To become a heavy equipment operator, you usually need at least a high school diploma and, in some states, a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The price of a CDL is between $ 50 and $ 200. In addition, some states may require a certificate from a state-approved training program. Each state has its requirements.

Training Schools

You can expect to pay between $ 4,000 and $ 15,000 for three to fifteen weeks of training. Check school reviews at Better Business Bureau ( Make sure your local employers hire graduates at the school of your choice.

OJT – On the Job Training

Some companies may provide on-the-job training (OJT). First, however, they can apply for a commercial driving license so that the worker can drive and operate the vehicle. Trainees often start by learning how to operate small equipment under the supervision of experienced heavy equipment operators.


With an apprenticeship, you can make money and learn heavy equipment. The salary usually is $ 14 to $ 18, but in 3-4 years, there are so many valuable skills and experiences that are still valuable. There are unions and state apprenticeships available. Community colleges, technical schools, and industry associations can also help you find a place for the apprenticeship.

become a heavy equipment operator
Photo credit to Vancouver Island University

Where to find jobs? has thousands of ads for heavy equipment operators. In addition, the International Union of Operations Engineers offers training programs throughout the United States and Canada. can help you find schools and tutorials. Check local unions.

Essential Qualities That an Operator Must Have

You can be a good operator of heavy equipment. The essential requirement is the ability to operate and repair machines. However, there are many other qualities that you must acquire to master the job. For example, patience is not commonly mentioned in the list of virtues but is more important than external love. Strength is another essential trait. You should be prepared to quit your job if you have security issues, even if there are time pressures. Other features include careful attention to detail, planning skills, and a love of dust and dirt. Or at least a high tolerance for pollution.

You can find a well-paid job as a heavy equipment operator. You can start with a high school diploma and some training. It’s a dirty job, and there are risks. Still, focusing on safety, patience, and great attention to detail can be a personally and financially enriching profession.

Source: EquipmentAndContracting