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5 Tips for Becoming a Heavy Equipment Operator

Blog, Heavy Equipment School

So, you’re thinking about becoming a heavy equipment operator? Do you know what you’re getting into, and if so, are you up for the task at hand? If not, don’t worry. We’ll bring you up to speed. West Coast Training has been helping students learn the skills necessary to succeed as heavy equipment operators for more than six decades. We’ve earned a reputation for ourselves, and we want to do the same for you. So here are our top five tips to get you on your way to becoming a heavy equipment operator.

Make Sure It’s the Right Job for You

Working in the construction industry as a heavy equipment operator is a great job with excellent earning potential, but it’s not for everyone. There are, quite literally, a lot of moving parts. So the first step in the process is finding out if it’s the right job for you. While it can be a rewarding position, it certainly isn’t an easy one.

For starters, heavy equipment operators work in all sorts of weather conditions. From working underneath the scorching hot sun in the heat of summer to being in frigid temperatures in the dead of winter, you’ll have to deal with weather extremes. There’s also the nature of the work, which can sometimes be quite dangerous. Strong communication skills and adherence to all safety standards are key components of the position as well.

We recommend that you do thorough research before embarking on a career in this field. Talk to people who already work in the industry to gain insight into what you can expect from the position. We also recommend you take our career readiness quiz. This will help you complete the first step in deciding if this is the right career path for you. The best part is that it only takes a few minutes to complete it.

At West Coast Training, we want to prep people for their future careers, not simply sign them up for a course. That’s why before you even step foot in our door, we make every effort to help confirm you’re making the right decision.

Decide What Will Be Your Area of Expertise

You’ve taken our quiz and determined that this is the right field for you. Now what? The next step is narrowing your area of expertise. There are many types of positions available, so you’ll want to decide what your primary focus will be.

At West Coast Training, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why we offer multiple courses based on our students’ chosen area of focus. That means you’ll be able to home in on and really develop an area of specialty.

In addition to our heavy equipment operator training course, we also offer an eight-week crane/operator rigger training course and a four-week mobile crane training course. Once again, our career readiness quiz will help you figure out what position is the right one for you.

Choose the Right Training Program

One of the best things you can do on your way to becoming a heavy equipment operator is choosing the right training program. A training course is an investment in your career, and it should be the right one.

West Coast Training offers its students a mix of classroom instruction combined with practical hands-on field experience. In fact, you’ll receive five hours of field instruction Monday through Thursday, with Fridays being devoted to a full day in the field. Unlike other training programs, we keep our training class size relatively small. In fact, our classes are capped at 12 students so that you’re guaranteed individual time with each piece of heavy equipment.

Our dedication to personal attention is yet another aspect of our training program that sets us apart from the competition.

Clear Your Schedule and Pay Attention

We offer a rigorous training program designed to help you fully prepare for your future career. Because our program is a full-time endeavor, we recommend you clear your schedule so you can devote the time necessary to your studies.

We also recommend you come to class fully prepared. Since you’ll be learning safety tips and procedures inherent to the job, the course will require your full focus. You’ll need to remain committed to the program just as you’ll have to be fully committed to your job once you graduate from our program.
Training to become a heavy equipment operator is a long, involved process. You should be prepared to devote a minimum of 10 hours a day, or 50 hours a week, to your course work. We’re confident that, in due time, your hard work will pay off.

Make the Right Connections

Ultimately, the key to making your way in the industry is making the right connections. All of our courses are taught by certified, experienced instructors. Many of them have decades of experience, and they’re eager to impart their wisdom to the next generation of heavy equipment operators. To learn more about our qualified staff, take a look at West Coast Training’s website.

Our commitment to preparing you for becoming a heavy equipment operator doesn’t end when you leave our classroom. Our program includes graduate employment services. We’ll help you update your professional resume and assist you in developing a personalized plan for job hunting. Because of our post-graduation assistance, many of our students are able to seamlessly transition from school to full-time employment.

Labor statistics show opportunities for construction equipment operators are projected to grow at a faster than average rate. It’s a promising career path, and following these steps will help set you up for success. If you have any other questions, give us a call. We want to make sure you have all the necessary tools to carve out a successful career for yourself in this exciting field.