The demand for heavy equipment operators should increase by 12 percent from 2008 through 2018, creating more than 56,000 jobs in the field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Heavy equipment operator schools offer training programs to prepare students for entry into the field. While most schools offer only private financing and payment plans to help students manage tuition cost, some can accept federal financial aid, including Pell Grants.
Lansing Commnity College
Lansing Community College is a public, two-year institution in Lansing, Michigan, with an annual enrollment of more than 30,000 full- and part-time students. The college offers a one-semester certificate of completion that provides training in the operation of forklifts, backhoes, excavators, wheel loaders, skidsteers and bulldozers. A one-year certificate of achievement is also available that covers the same material as the completion certificate as well as heavy truck driving, automotive engine repair and the choice of a course in welding or an internship. Lansing Community College participates in federal and state financial aid programs, including Pell Grants.
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Home to more than 6,400 students, the Pennsylvania College of Technology is a public, four-year institution in Williamsport, approximately 175 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The college features a two-year associate of applied science degree program in heavy equipment operation. Students learn to operate 30 types of equipment as a part of the program. Other courses in the curriculum include diesel engine repair, mathematics, construction safety and an optional internship. About 70 percent of freshmen and 67 percent of continuing students at the college are financial aid recipients, reports the "2009 Barron's Profiles of American Colleges." Pell Grants are among the available options.
Arkansas Heavy Equipment Operator Training Academy
The University of Arkansas at Monticello sponsors the Arkansas Heavy Equipment Operator Training Academy at its McGhee College of Technology in Warren, Arkansas. Students have the opportunity to study timber or construction vehicle heavy equipment operation. Both programs require students to attend classes two days per week for two semesters. Upon completion, students receive a technical certificate and have the option to take additional classes at the McGhee College of Technology to earn an associate degree. Upon graduation, students also have earned professional certification through either the National Center for Construction Education and Research or the Arkansas Timber Producers' Association. Federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, are available for qualified students.
Central Arizona College
Central Arizona College is a public, two-year community college. The school offers its heavy equipment operator training programs at Signal Peak campus in Coolidge, Arizona, a town around 60 miles southeast of Phoenix. Students have the option to pursue a one-year certificate of completion or a two-year associate of applied science degree in the field. Both programs include instruction in the operation of graders, scrapers, loaders, bulldozers, dump trucks and backhoes. The degree program also requires general education courses in subjects like mathematics, English and social sciences. Qualified students at Central Arizona College can benefit from state and federal aid programs like Pell Grants.
- "2009 Barron's Profiles of American Colleges, 28th edition"; 2008
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Construction Equipment Operators
- Lansing Community College: Curriculum Information
- Pennsylvania College of Technology: Heavy Construction Equipment Technology: Operator Emphasis (HY)
- Arkansas Heavy Equipment Operator Training Academy: Arkansas Heavy Equipment Operators
- Central Arizona College: Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate and Degree
Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.