Heavy Equipment Operator School in MinnesotaIf you have a passion to operate equipment such as backhoes, bulldozers, loaders, dump trucks and other machinery, then you can be a heavy equipment operator.

Being a heavy equipment operator is a fruitful and rewarding occupation. In Minnesota, an operator can make as much as $60,000 annually, but of course, other factors affect how much you can receive. It is one of the states in the U.S that compensate well.

And before you can get into it, you need professional training. You can take the course by joining a heavy equipment operator school in Minnesota.

If you searching for one, here are the schools you can find in this state:



Summit Academy OIC
935 Olson Memorial Hwy, Minneapolis, MN 55405,
infor@ saoic.org, Phone: 651-698-4006

Operating Engineer Training Center (Local 49 Training Center)
40276 Fishtail Road, Hinckley, Minnesota,
Phone: 320-384-7093, Toll-Free: 866-494-8634; Fax: 320-384-6537

Central Lakes College
Brainerd Campus - 501 West College Drive, Brainerd, MN 56401, Phone: (218) 855-8000 or 800-933-0346, Fax: 218-855-8220
Staples Campus - 1830 Airport Road, Staples, MN 56479, Phone (218) 894-5100 or 800-247-6836, Fax: 218-894-5185

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
30 7th Street East, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101-7804
Toll-free: 800-456-8519

Project Build MN
1123 Glenwood Avenue Suite #200, Minneapolis MN, 55405
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Phone: (612) 221-9849

How to Pick the Right Heavy Equipment Operator School to Enroll In

The school tuition is expensive; it may cost around $10,000 to take the course. You would not want to make the mistake of enrolling in a bad school. What to look for when choosing a heavy equipment operator school in Minnesota? Here are the criteria you can follow:

  • What the training facilities are like – find out what the school can provide you; you may ask them if you could visit their facilities; ask about the varieties of equipment they use in the training. Are the training facilities and equipment modern and maintained?

  • Who are the training instructors - You can ask the credential and qualifications of the instructor, their experience in delivering such courses, and are certified to do such training.

  • Is the school getting a lot of complaints or criticism? – you may ask your colleagues and friends for feedback about the school.

  • The number of students per class – you would not want to enroll in a class that is crowded with students. The ideal number of students per class would be 10 to 12. If the class has a lot of students, you would not receive as much attention, your education will suffer.

  • Offers job placement – many graduates get jobs through the school’s recommendation. If you can enroll at the school that offers job placement, it would be easier for you to find a job.

  • Offers financing option and accepts grant – we all know that attending the heavy equipment training is costly. The burden of paying the school tuition is heavy for especially if you don’t have the upfront cash to pay the tuition. If you can find an operator school that has versatile financing options to ease the burden, it would be beneficial. Likewise, if you are qualified for a grant, you may opt to enroll that accepts such funding.

  • Find an operator school that is nearest to you – so that you would have to worry about travel time and to save some transportation cost.



How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator in this State

  1. Complete the requirements – there are some prerequisites you have to obtain in order for you to get accepted into the training. The minimum requirements are you need to be at least 18 years old; be physically fit and in good health condition, and complete high school or in possession of a GED certificate as proof of your education.

  2. Enroll in a heavy equipment operator training course - You can register for a course at the school, the list of schools in Minnesota has stated above, for you to pick one. The school will prepare you to pass the exams in order for you to obtain a certification which is required to get a job as an operator.

  3. Aside from the classroom training, you will also take the in-the-seat training to make sure you are exposed to the actual operation and working environment. This is to ensure you earn the skills and competency required to operate various numbers of heavy equipment.

  4. Taking the certification tests – all that you’ve learned inside the classroom and in the field are you prepared to take the certification exams. The certification you need to attain is the NCCER certification. Having such certification will enable you to work in the construction industry where you can receive better pay.

  5. You can broaden your knowledge by taking an apprenticeship program – such program can be taken in International Union of Operating Engineers, in Minnesota, the Local 49 offered such program. It is an opportunity for you to earn while learning the skills. For more information on how to be an apprentice, you can follow this link.



Taking the Heavy Equipment Apprenticeship Program

The average duration of heavy equipment apprenticeship courses is three to four years. You will gain experience by working with skilled operators in the actual workplace and in the classroom.

As a novice, you will start operating small and light equipment under the supervision of the instructor. As you go along learning the skills, you will begin to operate larger and heavier equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, and other construction machinery.

Since, as an apprentice, you are capable to operate a wide variety of heavy equipment, you usually have better chances of landing a high-paying job.

If you would like to be an apprentice, the IUOE Local 49 accepts applicants, you may ask them about the training schedule at this phone number 320-384-7093.

The program stretches for 3,000 hours of practical training, which is approximately three years to complete; that doesn’t include classroom instructions that would take 288 hours to finish.

If you are interested to apply for the program and would like to know the requirements you need to have/attain, browse through this page.

After you’ve completed the apprenticeship program, you can take supplemental certification related to the job for skill advancement to make you more employable. The skill advancement will also help you to get a job promotion.



Salary of Heavy Equipment Operators Working in Minnesota

According to the latest March 28, 2023 report of Salary.com, if you will work in this state, the average pay you would get is $71,665on average per year. Here are the cities, and towns of Minnesota that pay well:


Adams $69,599 Janesville $71,802
Albert Lea $69,599 Isanti $72,764
Alden $69,599 Kilkenny $74,005
Alborn $66,446 La Salle $74,005
Amboy $71,802 Lafayette $74,005
Babbit $66,446 Le Center $74,005
Bethel $73,074 Lindstrom $74,005
Big Lake $69,614 Long Lake $74,468
Blooming Prairie $69,599 Lonsdale $74,005
Blue Earth $69,599 Loretto $74,300
Braham $70,282 Madelia $74,005
Bricelyn $69,599 Madison Lake $71,802
Brook Park $70,282 Mankato $74,005
Brookston $66,446 Maple Plain $74,257
Brownsdale $69,599 Mapleton $71,802
Buffalo $70,086 Mayer $73,296
Burnsville $74,426 Mendota $74,636
Butterfield $67,921 Minneapolis $74,636
Chaska $74,257 New Auburn $74,005
Cleveland $74,005 Northrop $65,718
Cologne $74,005 Norwood $74,005
Dayton $74,343 Prior Lake $74,257
Delano $71,877 Rock Creek $74,005
Dennison $71,131 Rockford $73,445
Gaylord $74,005 Silver Lake $69,944
Grandy $74,005 Stanchfield $70,282
Grasston $70,282 Stewart $70,282
Hanska $74,005 Watertown $72,409


If you will work in North Dakota, the wage is slightly lower.



Contacting the Authorities

MN Department of Labor and Industry
443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-284-5005; Toll-free: 800-342-5354

To Wrap Up a Conclusion

Taking a training course is an important endeavor you have to go through if you want to get into this field. It will be the most important credential you can show to an employer.

The completion of the training is your big asset to get a good pay or job promotion. It will also prepare you for taking the certification tests and passing them.

There’s only a few Heavy Equipment Operator School in Minnesota, as stated above, where you can take the training. If you would like to take a training course in another nearby state, it will be up to you.

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