We cannot refute that there is a high demand for a workforce who will man heavy equipment. Skilled operators will be needed in the growing infrastructure projects in Virginia.
In this state, there’s a growing demand for talents like you. You will operate a variety of heavy machinery such as bulldozers, excavators, front-end loaders, motor graders, dump trucks, etc.
These types of equipment are used in the construction of roads, bridges and railways – the transport infrastructures Virginia has the highest priority on.
If you are aspiring to have a change in your career and you want to be an operator, you need to take heavy equipment operator training in Virginia.
Of course, those entry-level heavy equipment operators need to have formal training to learn the “dos” and “don’ts” of the trade. The training will teach them everything they need to know. Having professional training guarantees you are employable.
But becoming a heavy equipment operator does involve spending time and effort. You also have to pay a considerable amount for the school tuition.
But you don’t have to worry, the investment of time and money can easily be recuperated because you can make good pay once you are employed as an operator. Likewise, this trade occupation is something that will last for a long time. The demand will continue in the next coming decades.
If you are finally decided in entering this career, we have prepared this guide for you.
Taking the Heavy Equipment Training
Here are the steps you need to take the heavy equipment operator training:
- Enroll in a heavy equipment operator course offered by a school (the list of directory of training schools in Virginia is below, refer to that) – in the past, all you need to do to be an operator is get hired and learn the skill by doing the on-the-job training. Now, things have changed. You have to take formal training at the community college or at the technical school to earn a certificate.
- Prepare yourself for the 12-week intensive heavy equipment training – The average length of the training is 12 weeks, but in most schools, it could be shorter depending on the course you’ve taken. In some schools, the duration is even longer. You will exhaust more time doing hands-on exercises in the field.
- You have to take the classroom training – just like any other certification program, the classroom training is part of the curriculum. The classroom training allows the students to learn the theoretical part. You will learn health and safety in the workplace, environmental awareness, basic equipment engineering, interpreting blueprints and drawings, understanding the survey instruments, fundamentals on sediment control, operational techniques, construction processes, and other necessary knowledge.
- You will spend a lot of time doing practical training - you will do the practical exercises in the field. You will learn how to maneuver the heavy equipment, perform maintenance, tune-up and basic repair, do the inspection of the electrical and fuel systems, conduct surveying, carry out excavating and trenching, loading and unloading, and many other tasks which may be deemed necessary for the course you are taking.
- At the end of the training course, you will receive your certificate – the certificate is equivalent to having an on-the-job training. The certificate is the credential a prospective employer will be asked from you when you’re applying for a job.
Heavy Equipment Operator Schools in Virginia Where You Can Enroll
- Lord Fairfax Community College - LFCC Workforce Solutions
4151 Weeks Drive, Warrenton, VA 20187
Phone: 540-868-7021, Email:
Make an inquiry if there’s an upcoming training schedule
- Tri-County Driving Academy
1714 US-19, Lebanon, VA 24266
Phone: +1 276-794-7660
- International Union Of Operating Engineers Local 147
400 N Center Dr, Norfolk, VA 23502,
Tips when Choosing the Right Heavy Equipment Operator School
Unlike in the other states, Virginia has a few technical schools where you can take the course. If you plan to take the training in other states, these tips may help you choose the best school to enroll in:
- Make sure you’re having hands-on training on modern equipment. Visit the school facilities. Ask permission to visit their premises and see their training facilities. Do they have modern pieces of heavy equipment? You would not want to operate rusty and out-of-date piece equipment, would you?
- Inquire about their credentials. The school should have a good reputation. You can ask your friends or someone who have had undergone training at the school you are thinking to enroll in.
- Join a training session. Ask the management if you could sit in one of their classes. From there you can assess how many students are present in the class and how the instructor delivers the training. There, you will have a good grasp of how the training is being conducted.
- Seek scholarships, grants, or payment schemes. Enrolling in a heavy equipment operator training program is not cheap. The average tuition amount you are going to spend is around $10,000. This can be burdensome for people who are just starting out. The school should be able to afford assistance to defray the expenses.
- The school should be able to provide employment assistance after graduating. Hiring managers know the school is the best place to go in recruiting qualified operators. The school can easily refer you to a prospective employer needing a qualified workforce like you.
Prerequisites to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator
- You are required to have a high school diploma or a GED certificate as its equivalent – A diploma is required when you’re applying for a training course in the trade school or community college, and may also be a prerequisite in applying for a union apprenticeship program and lastly, you will need a high school diploma in applying for a job nowadays.
- Being in good health condition and physical shape – is one of the trade occupations that require you to be in great physical fitness. There’s a good reason for this, the nature of the job as heavy equipment is strenuous and tiring. You may be required to render longer hours at work to meet the work quota and limit. Thus, to get the tasks completed, you need to be in good physical conditioning. You may be required to undergo a DOT exam to determine your state of physical fitness.
- Be at least 18 years old – employers have their own age requirement in recruiting workers. Some recruit operators at the age of 21 since heavy equipment operation is a dangerous job. To get accepted for the certification training, you need to at least be 18 years old.
- Heavy equipment training certificate – this is the documentation where you invested time and money. Without it, it is merely impossible to get employment. The company will ask for it, you have to provide it. It is your solid evidence that you have the skills and competence to do the job.
- A commercial driver’s license (CDL) may be required by the employer – most employers require their workers especially those who drive dump trucks and trailers to have a CDL. The license allows them to drive trucks and trailers on public roads to transport construction materials, goods and other equipment from and to the worksite. It would a good advantage if you have this. To apply for one, follow this link.
- NCCER certification – having an NCCER certificate can be your big asset if you want to work in the construction sector. It is being perceived by an employer that you’ve undergone the rigorous written exam and performance assessment by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). You, as an applicant, can become more competitive and employable because employers tend to hire individuals with NCCER certifications than those without.
How Much Pay Would You Get Working in Virginia
How much does your salary if you will work in the state of Virginia? According to the latest March 28, 2023 report of Salary.com, the average salary of heavy equipment operators working in this state is $69,634.
The salary stretches between $58,229 and $78,995 depending on the city/town or location where you will work. Here are the places the compensate well:
If you will work in the state of North Carolina, you could make a lesser wage.
Other factors also come into play that affects your wage such as the size of the company you are working for, your skills and certification that you’ve earned, your length of experience doing this job, and the variety of equipment you are capable of operating.
Being an operator has a great job outlook. It has been predicted that there will be a yearly 10% growth in this industry by the year 2024. Even after that year, who knows you are still in demand. Construction works are everywhere; you won’t be having a difficult time finding employment.
If you will work in Virginia, this state offers a much better wage;
To Conclude This
If you are planning to shift your job, this could be your chance. Heavy equipment operation is a booming industry. This may be the opportunity you are longing to have.
There’s a growing demand for skills like yours not only in this state but nationally. You can get employed in many sectors but you would likely find a job in the construction, roads and railways infrastructure projects in Virginia.
To be qualified, you must earn the credentials by taking heavy equipment operator training in Virginia. This is the very first step you need to do to get qualified for the job.
The perks and pay are good. There’s always job availability and continuous demand. You won’t be running out of job opportunities not only in the state of Virginia but also in other states.
Take action now. Elevate your career to another level. Have a better future for you and your family. Be a heavy equipment operator!
Keeping in Touch with the Relevant Authorities
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Main Street Centre, 600 East Main Street, Suite 207, Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 371-2327 phone, (804) 371-6524 Fax
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
600 E Main St #207, Richmond, VA