What to Look for in the Best Heavy Equipment Operator Schools
Now that you’ve decided you’re going to become a heavy equipment operator, you’ll want to start looking for a school to help you achieve your goals. But choosing a school can be tricky—how do you start?
Here are five tips for finding the best heavy equipment operator school that fits your lifestyle and plans:
1. Know Yourself
Are you interested in living at home and commuting to your school, or are you interested in finding a school outside of your local area? Do you do well with lots of classroom time, or do you need a school with more hands-on focus?
Ideally, you should find a school that matches your learning style so that you get the best education in a place that you’ll be excited about. If there isn’t a program near your home, look for a school like West Coast Training that offers assistance with accommodations if you need to travel.
2. Check Out Programs
Each school you investigate will be a little bit different, so make sure to look over what the programs offer. You should also take a few minutes to think about what type of projects you would like to be involved in. Are you interested in pipelining, mining, damming, construction, something else? What types of machines do you see yourself operating—bulldozers, backhoes, road graders, cranes? Make sure to ask the schools you consider what programs they have for these machines and career paths.
3. Apprenticeship Opportunities
Instead of the classroom track, there’s also the apprenticeship track, which would place you with a mentor to teach you the trade and skills of operating heavy machinery. As an apprentice, you might work for three or four years to become a journeyman operator, and you may require the sponsorship of an employer. As a journeyman, you are still considered an apprentice but will have less supervision since you’ve learned the basics. This might be a good alternative to straight classroom time if you learn better with hands-on operation.
The best heavy equipment operator schools, such as West Coast Training, offer courses with both hands-on training and classroom learning so you can get the most comprehensive training available. This can set you up for excellent job opportunities in the future.
4. Read the Fine Print
Some heavy operator training programs only require a high school diploma or GED, but others may require you to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Make sure you take note of what prerequisites there are before applying.
5. Know Where to Look
The internet has all kinds of websites with resources on where to look for heavy operator training schools. For instance, you can look at trade unions for their contacts and resources, such as the International Union of Operating Engineers. Maybe you know of a local employer who would be willing to sponsor you or has a connection at a local trade school. You can also find schools online with a search engine or visit a trade show expo in your area.
You should also consider studying at West Coast Training. Becoming a student at West Coast Training is a snap. We aim to make our training available to anyone who is a good fit for careers that require heavy equipment operation. We offer financial assistance and post-graduation assistance as well. Contact our admissions team today to see how we can help you achieve your career goals.