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life of a heavy equipment operator

The Life of Heavy Equipment Operator is Full of Opportunities

Heavy equipment operators continue to fill a needed and desired role in the workforce. Nearly every construction project — from bridges to power plants to homes and airports and everything in between — relies on the skilled labor and expertise of the heavy equipment operator to get the project up and running. Is the life of a heavy equipment operator right for you?

The life of a heavy equipment operator is one where the demand for your services is expected to remain high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that jobs for heavy equipment operators would grow by 10 percent between 2018 and 2028. That rate is double the average rate compared to all other occupations.

Build Your Future (BYF), an organization established by NCCER, hopes to push that number higher. BYF anticipates heavy equipment operators will be one of the five construction craft jobs in the highest demand, with a need for more than 600,000 heavy equipment operators across the United States through 2022.

How to Build a Base for a New Future

Heavy equipment operators maneuver heavy machinery safely, ensure the proper maintenance of their machinery, as well as display aptitude for following blueprints and calculating appropriate loads. Heavy equipment operators use bulldozers, cranes, excavators and other machinery to transport and/or move earth and materials, install construction materials, and lay down roadbeds.

Heavy equipment operators should have good hand-eye (and foot) coordination, be proficient in the safe operation of various equipment, possess good reaction time and stamina, and be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma.

Beyond those base requirements, heavy equipment operators will also need training on the use of the equipment, instruction on the safety protocols used on a job site, and will need to be credentialed and/or certified. Both the NCCER and the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) offer credentials and/or certification once the requisite instruction (with an accredited institution such as PTS) is completed.


What to Expect with the Life of a Heavy Equipment Operator

There are many options to pursue as a heavy equipment operator. One can choose to follow the work by following construction and road building trends, or you can choose a more individualized path with work in the mining industry. You can even become self-employed.

Heavy equipment operators can specialize in one particular piece of equipment, or be a general operator with knowledge of a wide range of machines. Operators will also be working outdoors on virtually every job site and will have the ability to find potential employment anywhere in the country and in many places around the world.

Heavy equipment operators can also expect pay comparable to or higher than their college-degree-holding peers when first entering the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median pay for heavy equipment operators at $48,160 ($23.16/hour) as of May 2019. In a 2018 survey published by NCCER, the average annual salary as reported by respondents was $60,828.

Unlock Your Future with Performance Training Solutions

At Performance Training Solutions, we offer hands-on training and education to get you started on your life as a heavy equipment operator.

Our Heavy Equipment Operator 1 course​ will provide the necessary knowledge and skills needed in order to obtain employment in the construction industry as a skid steer, wheel loader, compactor, backhoe, or articulated off-road dump truck operator. Participants in the three-week, 120-hour course will also receive an introduction to earthmoving, soils, heavy equipment safety, and basic operational techniques.

Once complete, individuals can then elect to take part in Performance Training Solutions’ Heavy Equipment Operator 2 course. Like the entry-level course, this course will also consist of three weeks of instruction. Completing Heavy Equipment Operator 1 is a prerequisite to taking HE Operator 2. During this second course, students will learn to work with bulldozers, excavators, scrapers, and motor graders in addition to instruction on excavation math, finishing, and grading.

In addition to the two heavy equipment courses, Performance Training Solutions also offers a Mobile Crane Operations Course. This three-week, 120-hour program will provide you with the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to gain entry-level employment as an NCCCO certified crane operator.

Get Started On the Path to a New Career with PTS

Performance Training Solutions is a heavy equipment operator school located in Columbus, Ohio. As one of the top training schools in the country, we assist those who wish to pursue a life as a heavy equipment operator or crane operator. Our team of experienced trainers, admissions personnel, and career representatives are committed to helping our students succeed — as evidenced by our 90 percent placement rate for course graduates.

If you’re interested in taking one of our Heavy Equipment Operator courses or exploring any of the other opportunities we have to offer, here’s what you can expect.

If you’d like to learn more about Performance Training Solutions and the potential life of a heavy equipment operator, feel free to contact us today. And don’t forget to ask us how you can earn $500 off your tuition by scheduling a tour!

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