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Heavy Equipment Operator Training & Job Description

 In CDL Training, Trucking Blog, Trucking Jobs

Heavy equipment operators operate construction equipment like cranes, bulldozers, excavators, and much more. They are important in many construction projects. Find out more about  heavy equipment operator training and what a typical job description is like below.

Heavy Equipment Operator Training Description

Heavy equipment operator training programs vary, but may cover many of the same topics.

Training usually covers operating a wide range of heavy machinery including backhoes, excavators, bulldozers, cranes, etc. Programs also commonly discuss OSHA and other safety guidelines, grade reading, flagging, soils, site layouts, and heavy equipment maintenance. Most programs run around 8 to 24 weeks.

Many programs offer certification through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) or The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). Many companies only hire heavy equipment operators with one of these certifications. These organizations are very similar; however, the NCCCO specializes more in crane operation. By becoming certified, you may be a more desirable candidate and can open more potential job opportunities.

Additionally, Many states require heavy equipment operators to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Learn more about how to become a truck driver.

Job Description & Requirements

A good heavy equipment operator training program will thoroughly and successfully train you to be a fully qualified heavy equipment operator. Below is a job description for a typical construction equipment operator job. Requirements and responsibilities will vary depending on state and the employer. Some of the most common duties include:

Job Description

  • Skillfully maneuver heavy equipment to move and manipulate large items
  • Load and unload materials from other heavy equipment
  • Be able to operate a variety of heavy machinery and equipment
  • Wear PPE and adhere to OSHA and workplace safety guidelines
  • Be able to clearly communicate and work with various team members
  • Be able and willing to work in all weather conditions
  • Work under tight deadlines
  • Perform light equipment maintenance


  • Possess a valid driver’s license and clean driving record
  • Possess a CDL-A (requirements vary by state)
  • Possess NCCER or NCCCO certification (if applicable)
  • Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Be able to pass a drug test
  • Know how to read blueprints and other construction plans
  • Be able to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Have a strong attention to detail and follow directions closely
  • Be able to work extended hours, weekends, and evenings as necessary

Is a Career as a Heavy Equipment Operator Right for Me? 

If you enjoy working with large vehicles, enjoy physical labor, and working outside, a job as a heavy equipment operator may be right for you. Learn about Class-A CDL training.

Construction is a growing industry with many different job opportunities. Find out more about other high paying skilled trade jobs.

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