Do you want to get a job as an operator of heavy equipment such as bulldozers, backhoes, or excavators?
Ontario has a lot to offer in terms of employment opportunities and career advancement for people like you.
We all know the need for skilled heavy equipment operators like you has never been greater. As more and more baby boomers retire and as the demand for new operators in the construction, forestry, and home improvement projects continues to grow there will be job opportunities.
Before you can get into it, you have to be trained first. Working with heavy equipment as an operator requires specialized skills. This means you have to take and complete a training course.
The program provides rigorous and hands-on and in-the-field training in the operation heavy equipment in combination with classroom instructions delivered by a competent trainer who will work with you all through the course.
Training is the difference between a job and a career, so if you are serious about being an operator, take the training to acquire the necessary skills.
This is why we prepared this article to guide on your journey. Read on...
How You Would Take the Heavy Equipment Operator Training
- Just like any other training you’ve gone through in the past, the first part is the classroom or theory component. This is designed to deliver to students comprehensive understanding in many aspects of heavy equipment operation that includes inspections and maintenance, site management, instilling safety in the workplace, applicable government laws and regulations, and other subjects that may be deemed necessary.
- The next part of the course is practical training. It focuses on real demonstration and hands-on exercises in the actual work site. You will get your hands dirty on four (4) major pieces of heavy equipment (excavators, backhoes, loaders, and bulldozers). This is where you will spend most of the time. This portion usually takes about 8-10 weeks and deals with the specialization of the machines and given 100% hands-on. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.
- In some instances, depending on the school, they may administer written and practical tests to measure the knowledge and skills you’ve obtained from the course.
- When you’re successful passing of the tests, you will receive a certificate of completion and/or operator card. These are the credentials you can present when applying for a job.
As outcomes, you will be able to demonstrate your operating capabilities congruent with industry standard; you will be able to develop your competency in doing basic machine servicing to lengthen the lifespan of the equipment; and you will be able to exhibit your safe work practices at all times - these are qualities what a hiring manager looks for from a job candidate.
Heavy Equipment Training Schools in Ontario
You may be thinking, why do you have to go to school if you can practice with friends in the construction site. First doing it is dangerous and you would not obtain the proper education to safely operate the equipment. If you enroll at the training school, you get the professional training to safely operate in a variety of settings. If you are looking for a school, here are the reputable ones you can find in Ontario:
- Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario
12580 County Road 2, Box 636, Morrisburg, Ontario, Phone: (613) 543-2911 or 1-877-543-3549
2245 Speers Rd., Oakville, ON; Phone: (905) 469-9299 or 1-877-793-4863
- 5th Wheel Training Institute
415 Main St., Haileybury, Ontario P0J 1K0, CA
935 Brazeau Blvd., New Liskeard, Ontario P0J 1P0, CA
6199 First School Rd., Warwick, Ontario N0M 2S0, CA
- Transport Training Centres of Canada
2565 Kingsway Blvd. Sudbury ON
- Canada Heavy Equipment College
1425 Bishop St. N Unit 6, Cambridge, Ontario;
Telephone: 519-650-6040, Toll-free: 888-934-2432
- Ontario Colleges
60 Corporate Court, Guelph ON N1G 5J3
Toll Free (in Canada): 1.888.892.2228, Phone: 519.763.4725
- Conestoga College
299 Doon Valley Drive, Kitchener, Ontario N2G 4M4
- Taranis Training
1485 Rosslyn Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7E 6W1
(807) 476-1746; Toll Free: 1 (855) 247-4213
- Ontario Good Roads Association
1525 Cornwall Road, Unit 22,Oakville, ON L6J 0B2
P. 289.291.OGRA (6472)
- Robar Centre for Transport Training Inc.
600 Nebo Road, Unit 2, Hamilton, ON L0R 1P0
Toll Free: 1-866-993-9962, Local: (905) 643-4734, Fax: (905) 667-1620
- Durham College
2000 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, ON, T: 905.721.2000
1610 Champlain Avenue, Whitby, ON, T: 905.721.2000
- Ontario Truck Driving School
427 Exeter Rd. London, ON, Tel.: (519) 858-9338, Toll Free: 1-800-799- JOBS (5627)
505 Kenora Ave. Building 2, Unit 2, Hamilton, ON, Tel.: (905) 575-7606, Toll Free: 1-800-273-5867
1005 Richmond St., Chatham, ON, Tel.: (519) 355-0077, Toll Free: 1-866-985-0077
1-625 Wabanaki Drive, Kitchener, ON, Tel.: (519) 576-5627
459 Paris Rd., Brantford, ON, Tel: (519) 751-4111, Toll Free: 1-800-799-JOBS (5627)
To give you some pointers on how to choose the best training provider, well, find the one with modern training facilities and equipment, choose the provider that will place you for a job upon course completion, choose a small class so that you get the much-needed attention and focus. DO NOT enroll in a cheap course and in a school that promises to train you in no time, they don’t have quality, you would get the worth of your money.
What You Should Have During School Admission
Preparation is vital, it should not be overlooked, it is an important thing to do when planning a career or do something. For you to prepare for the admission, here are the general requirements you should have:
- First and foremost, you should be at least 18 years old; if you are below this age, you should have parent consent upon application. (Some schools don’t accept training applicants below 18, so it would be better to ask your preferred school about age requirement.)
- You should have finished education at least Grade 12. Exceptions may be allowed. Talk to the school representative about the education they require.
- You should have a class 5 driver’s license and should have it throughout the duration of the training program.
- Since the nature of the job as a heavy equipment operator is physically demanding as you work in different weather conditions and adverse workplaces, you should be in good physical and health condition. You must be free of ailments such as vision impairment and respiratory illness.
- The school may conduct personal profile assessments and interviews during application. This ensures that you have the right qualifications for the job.
- Good mathematical skills and know-how to comprehend English are important. This also considered during the admission process.
These are just some of the prerequisites you should have/be, but please talk to the school representative for more details of their program and requirements.
How to Pay for the Training
No matter what provider you attend to take the HEO training course, it is a fact that the program is expensive. But you can make a better choice regarding your approach to paying for the tuition. Here are some of the ways you can do to defray the expenses:
- You may also avail of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). What I like about this program is that the funds we will be given to you are interest-free. The program is funded by the federal and provincial governments ensuring that each student applying for the program has enough funds to further their education.
- Ask about the training school’s financing option. They usually offer tuition discounts or flexible payment schemes or even scholarships. Talk to the representative what available option you can avail of.
- You can also be eligible for student loans through your federal or provincial government. You may also discuss with the representative about available such loans.
- Some schools provide financial awards to students. Awards are given based on the financial needs of the students. Again, you may talk to the school if there’s such a financial option that you can avail of.
- If you are an employer, the training of your workers can be through Canada-Ontario Job Grant. You will shoulder one-third of the training cost. If you want to apply for this grant, follow this link.
Routes You Can Take to Become a Heavy Equipment Operator
As mentioned above, enrolling in a course offered by a training provider is the first route you can take if you want pursue your career, as stated above. Doing so opens a wide range of advantages such as you get professional training and certificate of recognition where you can present to a prospective employer when applying for a job.
You can also become an apprentice. It is a great way to gain the skills needed for the job of a heavy equipment operator. An apprenticeship program is commonly sponsored by a local union, by a participating employer or by a contractor. It also involves getting through the classroom and practical training and usually takes about 3 to 4 years to finish. Being an apprentice is about gaining the required practical skills.
Someone might have already told you that they being their career operating a piece of lighter equipment under the supervision of a friend or colleague. While it is true that many have learned while on the job and eventually move to operate heavier machines. With this route, you will spend an amount of time on-site to learn heavy equipment operation.
How You Can Find a Job as a Heavy Equipment Operator
Heavy equipment operators will be in demand in the foreseeable future; your skills are very much needed in a variety of industrial settings such as construction site, logging, and mining, in oil and gas pipeline, cargo-handling business. The best potential is in the construction industry.
Heavy equipment operator typically handles a wide range of equipment. If you have the training and experience to operate multiple types of equipment, you have the best opportunities to get a high-paying job and a lasting career. Put simply, the more equipment you operate the more jobs you can be involved in.
If you’re wondering where can this job lead? With enough experience, you can become a site foreman or leadman. From there, you can advance to a more senior position as a supervisor or manager. While you can even start your own contracting business. The possibilities are limitless.
Salary of Heavy Equipment Operator in Ontario
The average salary of heavy equipment operators working in Ontario is $46,800, this figure is according to the report of neuvoo.ca. But depending on the qualifications and other credentials, it could sum up for more. Salary varies depending on your experience, certification, and applicable skills you can contribute to the job.
What does the future hold for you? Terrific! The construction industry, the sector where you are most likely to get employed, will continue to grow. The reason behinds this is there will be more spending in the improvements of roads, bridges, and civil infrastructure.
Applicable Laws/Standards Must Be Abide With in Canada
CSA standard B335-15 "Safety standard for lift trucks"
If you work with forklifts, the new standard specifically states the following:
- The training course must compose of the theory (classroom lectures), hands-on (practical exercises), knowledge verification (written test) and practical evaluation (performance assessment). The instructor must be competent enough to deliver these four stages of the course to make sure instruction is grasped by the trainees.
- In the previous revision of the said standard, the retraining must be conducted every three (3) years, and operator re-test must be performed 18 months later after the initial training. Now in the new revision, the 18-month re-test is no longer in effect, but it is replaced by a broader responsibility for employers to observe the performance of their workers on a continuing basis, while the three-year requirement becomes secondary to the legislative requirement of the province.
- The current revision of the standards now specifies circumstances that trigger operator retraining. It should be done when there’s a new piece of equipment introduced on-site the operators are not familiar with; when the workplace setting changes; and when an operator has been identified deficient in skills and knowledge.
If you want to be a heavy equipment operator in Ontario, you will need a D license (vehicles over 11,000 Kg) with an air brake (Z) endorsement.
Ministry of Transportation of Ontario Class D knowledge test and road test.
To Conclude This
If you want to be part of the growing workforce of the construction industry in Ontario and want to do something hands-on and if you want to enjoy the idea of having a job where you actually create something and you can see what you’ve done at the end of the day, then being a heavy equipment operator is the right for you.
Constructions heavy equipment operators are in demand across the country. Their services are badly in demand for everything from home improvements, road and bridge and civil construction work, dredging and heavy paving, the list goes on and on. You would not run out of employment opportunities.
If you want to get into the program to start a career as a heavy equipment operator in Ontario, now is the time. Don’t get left behind. Take action now!