Are you interested in building roads, constructing buildings, or contributing to transportation infrastructure? Do you enjoy working outdoors and in seasonal jobs? Do you like to follow strict safety procedures while operating and servicing machinery? If so, a career as a heavy machinery operator may be for you.
Find out how to become a heavy machinery operator in Kansas City and where to look for your first job.
Complete Your Education
You need a high school diploma or GED to become a heavy machinery operator. An emphasis on shop, mathematics, and auto technology classes can be helpful. Then, you can either enter an apprenticeship or attend college or technical school to complete your training.
If you choose a state or union apprenticeship, you receive classroom and on-the-job training. You will be earning wages at the journeyman level. Classroom training includes learning OSHA safety procedures and policies, the proper use and execution of protective safety equipment, and pre-operational procedures. On-the-job training involves grading, landscaping, excavation, scraping, compacting, and use of the controls. An apprenticeship typically lasts 3-4 years and provides more comprehensive training on a wider variety of equipment than a school does.
If you choose a college or technical school, you typically spend 1-2 years learning about equipment regulation, safety equipment maintenance and repair, blueprint reading, and related topics. You also may receive training on simulators before using the actual machines. However, you might not gain as much hands-on experience by going to school as you would through participation in an apprenticeship.
Check Licensing and Certification Requirements
Depending on your job and employer, you may need to be licensed or certified to operate heavy machinery. For instance, if you drive trucks and trailers that transport heavy equipment between job sites, you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
A certification will last 5 years and can be renewed by the completion of continuing education classes and/or retesting. Written exams may cover mechanical aptitude, basic calculations, problem-solving scenarios, and inspection and measurement skills. Practical exams may include performing a given set of tasks in a series of circuits to test machinery knowledge, skill, and eye-to-hand coordination.
Update Your Resume
Include your education, skills, experience, career objective, and summary of qualifications on your resume. This lets employers know why you enjoy operating heavy machinery and what you want to accomplish. For instance, “Pursuing a heavy equipment operator position at Company ABC to use my experience to improve roads and transportation infrastructure.”
Partner with Davlin Services
Work with a recruiter from Davlin Services to start your career as a heavy machinery operator. Visit our job board today.