Heavy Equipment Operator Training
Heavy equipment operator training is an all-inclusive course of study where you can gain earthmoving skills and expertise in moving and transporting heavy construction site materials. In order to work as a heavy equipment operator, a person must have a commercial driver’s license and be registered and certified by NCCER (the National Center for Construction Education and Research). Certified heavy equipment operators work on construction projects, infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and ports, as well as mining and timber operations. If you wish to become a heavy equipment operator, you must study the following heavy equipment training curriculum:
- Site Preparation – To prepare a site for construction, a prospective heavy equipment operator is taught to use a backhoe and bulldozer to clear a job site of trees, rocks, vegetation, debris, and obsolete structures. This is done in preparation for building foundations for new structures.
- Flagging – A heavy equipment operator in training is taught flagging for the construction industry which includes:
- Industry-standard flagging attire to identify an official construction site flagger.
- Proper hand gestures and body positions to direct heavy equipment and other traffic on the site.
- Stopping distances of heavy equipment on varied earth compositions, grades, and surfaces in various weather conditions.
- Public relations skills with site owners, construction crews, and the general public.
- Grade Checking – In order to comply with work orders, measure construction progress, and stay on grade, a prospective heavy equipment operator is trained to level and grade the site according to official site surveys and architectural plans. To do this, the future heavy equipment operator is taught to use electronic terrain navigators and laser levels.
- Surveying – A prospective heavy equipment operator is trained to work with the site surveyor to verify that all ground levels comply with the positions in the master site plan. The future heavy equipment operator is also taught to read and operate an electronic global navigation satellite system (GNSS) and a global positioning system (GPS).
- Equipment Proficiency – A prospective heavy equipment operator is also trained and certified on the following heavy equipment: cranes, dredges, drills, hoists, excavators, graders, skip loaders, compactors, tractors, water wagons, and other machinery as needed. A heavy equipment operator must be re-certified on this equipment every four years.
As a heavy equipment operator in training, you will also learn to build roads, trench and bury utility cables, excavate foundations, install culverts, and handle many different kinds of construction materials. Additionally, you will study hazardous materials curriculum in order to be certified. Contact NCCER to find a community college or vocational school where you can study to be a heavy equipment operator. Your studies and certification will prepare you for many different and challenging construction sites and help you to become a valuable member of a construction crew.
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