How Can I Learn to Be a Construction Machine Operator?

Heavy Equipment School


Are you looking to start a new career where you can work outdoors, feel accomplished, and drive big machines? Do you want a job where your skill set will constantly be in demand, that pays well and gives you satisfaction? Then you’d probably love to be a construction machine operator. However, starting a career in this industry is not as easy as declaring yourself one. You’re going to need training and experience. Read on below to find out what steps will lead you toward becoming a construction machine operator.

Find a Heavy Equipment Operator Education Program

Typically, the base education requirement for this career is a high school diploma. And in some cases, people may have been hired on the fly, with little to no experience. But getting some more education will prepare you better for the day-to-day demands of this career and likely help you get more jobs. Plus, it will ensure you stay safe.

You can check out some courses or programs available at a vocational school. These prepare you both for the job and for the tests you need to pass in order to receive certification or credentials. A high school diploma may be a requirement for getting into these programs. But in general, entrance requirements can depend on individual programs.

If you’re hesitant because you don’t want to spend years or even months in a course, don’t worry. Many programs can be completed in a matter of weeks. At West Coast Training, our course is eight weeks long.

One incredibly important thing to note is that you must make sure the program you enroll in is accredited. West Coast Training is accredited by the National Center for Construction Education & Research (or NCCER), sponsored by the Construction Industry Training Council of Washington (CITC). And you will be taught by NCCER-Certified Craft Instructors to ensure you get the best education possible.

Get an Even Mix of Classroom and Hands-On Training

In order to best learn how to be a construction machine operator, you will want to enroll in a course that offers a mix of classroom and in-field training. Just having one or the other won’t properly prepare you for a career as a construction machine operator. At West Coast Training, time is evenly spent in the classroom and the field from Monday through Thursday. Also, students spend all day Friday learning hands-on in the field.

In the classroom, you learn safety, basic civil engineering, project layout, surveying, and more. In the field, your experience ensures you operate each machine in the safest and most effective way possible. Safety is extremely important for a career in this industry, as construction machines can be hazardous, and especially so when you aren’t trained to use them responsibly.

The program runs 10 hours a day, Monday through Friday, for 8 weeks, giving you 400 hours total of training. So you’ll be very knowledgeable by the time you get out into the workforce. And each of our classes has only 12 students, so you can be sure you’ll get the amount of personal attention you need to learn effectively.

Get Experience with a Variety of Equipment

You don’t just want to be an expert on one type of construction machinery and not know anything about the others. Many jobs use a variety of different heavy equipment. So look for a more well-rounded education program. Then, once you are a construction machine operator, you are likely to get hired for more jobs. At West Coast Training, students get experience with a wide range of equipment, including backhoes, dozers, loaders, excavators, scrapers, and much more. And the small class sizes also mean you’ll get plenty of time with each of the machines.

Learn Related Duties

A career in construction will not just involve operating the machinery. There are also tasks that will be part of most, if not all, projects. West Coast Training also teaches students about these tasks, which include basic surveying, flagging, site preparation, preventative maintenance, and more.

Licenses and Certifications

Different states, and sometimes different local jurisdictions, may have different requirements for licenses and certifications. Different employers also may have their own requirements. But these certifications aren’t just a checkmark to potential employers. It’s a sign that you’re fully knowledgeable about and qualified to use the machines and can produce good work safely. West Coast Training will prepare students to get the necessary NCCER credentials.

Interested in specifically becoming a crane operator? West Coast Training also has courses and seminars to prepare you for the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) exam. Passing this exam gives employers confidence that there will be fewer accidents and better-quality work if they hire you as a crane operator.

Learn How to Land a Job as a Construction Machine Operator

Once you complete the course, you’ll have the experience, certification, knowledge, and confidence to do great work. However, this is not all it takes in order to get a job in the first place. That’s why West Coast Training goes above and beyond to also supply employment services for our students. You learn how to best conduct an interview and how to search for jobs effectively, and you graduate with a polished resume. We also look out for job listings for our graduates. And we provide these services for life even after you graduate. You never know when you might need a brush up on your skills.

Now that you know what it takes, you can start the journey toward becoming a construction machine operator. Once you complete this training, you’ll be set for success in the industry. You can find more about West Coast Training on our website. There, you can also find information about housing, financial assistance, and the application process. If you still aren’t sure whether being a construction machine operator, you can even take a quiz to find out on our website.