Heavy equipment training in IowaIf you have the desire to operate heavy equipment and make a good income, then this profession could the perfect choice.

More and more people who want to discover a new career are thinking of becoming a heavy machine operator. That should not be a surprise.

Heavy equipment operators are well paid and the opportunities for this type of job never cease.

It is expected that in the next coming decades the construction industry will be in full swing and flourish. The demand for your skill will be highly sought after.

You need to take heavy equipment operator training in Iowa first and complete the certification course to reach the full potential.

Whether you’re a pro and novice individual, enrolling in a formal training offered by a school can give you the outstanding benefits. This is the route to build your confidence and employability.

Here are the step you need to take:



How to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator

This job is not for everyone. Some are just not fit for this job. Decide whether this kind of job is the one right for you. You can read this article to help you decide. If you are really decided if becoming a heavy equipment operator suits you, then you can start this doing these steps:

  1. Complete the requirements. Just like any trade you want to get into, there are some prerequisites that you must attain/have in order to be qualified for the position. At the very least, you must completed high school or in possession of a GED certificate, be at the right age of 18 years old and above, in good health and physical conditioning, have a good attitude. Iowa doesn’t have specific regulations that could add up to the requirements that you must attain in order to become an operator in this state.

  2. Find out about your job responsibilities. Typically you will work in the construction site, you will operate heavy machines that is used to prepare the site for construction. You will operator machineries such as drills, compressors, excavators, compressors, compactors, rollers, cranes, trucks, bulldozers, and other similar equipment. You may also be one in charge of maintaining and repairing the heavy equipment in order to keep it at tip-top shape.

  3. Enroll in a heavy equipment training course. To get a formal education, you can enroll in a course offered by a community college or technical school. The training schools in Iowa where you can enroll are listed below.

  4. Attending the classroom training and hands-on/practical training and completing the heavy equipment certification. These three components are what comprised the training course. You will spend time inside the classroom and more time doing the practical training in the field. A typical course can be completed in 8 to 12 weeks. At the end of the course, in order for you to be certified, a written exam and practical test will be administered. Pass those exams, you will be guaranteed of receiving your certificate.

  5. Taking the apprenticeship or on-the-job training. For those individuals who have no prior experience may apply for an apprenticeship program or take an on-the-job training. You can submit an application to the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 234. Doing so will advance your career. You will gain first hand experience and knowledge that you can use to convince an employer to hiring you.

If you are thinking what could be your future as a heavy equipment operator, a typical career path is by progressing to becoming a foreman or supervisor, then later on as manager. Others ended up becoming contractors running their own business.

Cost of the Training Course

The heavy equipment training course is not cheap. It could cost you around $7,000 up to $14,000 depending on the training package you selected. This amount is just for the initial training itself, this doesn’t include other expenses.

If you want to apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the amount of application to add up is $70 to $87.50. This does not include the training which could cost thousands more depending on where you are taking the CDL training and the coverage.

If you will be working with a crane, then, a separate course will be needed. The crane training course could cost around $5,000 depending on the type of crane you want to operate.

The certification and other requirements could also add up to the overall cost.

Is your investment you will put in worth it? Absolutely!

Right now, the salary of a heavy equipment operator is ranging from $50,000 to $65,000 per year. You can easily recuperate the amount you invested in a just short period of time.



Heavy Equipment Operator Training Schools in Iowa

  • Hawkeye Community College Main Campus
    1501 East Orange Road, P.O. Box 8015
    Waterloo, IA 50704-8015
    Phone: 319-296-2320; 1-800-670-4769

  • Northwest Iowa Community College
    603 West Park Street, Sheldon, Iowa 51201
    Contact: (712) 324-5061; (800) 352-4907

  • Iowa Operating Engineers Local 234
    16299 Quebec Street, Indianola, Iowa 50125
    Phone: 641-942-7112, Fax: 641-942-6441

  • MacQueen Equipment Group
    Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 800-832-6417
    They serve Iowa and other nearby states and locations

Choosing the Right Heavy Equipment Training School

  • The school where you are planning to enroll must have the modern and up-to-date pieces of machineries. You would not to get your hands on a rusty and old backhoes or excavator, would you? To make sure you are enrolling in the right school, ask someone if you could make a visit inside their training facilities. Observe the facilities and especially the heavy equipment.

  • Ask the school how much time you will spend in the hands-on and on-the-job training. The time you need to spend doing the practical training must be extensive. This is the part of the course you must focus on, this is where you will gain the skills, though the classroom training is also important.
  • Since commercial driver’s license (CDL) may be required when you are working as a heavy equipment operator, ask the school if the training curriculum covers the training for this or at least they provide assistance for its application.

  • For convenience, enroll in a school that is closest to you. We listed above the heavy equipment training schools in Iowa, find one that is nearest to you.

  • Identify the job requirements that are in-demand right now. You can browse your favorite online classified ads or job postings. Know what the requirements the employers want from the applicants are. Take note those requirements, request the training school if they can give you that.



What Do You Need to Become an Apprentice Heavy Equipment Operator?

The apprenticeship program offered by the IUOE is a three-year program. If you want to earn while you year, getting into an apprenticeship is a way to go.

Not only you will be able to earn, you will also be able to gain expertise. If you are sure you want to be an apprentice, here are the requirements you must attain:

  • You have to undergo the rigorous on-the-job and in-the-field training that will test your endurance. The program is also comprised of classroom training where you will learn the theories and technicalities in operating the heavy equipment.
  • You need to have a good and responsible work attitude. You need to be responsible in the operation of the heavy equipment since it is a very expensive machinery and potentially dangerous to operate. You need to have the right attitude.
  • Since most of the time you will be working outdoors, you need to have an interest working in the field. You could be assigned in the construction site, building and roads projects, or any where.
  • The work of a heavy equipment operator is flexible, you will never know what shift you will be assigned on. You must know how to adjust with the changing work shift.
  • You have to accept the fact that there could be some months you will be out of work. These seasonal change could affect your employment. During downtime, you will be out of work.
  • You must be able to work with many different employers since you could be assigned from one project to the next.
  • You must be at the right age, 18 years old is the minimum age for someone who wants to become a heavy equipment operator. You must also have the right physical condition since this is type of job is physically demanding.
  • You must have your own transportation have a valid driver’s license.
  • You have a high school diploma or a GED certificate as its equivalent.
  • The last but not the least is you need have an initial training completed from a training school. Your certification and operator card are your proofs that you finished a training course offered by a training organization.

Salary of a Heavy Equipment Operator in Iowa

According to the latest report of Salary.com of March 28, 2023, the average yearly salary of heavy equipment operators working in this state is $67,042, but the salar typically ranges between $56,062 and $76,055, depending on the experience.

Here are cities and towns of Iowa that offer a good wage.



Altoona $67,653 Douds $65,834
Arispe $67,002 Durant $66,192
Ames $67,022 Eddyville $67,022
Ankeny $67,653 Floris $66,710
Buffalo Center $69,599 Gibson $66,397
Burnside $67,022 Granger $67,401
Cedar Falls $63,159 Hartford $67,443
Cedar Rapids $67,028 Hayesville $66,397
Council Bluffs $66,232 Humeston $66,022
Davenport $66,486 Johnston $67,653
Deep River $66,397 Palo $67,028
Lake Mills $66,599 Patterson  $67,190
Lanesboro $67,022 Rose Hills $66,710
Ledyard $69,599 Sherrill $66,397
Martensdale $67,401 Solon  $66,818
New Providence $62,766 Swan $67,274

If you will work in Illinois, the salary is way higher.



Contacting the Authorities

1000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319, USA
+1 515-725-5621

Employment and Training Administration and the Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer, and Labor Services
(U.S. Department of Labor)



To Conclude This

Well-trained heavy equipment operators are the big asset of the company. You are the lifeblood of your employer. Without you who will operate the machine, without the machine there will be no work progress, everything will be put to a halt.

If you are thinking of delving into a new career, then becoming a heavy equipment could you a good choice.

You can take the heavy equipment training in Iowa by enrolling in a training program offered by a school.

There could also be some license and certification that you must meet in order to become an operator.

Take the course and meet the certification requirements and other licensure then you will be off to a rewarding career.

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