone, and we want you to be prepared for the realities. At 5th Wheel Training Institute, we focus on hiring experienced professionals as faculty, specifically so you can get trained based on real-world situations. This includes making sure you’re a good fit for the job.

So, in this article, we wanted to talk about expectations in a heavy equipment training school, as well as what the reality of the job market will look like. If you like what you read, you could become our next successful graduate!

  1. Why Consider Heavy Equipment Operation?

With so many potential careers, why work on heavy equipment?

From a financial perspective, you’ll be in an excellent situation. Growth in construction and municipal work is booming, growing faster than most other industries. This means there’s near-constant demand for operators of vehicles of all types. Pay is good too and is more than enough to support a family once you’ve got a few years of experience.

Also, it’s fun and exciting, for the right people. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the outdoors, and you’ll be working with some of the most amazing machines ever invented. For many heavy machine operators, half the appeal is in the machines they get to work with.

Plus, there’s no shortage of different machines, so you have plenty of opportunities for career growth. You can pick up new certifications on new vehicles as you go, constantly expanding your skill set.

  1. What Is Heavy Equipment Operators Training Like?

The best heavy equipment training schools have dedicated facilities outside the major cities. This is important because that allows them to have enough room for hands-on operation experience, in simulated job sites. This is the sort of practical training that will make you far more appealing to employers.

However, these schools typically expect you to live on-campus, unless you just happen to be within close driving distance. And training will be a ‘full-time job.’ You’ll need to have your affairs in order and be able to support yourself for at least a few weeks, up to a few months, as you earn your licenses and certifications.

This is difficult, but it produces the best and safest machine operators. Remember, once you’ve got several tons of machine underneath you, you’ll be responsible for the safety of the job site and the people around you. Top-tier training is a must!

Likewise, you will be expected to dedicate yourself to the work. There is relatively little downtime, with classes typically taking 8+ hours a day, at least five days a week. Again, not everyone is ready for the intensity of this training.

However, if you persevere, you’ll be in a great position to pick up jobs. The very best heavy equipment schools are recognized by the industry, and merely graduating from one will be a plus on your applications. Industry employers may even recruit new grads straight out of the top schools, cutting down on the time it takes to find a job.

III. The Reality of Heavy Equipment Operation

So, what should you know about the job itself?

First, there will be significant physical requirements. You won’t be spending all your time in the cab, pulling levers. You’ll also be expected to haul materials around, as well as being familiar with other jobs associated with the machine you’re working. For example, a good crane operator is also going to know crane rigging and be able to help out with preparing loads for a lift.

Plus, nearly all this work is outdoors, and you shouldn’t assume every machine you work will have an air-conditioned cab. A high tolerance for heat is a must!

Also, along with the physical requirements, a top-heavy machine operator must also be detail-oriented and a strong communicator. You’ll almost always be working as part of a team and, again, this is work which can be extremely dangerous. Staying in contact with your handler/overseer and maintaining awareness of the job site at all times is a must. Sloppy work can literally kill people, and you have to be safety-minded.

The other thing to be aware of is that your job opportunities will wax and wane over the course of a year. Don’t assume you’ll be a full-time employee of a major construction company, at least not at first. You’ll probably spend a lot of time doing gigs and jobs as opportunity arises.

This can be an issue in the winter when construction work is at its lowest due to the weather. it’s a very good idea to pick up some certifications on municipal vehicles because of this. Many construction workers switch over to driving city machines like snowplows and street salters in the winter, to help ensure year-round employment

Steady work can happen, but you’ll need to put in real effort to get to that point.

5th Wheel Training Institute Is Here to Kickstart Your New Career

If you’ve read everything above and think that you’ll be a good fit for heavy equipment operator school, there’s no time to get started like the present!

5WTI is one of the top truck driving and heavy machine operation schools in Ontario, with dedicated training facilities, and an absolutely stellar reputation among employers. We’re one of their first choices when they’re looking to recruit new graduates, and we also offer extensive employment assistance to all our graduates. Our industry connections are second to none, and we’re always here to help you find more work.

We’re running classes year-round, so there’s no reason to wait. Click here to learn more about us!

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