Are you someone who is planning to start a new career as a heavy equipment operator? Well, you are in the right direction. This job is going to be in demand in the next coming years that means you would not be running out of opportunities as talents like you will be desired in the construction industry in the beautiful state of New Jersey.
Being a certified operator takes some planning and because you will be manning expensive pieces of machinery and you will be working in a hazardous environment, being educated and trained to handle these machines is a top priority. You will start by taking a heavy equipment training course.
In this article, we will be laying out what you need to do and posses in order to start your journey. Again, just I have said, it takes some planning and preparation so that you would not get confused about what to do.
Requirements You Need to be a Heavy Equipment Operator
- To be an operator, you will need a high school diploma or a GED certificate as its equivalent. The hiring manager will require it from you during job application.
- You need to be at the age of 18 years old and above.
- Since the nature of the job is physically demanding, you need to be at optimum health and physical condition. The employer may require you to undergo a DOT physical test. You can click here how to apply.
- You will need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Technical, a CDL is not required to take heavy equipment training but you will be at the better position if you have a CDL since most employers prefer those job candidates to have such credential. With CDL, operators can drive trailer trucks to transport equipment and other vehicles from and to the job site.
- Earn the licensure and certification. You will need an NCCER certification if you want to work in the construction industry. If you want to be a crane operator, NCCCO certification is the one you need. Obtaining a certification involves passing the written and practical exams.
- A valid driver’s license and reliable transportation.
Steps to Take to Complete the Heavy Equipment Training
- Think if being a heavy equipment operator is the job you want to do. Understand the nature of the work and operator description. This will help you decide if this job is in line with your strength and abilities. Here’s a job description of an operator to read.
- Complete the requirements. Knowing what the requirements are will not make you confused. The list of basic requirements are above.
- Take a training course in heavy equipment operation. You can attend school to take the course. The list of vocational training schools in this state is below for your reference. Completing the course will enable you to earn a training certificate and will prepare you to pass the NCCER certification exam – the certification you need to become a professional heavy equipment operator.
- Obtain the NCCER or NCCCO certification. If you want to work in the construction, you need an NCCER certification, if you want to work as a crane operator, you will need an NCCCO certification. To earn this, you need to pass the written test and practical training exam in the use of the machine you want to be certified on.
Ways to Become an Operator
To start the journey, you can either go to a school to take a heavy equipment training course or be complete an apprentice.
Most operators I know started as an entry level. They start by attending a school. It is a much shorter approach since the course usually takes several weeks to complete. If you want to take this route and you want to enroll, the list of vocation training schools in New Jersey is below. Contact them and inquire about your requirements. School tuition could burn a hole in your pocket, it ranges from $5,000 up to $11,000.
Taking an apprenticeship program usually provides by a private company or by a union is another option you can go through to acquire the skills you need. In the state of New Jersey, you can contact the IUOE Local 825, their address and contact info are below if you want to be an apprentice by a union. As an apprentice, you will work under the supervision of a qualified operating engineer. Apprenticeship program usually takes 3-4 years to complete and it is a great way to earn a living while gaining the experience. As an apprentice, you will be paid as an entry-level operator. Just keep your eyes open about the apprenticeship opening in the union. They may open their application anytime.
What a good heavy equipment operator does is not about running a piece of equipment, being an operator means operating every piece of equipment. This is what you need you need to stay on the job. So focus, spend time and effort.
Heavy Equipment Training Schools in New Jersey
- International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825
New Jersey Training Center
338 Deans Rhode Hall Road, Dayton NJ 08810
(732) 798-2170; (732) 798-2175 FAX
- Hunterdon County Polytech Career and Technical School
8 Bartles Corner Road, Flemington, NJ 08822
Phone: (908) 788-1119 x2006; Fax: (908) 284-1391
10 Junction Rd., Flemington, NJ 08822
Phone: (908) 284-1444 x2101; Fax: (908) 284-9824
37 Hoffmans Crossing Road, Califon, NJ 07830
Phone: (908) 246-3488; Fax: (908) 284-1391
- Medical Construction Industrial Training Center
207 Bogden Blvd Suite I Box I, Millville, NJ 08332
Phone: 856-825-6655Fax: 856-825-3336Cell: 856-285-4467
- MCITC Training Center
207 Bogden Blvd Suite 1, Millville, Cumberland County, New Jersey 08332
What Does the Training Course Cover?
The heavy equipment training program is designed to supply the trainees with hands-on exercises in the use of various types of heavy equipment. As a student, you will have an opportunity to operate equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, excavators and other types of construction machinery.
The hands-on training together with the classroom instructions will be given in accordance with the curricula of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) – one of the certifying bodies. NCCER certificate is what you need to be recognized by the industry employers. If you have this certification, you are at the better position of getting the employer’s thumbs up and be given a competitive salary.
The hands-on training covers many aspects. You’ll start learning the basic safety and orientation to the job, basic operation, identification of the right equipment for the work, fundamentals of earth moving and grades, interpreting drawings, site work, and as you advance, you will operate larger types of machinery such as dump trucks, loaders, backhoes, all-terrain forklifts, skid steers, etc. As a student, you will spend most of the time doing the in-the-seat operation.
The second component of the course is classroom instruction. The classroom training is aimed at providing the students with the theoretical knowledge and fundamentals skills. At the classroom, you will get familiarized with the current government regulations, OSHA rules and regulations, safety tips, equipment inspection and maintenance, and other topics that may be deemed required.
All of the time you’ll spend both inside the classroom and in the field is the preparation to pass the NCCER certification. You are more job marketable if you have such certification.
How Much and How Long Does It Take to Complete the Course
The tuition for a heavy equipment training program offered by a school is not cheap. It cost a lot of money. A typical program cost usually ranges from $6,000 - $10,000. A serious amount especially if you don’t have the cash to pay for the tuition. There are several ways you can pay, you can either apply for a sponsorship, if the school provides such, or you can apply for a student loan.
When you attend a school, training is being held 8-10 hours per day that’s approximately 40-50 per week over the span of 12 weeks for a total of 500 to 600 hours of comprehensive classroom and in the field exercises. You will have the competence to operate on each piece of equipment and you will get exposure to operate major pieces of heavy equipment that you would most likely be used in the real-job scenario. On the other hand, if you go through an apprenticeship training, completing such a program takes about 3-4 years to complete. Again, if you want to take this route, you can contact the IUOE Local 825 if they presently accept applications.
Average Salary of Heavy Equipment Operators Working in NJ
New Jersey is a great place to work as a heavy equipment operator. It offers the highest salary among other states. The average salary is $70,999 as of March 31, 2019, but the salary you can make ranges from 59,359 and $80,555. This is an insane amount. You can easily pay for school tuition.
If you will work in Pennsylvania, the wage you could make is way lower.
The factors that affect how much you can make is the license and certification you have, the length of experience you’re doing the job and location where you are working.
It is common nature to strive for a job that has a high salary and be better in life. If you are well educated and experienced operator, you can easily land and be given competitive pay. A good pay satisfies the basic needs. When choosing a career you should be cautious but if being an operator is in your in blood, getting a job in this industry would not be hard as the industry continues to grow and will demand talented individuals like you.
To Wrap a Finalization
Getting the education and experience starts with completing a heavy equipment training. If you are in the state of New Jersey, you can locate a school where you want to attend the training. They’re above, for your reference. It only takes a maximum of 12 weeks to complete such course although the tuition may cost a lot you can easily recuperate your investment since the salary you can make when working in this state is very competitive.
Take time and spend some time to attend school, your dream starts from there. We wish you good luck on your journey to be a heavy equipment operator.
If You Need Any Questions, You May Contact These Authorities:
- Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Office of Safety Compliance
1 John Fitch Plaza, P.O. Box 386, Trenton, NJ 08625-0386
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
1030 St. Georges Avenue, Plaza 35, Suite 205, Avenel, New Jersey 07001
(732) 750-3270; (732) 750-4737 FAX
500 Route 17 South, 2nd Floor, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey 07604
(201) 288-1700; (201) 288-7315 FAX
Cities and Towns of NJ
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