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Heavy Equipment Operator


The Heavy Equipment Operator program at PCTC – Advanced Career Education extension campus located at Buffalo, West Virginia, will prepare students to operate heavy equipment in construction and other environments, providing specific equipment endorsements and career opportunities.


What skills will students learn?

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of operation and preventative maintenance of heavy equipment and industry safety standards. This course will focus mainly on safety and familiarization with equipment. Equipment that will be utilized for training are skid steers, rough terrain fork lift and laser leveling equipment. Students will have the opportunity to earn NCCER credentials, OSHA 10 Safety Card and operator endorsements.

What Certifications are available?

  • All students are given the opportunity to earn the OSHA 10 Construction.
  • All students are given the opportunity to earn NCCER Core and Level 1 Certifications.
  • Students will have the opportunity to earn IVES equipment endorsements.

What jobs/job titles are available to the students after graduation?

Students that complete the Heavy Equipment Operator course at PCTC-ACE and successfully attain the OSHA Construction certification and demonstrated competency in the operation of the skid steer and rough terrain fork lift could qualify for an entry level equipment operator.

What additional training is available to the students after completion of program?

Students who complete the Heavy Equipment Operator program may apply for the Advanced Heavy Equipment Operator program which immediately follows the completion of the Heavy Equipment Operator program.

What work skills will be needed for these jobs?

  • Basic Mathematical Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Ability to perform outdoors in all weather conditions.
  • Ability to withstand exposure to high level of noise, grease and dust that is typically associated with a worksite.
  • Ability to work near and around other heavy equipment and moving machinery.
  • Ability to be exposed to a variety of substances commonly found on construction sites such as oil, grease, curing compounds gasoline, diesel fuel and ready mixed concrete.
  • All site instruction will occur in a variety of weather settings.
  • Students may be exposed to loud noise during site training while working near moving heavy equipment. Hearing protection, hard hat, safety glasses, and high visibility reflective vest will be provided to participating students.
  • Ability to operate hand and foot controls and open and close cab door
  • Ability to climb onto and exit equipment
  • Ability to maneuver equipment on uneven terrain.
  • Ability to crawl, squat, bend or kneel to perform inspection of equipment.

What skills should a student have to be successful in your program?

An individual, to be successful in this program, requires an individual that is drug free and works safely within a construction environment with various pieces of equipment in all weather and environmental conditions.

Program Requirements

For Adult General Admission Requirements, click here.

For Heavy Equipment Operator Admission Requirements, click here.

Simulated Workplace Requirements

This program participates in the Simulated Workplace environment. For details and requirements, click here

Technology Requirements

Students will be provided with any technology instruction, devices and software required.

Program Length

Heavy Equipment Operator: 9 Weeks – 270 clock hours (Adult full-time enrollment)

Consisting of two (2) 135 clock hour courses

Schedule of Courses

Course Frequency: Each course offered twice each academic year

Adult Full-time schedule shown below.

1st Semester Schedule: Monday-Friday 8:00am – 2:45pm

9284 Heavy Equipment Operator I 

9297 Heavy Equipment Operator II

Eligibility Requirements for Certifications

Throughout the completion of courses, students are eligible to qualify for equipment endorsements offered through IVES.

Program Costs*

There are no tuition or fees. Students must provide steel-toe boots to wear during training as approved by the instructor to ensure safety measures. Applicants will assume all costs related to a Division of Transportation physical or medical release. All Jobs and Hope applicants are eligible for a scholarship to cover these costs.

* Program costs subject to change


Course Descriptions

9284 Heavy Equipment Operator I

This course focuses on the safety aspects of the heavy equipment industry. Students will complete safety modules that include classroom safety, shop/lab safety, tool safety and work site safety. Students may have the opportunity to earn several safety certifications such as OSHA First Aid/CPR, Hazardous & Non-Hazardous Material Handling.

9297 Heavy Equipment Operator II

This course will orient students to the heavy equipment trade. Students will learn the basics of Earth moving, how to identify and safely operate heavy machinery, and how to use the heavy equipment simulators. Finally, students will operate rough terrain forklifts and skid steers.