Training and safety are always the number one priority. This is the main reason why before you can be a heavy equipment operator in South Carolina, you need to complete such a course.
Your goal in taking the training is to maximize your potential by acquiring the skill necessary to start a career as an operator. The training focuses on educating you by providing in-depth knowledge.
The training course is rigorous, you have to devote your time and effort to the training so that you absorb many competencies.
Being a heavy equipment operator offers a good way for better employability and a higher wage. If you are in the process of considering this career and planning to take the training, here are the steps you have to take to complete the course.
Steps in Taking the Heavy Equipment Training
Taking the training only involves four (4) steps.
- Find a school where you want to take the heavy equipment operator training from. The list of schools in South Carolina is below, please refer to that. We also mentioned below some criteria in choosing the best operator school so that you receive the best quality training to get your money’s worth.
- Attend the classroom lectures and instruction training. As part of the curriculum, the students will be exposed to the theoretical part of the training to learn basic fundamentals, current government regulations, technical aspects of operating heavy equipment, earthmoving fundamentals, advanced technicalities, applied math, volume computation, and many other topics.
- Attend the hands-on training. You will then be given a sufficient amount of time doing practical training in the field. This is the time to get your hands dirty. You will learn equipment application, operational controls, inspections and maintenance, different attachments, equipment operating techniques, and many other topics that may be deemed necessary. That way, you will receive much exposure to different kinds of equipment you may likely be using in the field.
- Students are then required to pass the written exams and hands-on performance tests administered by the school in order to pass their internal certification. You may find some schools that do not conduct these two what’s important is they will prepare you to pass the NCCER or NCCCO exams - and that’s what you have to aim for.
If you have completed the training course, you can work in many types of industries – general construction, road and highway construction, mining, and quarry, etc. You are very much in demand; you won’t be having a hard time getting a job.
If you are curious about this job and want to know more about the details and other requirements, keep reading this article...
List of Heavy Equipment Operator Schools in South Carolina
- Carolina Construction School
1456 Kershaw Camden Highway, Lancaster, SC 29721
- Tri-County Technical College
Toll-free within 864 area code: 1-866-269-5677
Post Office Box 587, Pendleton, SC 29670
- York Technical College
452 S Anderson Rd Rock Hill, SC 29730
(803) 327-8000 (800) 922-TECH
Their training center is located in Chester
- Associated training Services
Their training facility is located in Pelzer
for more information, email
- United Rentals
Rock Hill, SC, +1 803-366-3141
How to Choose the Best Heavy Equipment School
Signing up for a training course is relatively easy, just a find a school near you but without the prior knowledge in choosing the right one, you could end up losing money and wasting time. Below are some of the criteria you can follow when selecting a school:
- Find a school that can customize the course to adhere to the standard of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).
- Find a school that incorporates OSHA 10 training in their curriculum so that you won’t have to take it separately from the actual heavy equipment operator training course.
- Find a school that offers direct job placement upon completion of the training course. If you could find a school that offers such a service, it would be great so that you won’t be having a hard time looking for a job.
- Find a school that has modern training facilities and up-to-date equipment. You can visit the school’s premises if you want to. If you pay a visit, observe how the training is being conducted and see the equipment they use in the training. Are they up to your standard?
- Find a class with a low students-to-instructor ratio to ensure that each student receives plenty of exposure and focus during the training.
Why Choose NCCER-Approved Course
If you take the training course in a school that has NCCER accreditation, you will learn curricula that will allow you to receive a national credential. This credential is very important in securing a job as a heavy equipment operator.
By finding an NCCER-accredited school, it ensures you that you will receive professional and quality training given by their qualified instructor.
Entry Requirements to Take the Training
- You must be at least 18 years old or above in order to get accepted.
- You must have a valid driver’s license (though some schools may not require it, it would be handy if you have a valid one.)
- You may undergo a substance abuse screening
- A high school diploma may also be required.
How Long Does It Take to Complete the Training?
If you are enrolled in the class, you usually complete the course in just four (4) to eight (8) weeks depending on the training package you’re taking.
An individual training course includes the use of backhoe, excavator, bulldozer, and loaders – the common types of the heavy equipment you will be operating in the actual job.
If you want to take fundamentals on crane operation, you may spend a little more time of another 4 weeks to learn rigging and crane operation to get you certified to operate a mobile crane, tower crane, rig loads and to do lifting tasks.
Being an apprentice is also a great way to enter this profession. Many have followed this route. Taking the apprenticeship program usually lasts for about three (3) to four (4) years to gain the practical skills and experience needed to work as a heavy equipment operator (operating engineer). The apprenticeship program is offered by a trade union or contacting a firm that also incorporates both classroom and practical training in the field.
Salary of Heavy Equipment Operator Working in South Carolina
If you’re wondering how much salary you can make as a heavy equipment operator in South Carolina, well, according to the latest March 28, 2023 report of Salary.Com, the average salary per year is $65,571 but it falls somewhere in the range of $54,831 and $74,386.
There’s a deviation in the salary because of some reasons such as the city/town where you are working in SC, the education and certification you have in your possession, and the number of years of experience you work in this field.
Here are the cities and towns of SC that compensate well:
You may find a job in construction and infrastructure development – the two sectors in high demand for qualified individuals like you. But again, operators work in many types of businesses and environments. They’re often work in the two sectors I mentioned, but they also are seen in the mining site, dredging areas, quarry, paving projects, etc.
Key Competencies to Get a Job
- Since the work of the heavy equipment operator is physically demanding, anyone who wants to enter this field must be in good health and physical and mental condition.
- Those who have passed NCCER certification are in good standing to get a job. If you will work in the construction site, the first time the prospective employer may ask from you is the NCCER certification. It would be handy if you have such a qualification.
- Can operate a variety of heavy equipment. You need to have sound knowledge and practical skills in operating backhoes, dozers, loaders, and other types of equipment. This is where your training comes in. At the training, you will be taught to operate different types of heavy equipment.
- Prioritize safety at all times. Health and safety are the biggest issues in the type of workplace you will be working in. Managers don’t want to hire operators who're only skilled in doing their job but also put safety above all else.
Contacting the Authorities
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
121 Executive Center Dr., Suite 230, Synergy Business Park, Columbia, SC 29210; Contact: 803-896-7665
National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER)
Main: 386.518.6500, Toll-free: 888.622.3720
To Make a Conclusion
One of the objectives for taking the heavy equipment training in South Carolina is not only to keep you and everyone else safe while on the job but also to keep you stay compliant with the government or company’s regulations.
If you are a beginner who wants to become a heavy equipment operator, there are two ways to get trained – either by signing up for a class offered by a trade school or by being an apprentice. Either way is beneficial, it is up to you what route you want to take.