What Credentials Do I Need to Be a Construction Equipment Operator?
If you want to become a construction equipment operator, you can’t just wander onto a jobsite and ask for a job. Well, you could, but you wouldn’t get very far. When your day-to-day involves working with heavy machinery, you need to prove you know how to safely operate it. Luckily, the path forward for you is clear. Here’s what you need to know about construction equipment credentials.
Heavy Equipment Education
Before you can become a construction equipment operator, you need to learn the fundamentals of the job. That doesn’t just mean doing some cursory googling and watching a few videos. You need hands-on training from a professional. The National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) sets the standard for training, overseeing the curriculum taught to individuals looking to get started working as a construction equipment operator. They offer a tiered group of classes, beginning with the Core Curriculum and continuing onward to Heavy Equipment Operator Levels 1, 2, and 3. On completing a class from the NCCER, you will earn professional credentials to prove your knowledge and competency.
In West Coast Training’s Heavy Equipment Operator program, you will work your way from the Core Curriculum all the way to Heavy Equipment Operator Level 3 over the course of an 8-week intensive. Through the course of the class, you’ll learn the ins and outs of all the duties you’ll be responsible for, including site preparation, flagging, grade checking, as well as preventive equipment maintenance. In addition, you’ll learn the basics of survey work. This certification program will prepare you for working with backhoes, excavators, loaders, and many more pieces of equipment you may end up using.
Crane Training and Certifications
If you’re interested in operating a crane, unfortunately, an NCCER certification won’t be enough. Cranes are their own kind of beast, and any construction equipment operator who wishes to work with one needs to earn certifications from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). Much like the NCCER, the NCCCO is a nonprofit organization that seeks to ensure anyone working with a crane is held to the highest standard. By earning certification from them, you can demonstrate to any future employers your commitment to your craft and safety.
NCCCO certifications can cover a wide variety of cranes. In our Crane Operator and Rigger program, you can earn nine certifications. Our students learn how to competently use hammerhead, luffing-jib, and self-erecting tower cranes, as well as hydraulic boom mobile cranes and lattice boom mobile cranes. The more certifications you can get under your belt, the wider the job market will be for you. In addition, since jobs may need you to hop between different equipment, having a wide variety of certifications will make you an appealing construction equipment operator to prospective employers.
Whatever kind of machinery you want to work with, the first step is education. We’re here to help walk you through your options and to get you on the path to the credentials and certifications you need.