The demand for highly-skilled heavy equipment operators in British Columbia has never been greater. It is not just in this province but also in other provinces as well.
The need for operators like you will grow even bigger due to the people leaving the industry and as more infrastructure projects get put up causing contractors and employers to hire manpower.
They’re in constant need of qualified operators not afraid of getting their hands dirty. The result? There will be a lot of job openings and companies can’t cope up.
This is where you come in.
But employers would not hire someone lacking knowledge. You need to get professionally trained to have a competitive edge.
If you are considering this career, we always recommend taking the operator training.
In this guide, we will help you take the first step by telling you what to do.
So without further ado, let’s start. How do you get into it?
How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator
To become an operator, you need the education to get into this job as a heavy equipment operator, because employers and contractors prefer those candidates with the practical knowledge and experience working with this equipment.
How then you get that education? Through training. And there are two ways to go through this:
First by being an apprentice or become as a trainee in heavy equipment operation program.
If you opt to take the first choice, local labor organizations such as the IUOE Local 115 offers such an apprenticeship program. Please see below the IUOE contact info. Being an apprentice is a great way to make a living while learning the trade.
Wages of apprentices differ depending on the work location, contract and collective agreement (if there is). The apprenticeship program could stretch up to 3 years.
The second way is by enrolling in a program offered by university or trade school. If this option is the one you prefer, we listed down below the schools where you can take the program.
The training course usually lasts about 12 weeks depending on the comprehensiveness of the program. Upon program completion, the students will be granted the certificate, an important credential to get an entry-level position.
Whatever choice you take, what is important is the acquisition of practical skills and field experience as these are the qualifications employers are looking for from candidates.
As essential skills develop as years pass by, the progression to a supervisory position is possible.
Heavy Equipment Operator Training Schools in British Columbia
- Westerra Equipment
3349 Mount Lehman Road, Abbotsford, BC V2T 5M1
827 Station Avenue, Victoria, BC V9B 2S2
585 Cree Road, Kamloops, BC V2H 1H9
2140 Schoolhouse Road, Nanaimo, BC V9X 1T4
- Williams Machinery
10240 Grace Road, Surrey BC V3V 3V6
174 Adams Road, Kelowna, BC V1X 7R2
102-880 Great Street, Prince George, BC V2N 5R7
Unit 101 - 5141A Keith Avenue, Terrace, BC V8G 1K8
- Vancouver Island University
900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5S5 Canada
- Interior Heavy Equipment Operator School
425 Beaver Lake Road, Lake Country, British Columbia
V4V 1S5Phone: 250-766-3853, Toll Free: 1-866-399-3853, Toll Free Fax: 1-877-347-6384
- Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
200-4355 Mathissi Place, Burnaby BC V5G 4S8, tel. 604.602.9555
- RAYWAY Operator Training School Ltd.
1123 272 Street, Aldergrove, BC V4W 2N2
- O'Brien Training Ltd.
Prince George, BC | Canada
PH: 250-563-1998, FX: 250-563-0061, TF: 1-877-563-1998
- OTS - Operators Training School
06 - 20641 Logan Avenue, Langley, BC V3A 7R3
Phone :604 . 533 . 0575, Fax: 604 . 533 . 0115
- Taylor Pro Training
2654 Norris Road, Kelowna BC, V1X7L9
4700 23rd street, Vernon BC, V1T 5B8
- Abbotsford Career Programs
2606 Alliance Street, Abbotsford B.C. V2S 3J8
- Thompson Rivers University
805 TRU Way, Kamloops, BC V2C 0C8 Canada
- Northern Lights College
11401 - 8th St, Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada, V1G 4G2
- IUOE Local 115 Head Office
4333 Ledger Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5G 3T3
604-291-8831, Toll Free: 1-888-486-3115
How to Choose a Training School
Finding a school can be easy, as we listed them down above, but getting to the right school isn’t always like that. You don’t want to commit mistakes in choosing. Below are some of the good points you could follow when deciding.
- Choose a school that gives flexible payment plans or accepts student loans so that you won’t be having a hard time paying tuition.
- Find a school that offers grants and other financial assistance. If you were to take this option, the grant would be better to avail of. It is a form of financial aid from the province that doesn’t need to be repaid.
- Find a class with a small number of attendees. This is important. With few students in the class, the instructor can focus on each one.
- Visit the campus and see for yourself if the training facility and equipment being used by the students are modern. You would want to train on a piece of equipment that is up-to-date and well maintained.
- Has the school produced successful graduates? Reputable ones do. So, when choosing a school, find out how reputable they are in the industry. You could ask your friends or colleagues, they may have first-hand knowledge.
- Although we’re recommending to choose a campus that is nearest to where you are for transportation convenience, we’re unsure if the one that is closest meets the other criteria above.
Program Admission Requirements
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old
- A secondary school diploma or attain at least grade 10
- Applicant must submit a personal profile
- Must have a Class 5 Driver’s license
- A government-issued ID.
- Must be in good physical conditioning, with good vision, and free any respiratory ailments as the nature of the job demands it.
- Must pass substance abuse test
- Must provide their own personal protective equipment during training duration.
Here's How the Training is Conducted
How Much Does the Training Program Cost
The tuition and other fees in taking the heavy equipment operator course are somewhere in the ballpark figure of $10,000, including books and materials, administrative fees and registration fee. Although, a school may ask for a $200 non-refundable tuition deposit when you apply.
And still, upon registration, the student may pay 50% of the total amount of tuition. If you are in student load, you will have to pay the full tuition amount.
In the event you back out early in the program and want to refund the money, you can submit a formal letter indicating your request. The money to be collected will depend on how long you already been in the program.
Ways to Pay the Tuition
Taking the program isn’t cheap. Glad there is funding available for students to apply. Here are some examples:
- With a student loan, you can get accepted into the training. Just find a school that accepts this. If you would like to apply, visit this page. As of this, the application is now open. If not, see when it will be open.
- Another source of funding is Employment Insurance. You are eligible for up $7,500 for the training. Please visit this resource for more information.
- You may also be qualified for Canada Federal Job Gran Funding. To know more about this funding and to get an application form, visit this.
You also be eligible for other funding, just ask the school what do they have in store for you.
Heavy Equipment Operator Salary in British Columbia
Well, just as we said, the pay is great in this occupation. The average salary of operators per hour is $31..46 which is 12% above the country’s average. This figure is according to the latest report of Indeed.
This occupation has a great job outlook also. It was predicted that the employment of heavy equipment operators will continuously grow in the next coming years. The growth in the development of infrastructure projects and the boom of the construction industry is the main cause of demand.
To Make a Conclusion
Heavy equipment operators are in demand now in BC and across Canada and this will continue in the next coming years – the reason is very obvious. It is the result of continuous expenditure to build more roads, bridges, buildings, and many other infrastructures and to maintain them.
It is not just the outlook that is great but the pay and benefits as well. Those interested in becoming an operator, take the heavy equipment training program now.
You could start today and build your future. We wish you good luck with this endeavor!