How Long Does It Take To Complete Heavy Equipment TrainingIf you are wondering how long it takes to complete a heavy equipment training course, then, we have this prepared for you.

Getting the required heavy equipment training is essential in securing a good career in this field. It increases your chance of getting a good employment and pay.

And you must spend enough time taking the training to absorb much-needed knowledge and experience. It takes a lot of hours to become competent heavy equipment operator.

There is no shortcut and you cannot take it via online either.

You’ll spend much of your time learning in the field. Classroom discussion will also be included.

The time it takes to finish the heavy equipment training is 8-10 weeks utmost.

You will spend 8-10 hours per day or 50 hours per week during that 8-week period and in total that’s approximately 400 hours of intensive training covering a lot of subjects and field undertakings.

The training length depends on the comprehensiveness of the course or depth of the curriculum you are enrolled in and on the skill level you have, obviously, an entry-level operator takes more time in the classroom and in the field.



What Subjects Are Covered In The Heavy Equipment Training?

The heavy equipment training course is divided between the two most significant aspects – classroom lectures and field practical training. You will spend a lot of time outside in the field doing the hands-on operation.

In the Classroom:

A typical day in the training is 5 hours of classroom instruction where you will learn

  • Fundamentals of earth moving
  • Civil Engineering Concepts
  • Responsibilities of heavy equipment operators
  • Heavy Equipment Operation Safety
  • Hazmat Training
  • Current OSHA Applicable Regulations
  • Equipment Crash Management
  • Basic To Intermediate Surveying (Laser and Hand-Sight Leveling, Use Of Plumb Bobs) Calculation And Mathematics
  • Site Layout Reading
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Land clearing
  • Septic tans and basement
  • Emergency procedures

and other topics that may be deemed necessary for the chosen training course.

The length of training inside the Classroom is approximately 140 Hours.

The usual classroom training delivery is through trainer-to-trainee interaction, lectures and discussions, interactive computer testing, heavy equipment operation simulation can also be included.

During the Practical Training:

There is no better way of learning heavy equipment operation than practical training.

You will spend more time doing practical training than in classroom lecture which is usually 4-6 hours. Though, the classroom lecture is a prerequisite before you can get your hands on the heavy equipment controls.

Here are some of the topics you will learn from the practical training:

  • Motor engine operation
  • Refueling and battery recharging
  • Actual heavy equipment maintenance and inspection
  • Worksite Inspection
  • Maintaining equipment records and logbook
  • Site Preparation, Operation and Surveying
  • Flagging
  • Land Clearing
  • Grade Checking
  • Basic hydraulics
  • Construction drawing
  • Soil testing
  • Soil compaction
  • Working in muddy Environment
  • Truck Loading
  • Safe trenching

Traveling around the worksite will be done throughout the course so the trainees can have firsthand look and experience to apply what they’ve learned from the training.

Here are the typical pieces of construction equipment you will put your hands on and the time of training you will spend on each:

  • Excavator: 100 Hours
  • Loader: 30 Hours
  • Dozer: 30 Hours
  • Grader: 30 Hours
  • Articulated Truck: 30 Hours
  • Backhoe: 30 Hours

You will be doing performance tasks in the field on each type of heavy equipment.

If you enrolled in a course that has low student-to-instructor ratio, you will be assured of having abundant time and exposure operating each piece of heavy equipment.

The classroom training and hands-on operations are normally aligned to the standard of National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) so that students can obtain the necessary qualifications for NCCER Core Curriculum and Heavy Equipment Operator Levels 1, 2 & 3.



Tests Will Be Administered For You Pass the Heavy Equipment Training

As part of the training school’s qualification process, you will be required to take the tests and attain the passing scores.

The written test subjects revolve around on mechanical aptitude or comprehension, mathematics and basic calculation, problem-solving scenario, inspection and measurement, eye-hand coordination. The practical training exam is through performing and following a set of tasks the instructor will ask you to do on various circuits. Satisfy the instructor by doing the tasks satisfactorily.

The length of time spent on the training will vary depending on the trainee’s progress.

For those who successfully completed the course and pass the exams will be given a certificate of course completion, the transcript of grades and name admission to NCCER registry.

Course Length Will Also Depend On Training Level/Course Package

If you don’t have yet the money to pay for the full tuition in completing a comprehensive heavy equipment operator training, course options are available for you to enrol.

These packages are specialized training curriculums that will allow you to choose the level of training you want. This is ideal for absolute beginners with no prior knowledge and for experienced individuals who already had skills in operating the heavy equipment.

Here are some of the schools that offer 400 hours of training:

Schuylkill Technology Center
101 Technology Drive, Frackville, PA 17931
Phone: 570-874-1034
Training Length: 400 hours or 10 weeks

Performance Training Solutions
7791 Taylor Rd SW, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Tel: (614) 863-8830
Training Level 1: 3 weeks; Level 2: 6 weeks; Level 3: 9 weeks

West Cost Training
3805 Dike Road, Woodland, Washington 98674
Tell: 800.755.5477 , Phone: 360.225.6787 (
Training Length: 8weeks of 400 hours

Interior Heavy Equipment Operator School
#2 - 10058 HWY 97 North, Winfield, British Columbia
Phone: 250-766-3853, Toll: 1-866-399-3853
Training length: 10 weeks or 380 hours of classroom and in-seat training

Heavy Equipment Operator Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is the livelihood of heavy equipment operating engineers.

Taking the apprenticeship program is a good way to broaden your knowledge. Though it may take time to complete the program it will definitely sharpen your skills by gaining first-hand experience in the field and actual working environment.

The advantage of the apprenticeship program is to admit heavy equipment operators with little experience. Apprentice is given the opportunity to earn while learning the skills in the field. Apprentice receives a percentage of journey level wage.

Operating engineer apprenticeship wage usually starts at about $22 per hour. The salary could be raised to $32 per hour depending on some factors.

To apply for an apprenticeship, the applicants usually go through the selection process. The applicants for the apprenticeship will be selected and put in a group of eligible. The group consists of 10 – 15 qualified individuals. Each will go through an oral interview. The score from the interview and the credentials submitted will be used to determine who will be chosen for apprenticeship. Those chosen few will be given consideration for employment.

The length of the apprenticeship program, let’s say for example in the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) is 4 years (approximately 5,500 hours) that includes on-the-job, in the field and academic training.



What Kind of Education Do You Need To Be a Heavy Equipment Operator

With the high school diploma and on-the-job training, as the minimum education, you can become a heavy equipment operator.

To get an initial training, vocational schools and community colleges offer heavy equipment operator courses. While apprenticeship may take years to complete, it is a route everyone takes to gain field experience.

With the combination of the initial training attained from enrolling in a course and the completion of apprenticeship program offered by the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) or by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, you can extensively develop the skills and qualifications needed for the job and be attractive in the eyes of prospective employer.

To Conclude This

If you think you have what it takes to become a heavy equipment operator and you are comfortable doing field operation, it could be an ideal profession you could pursue.

You have to have the skills the employers are looking for and you must have the necessary heavy equipment training certification in securing a job.

It doesn’t take long to complete heavy equipment training. It would only take up 4-8 weeks depending in the comprehensiveness of the course that you’ve chosen.

Go take it and have a long and rewarding career.

Get Your Forklift Certificate Today

Equipment Rental (By State)

Frequently-Asked Questions