Heavy Equipment Operator Training in ArkansasDo you want to take heavy equipment operator training in Arkansas and be rewarded with a good paying career? You will operate dozers, cranes, loader, tractor truck, skid steers, backhoes, graders, and other equipment you typically find in construction sites. You work in civil projects such excavation, roadways and building constructions.

The training specifically teaches the trainees how to safely operate the heavy equipment and do its proper maintenance. The student will spend time in the classroom to learn the theories and more importantly they will learn to operate the equipment in actual job site simulating the real work environment.

The heavy equipment training provides the students with the necessary skills and knowledge preparing them to become an entry-level operator. If you want to start a career in this field, we’ve prepared this guide for you.

Before you continue, here's an answer if this career is right for you:


How to Take the Heavy Equipment Training

You can earn your certification in heavy equipment operation by taking these steps:

  1. Assess yourself if this job is really what you want to do for years to come. Do a research what does a heavy equipment operator perform on the job. Operators usually work in construction sites and other civil work projects. They operate many different types of heavy equipment doing its maintenance as well. Ask yourself if you really want to handle such types of machinery and be on the field.

  2. Attain the requirements to become a heavy equipment operator. If you are really decided to take this journey, the next step to do is to complete the requirements, as mentioned below. When enrolling in a training program, inquire with the school the additional requirement that you may need to supply.

  3. Look for a technical school and enrol in for a course. The list training schools in Arkansas is below for your reference. We included their contact numbers so that you can easily contact them and make an inquiry.

  4. If you are already enrolled, you will attend the classroom instruction. The classroom instructions will always be included in the course curriculum of a heavy equipment training program. Inside the classroom, you will learn the theories on safety and equipment maintenance. Topics will include safe equipment operation, dredging, grading and compaction, land clearing, blueprint reading, pipe laying, and many other topics that may be deemed necessary for the training.

  5. A heavy equipment training program should include the actual operation of the vehicles in the actual job site that means you’ll be undertaking a hands-on training. You will be driving a variety of heavy equipment such as bulldozers, graders, loaders, and many others types as covered by the training program you are enrolled in. You will spend much of your time inside the cabin of the equipment and in the field so that you will have a good feel for the safe operation of the heavy equipment.

  6. When you graduate you will be issued with a nationally-recognized certificate. You can then present this certificate to a prospective employer when applying for a job or when applying for an on-the-job-training/apprenticeship program.

Here are some helpful resources that will help you in becoming an operator:



Heavy Equipment Training Schools in Arkansas

Technical and vocational schools in Arkansas for heavy equipment operators where you can enroll for a training course are not that much. Here are they:

International Union of Operating Engineers
Local 381 - 418 W. Main El Dorado AR
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Apprenticeship is available, inquire first to know the requirements

Arkansas Heavy Equipment Operator Training Academy (AHEOTA)
346 University Drive, Monticello, Arkansas 71656
Phones: 1-800-844-1826, 870-226-2750

North Arkansas College - North Campus
1320 North Spring Rd., Harrison, AR 72601

University of Arkansas at Monticello
346 University Ct, Monticello, AR 71655
Phone: +1 870-460-1026, 870-226-2750

Here are some tips when choosing a school to enrol in:

look for school that also has job assistance program, so that when you graduate, they can put you into employment immediately, choose the school that has a long training program that covers the operation of 10 pieces of heavy equipment, lastly, choose the school that is reputable and in the training business for long time they tend to know the secrets of trade.

Cost of Heavy Equipment Training

A typical heavy equipment training costs around $6,000 to $12,000 and it could last for about five to nine weeks depending on the comprehensiveness of the training program.

To complete an additional apprenticeship program, it could cost you around $7,000 and it could take four years to finish such program. You can take an apprenticeship program through the technical school such as the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 381.

In Arkansas, an operator must have a commercial contractor’s license which cost about $100 per year. Having the commercial contractor’s license is a state requirement. You will need to pay an initial testing fee of $75 to apply for such license.

If you will be applying for commercial driver’s license, it could you around $150.


Taking the Apprenticeship Program

To boost your chance of landing a high paying job by gaining more experience, you can extend your skill by taking an apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship training is commonly offered by a community college or technical school such as the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) and by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

The apprenticeship program could stretch up to four years to complete. During that time you will work on construction sites and civil work project. The apprenticeship could be a paid training.

Being an apprentice is an excellent way to learn the skills of the trade while making a living. The program will let you gain confidence by practising your skill in the field.

By completing the apprenticeship program you can elevate yourself as a journeyman.

To get NCCER certified, read this page:


Minimum Requirements to Become an Operator

  • You must be at least 18 years old. You may need to show your birth certificate to prove your age.
  • Completion of high school education. You will show your diploma and transcript. Those who have not completed education, you can present your GED and test scores to verify your education.
  • You may also need to show your proof of residency in Arkansas state.
  • You must be physically fit. In this job, you will perform a lot of physical tasks.
  • Heavy equipment operation certificate as proof of completion of a training program that will serve as technical discipline credential.
  • Commercial driver’s license will also be a requirement for those who will work for an employer requiring the operator to have such license.

For the detailed descriptions of the requirements, see this page:


Salary of Heavy Equipment Operator in Arkansas

How much does an operator make in Arkansas? The average salary you could make in this state is $64,431 per year. This number is according to the latest February 27, 2023 report of Salary.com. Here are the states or municipalities that offer the best pay:

$63,142 - Bentonville
$63,884 Conway
$64,645 Fayetteville
$61,025  Fort Smith
$54,252  Harrisburg

$64,429  Jacksonville
$64,177  Keo

$64,252  Jonesboro
$64,749  Lead Hill

$64,512  Little Rock
$64,749  Mammoth Spring

$64,757  Mountain Home
$62,527  Pine Bluff
$63,268  Rogers
$63,645  Springdale
$64,068  Strawberry

$63,884  Timbo

If you will work in Louisiana, the salary is much higher. 

You may be wondering how much pay you can get and where are the best places to work as an operator, see these pages?



To Finalize This

Becoming a heavy equipment operator in Arkansas is a high-paying occupation and the demand for the skill never ceases as more and more construction projects sprout everywhere in this state.

Completing the training and the apprenticeship programs increase your chance getting employed as a heavy equipment operator that will take some investment and time to attain but the reward is good and great.

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