Heavy Equipment Training Levels

(Programs and equipment vary by campus)

Heavy Equipment Operations Level 1

Length: 3 Weeks
Equipment: Backhoe, Wheel Loader, skid steer


Basic Safety

This module introduces basic construction and maintenance safety by stressing how to follow Safe work practices and procedures, to inspect safety equipment before use, and to use safety equipment properly. Recognizing that the typical construction site has many hazards, trainees will learn that a job site does not have to be a dangerous place to work. Basic safety begins by eliminating hazards in the equipment and the workplace.

Introduction to Construction Math

This module introduces basic mathematical procedures commonly used in the construction and maintenance crafts. It relates the use of math to various career options available in the industry. The information is tied to everyday activities that trainees are likely to encounter on the job and illustrates how mathematics is a valuable tool for the workers.

Introduction to Hand Tools

This module introduces basic hand tools used in construction and maintenance. The module shows trainees how to use common tools safely and how to maintain those tools. It also introduces some specialty tools used by different crafts. Recognizing and caring for tools is an important job skill for all workers.

Introduction to Blueprints

This module introduces basic blueprint terms, components, and symbols. It presents different types of construction drawings commonly found on job sites and describes why each type of drawing is important. The module covers standardized information contained on blueprints such as identification, revision status, symbols, project titles, dimension, and scale. It shows the importance of reading and interpreting blueprints to visualize a project before actually starting to build it.

Basic Rigging

This module introduces basic principles and practices behind safe and efficient rigging operations. At this level of training, no trainee should perform rigging operations. Only a qualified person should perform the rigging and moving of any size load on a job. Trainees need only be aware of basic equipment requirements and selection criteria at this stage of their training. They will be introduced to factors such as load stress in this module.


Orientation to the Trade

Provides an overview of heavy equipment operation, operator responsibilities, and career opportunities. Covers basic principles of safety and engine operations

Safety, Part 1

Provides a comprehensive overview of safety requirements on job sites, with emphasis on OSHA and NIOSH requirements. Presents basic requirements, for personal protections, safely driving equipment, and HAZCOM.

Identification of Heavy Equipment

Introduces the ten most used pieces of heavy equipment such as dump trucks, backhoes, and bulldozers. Describes the functional operation and uses for each piece of equipment.

Equipment Preventive Maintenance

This course covers preventive maintenance responsibilities of the operator including specifying basic equipment subsystems and major mechanical systems; knowing how and when to service equipment, and how and when to complete routine maintenance.

Backhoe, Part 1

This course presents types and designs of backhoe excavators, safer operating techniques of the backhoe and front bucket tractor, and use of the backhoe for trenching and digging foundations. Setting up the backhoe safely is emphasized.

Loader, Part 1

Here the student will be presented an introduction to the use and maintenance of the loader, periodic maintenances, safer operation, and operator safety. The different types of loaders are described along with the various attachments that loaders may utilize.


This course covers operation of general utility tractors in the construction and excavation industry. Describes duties and responsibilities of the operator, safety rules for operation, the attachment of implements and basic preventive maintenance practices.

Dump Trucks

This course covers operation of dump trucks used in the excavation industry. Describes duties and responsibilities of the operator, safety rules for operation, the attachment of implements, and basic preventive maintenance practices.

Soils, Part 1

Provides an overview of soil composition and characteristics. Describes different types of soil classification methods and how to use them. Introduces concept of soil compaction in highway and building construction.

Grades, Part 1

This course introduces the concept of preparing graded surfaces using heavy equipment. Covers identification of construction stakes and interpretation of marks on each type of stake. Describes process for grading slopes.

These classes may not reflect that of all member schools. Please refer to your school’s catalogue for a full class schedule.

Heavy Equipment Operations Level 2 (pre-requisite level 1)

Length: 3 Weeks
Equipment: Motor Grader, Excavator, Bulldozer

Introduction to Earth Moving

This course provides a broad introduction to the process of planning and executing earth moving activities on various types of construction projects.  The uses of heavy equipment such as bulldozers, scrapers, excavators, and loaders are explained.

Safety, Part 2

This course presents safety requirements for operating heavy equipment, activities of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration relative to OSHA inspections and reporting requirements, and use of protective gear.


This course presents the operation and maintenance of scrapers and scraper techniques.  The safety of the operator and the equipment while performing scraper work is emphasized.


This course introduces the use and maintenance of the bulldozer, bulldozer operating techniques and bulldozer attachments and their uses.  Safer operation of the equipment is emphasized.

Water Trucks

This course covers operation of water trucks used in the excavation industry.  Describes, duties and responsibilities of the operator, safety rules for operation, the attachment of implements, and basic preventive maintenance practices.

Backhoe, Part 2

This course allows the student to acquire advanced seat time in backhoe operations.

Loader, Part 2

This course allows the student to acquire advanced seat time in loader operations.

Soils, Part 2

Describes basic soil classification methods, details factors affecting classification, soil density and compaction requirements.  Also includes requirements for handling and combining different types of materials.

Grades, Part 2

Presents proper practices for setting grades off bench marks and describes methods for setting grades using various types of levels.  The trainee is taught how to read and interpret construction plans to determine grading requirements, and a review of grading operations.

These classes may not reflect that of all member schools. Please refer to your school’s catalogue for a full class schedule.

Mobile Crane Operations 1

Length: 3 Weeks
Program Objective: To provide the fundamental skills and knowledge applicable to mobile hydraulic crane operation and rigging and to obtain employment in the excavation and/or construction industries as an entry-level rigger or crane operator.

Crane graduates will have taken the first steps towards National Certification from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).

Our training programs are designed to provide an introduction to the heavy equipment industry and basic heavy equipment operation. Graduates will receive National Certification. In addition to equipment operation, students also learn safety, machine maintenance.

Your training opens employment opportunities in many types of companies, including: excavation companies, utility contractors, underground contractors, plumbing, electrical, sand and gravel pits, landscapers, construction, mining operations, pool contractors, etc.

Orientation to the Trade

Provides an overview of the entire course and highlights the duties and responsibilities of a mobile crane operator.  ANSI B30.5 and OSHA 550 are discussed as well as career opportunities and operator requirements.

Basic Principles of Cranes

Offers trainees an introduction to mobile crane equipment with an in-depth discussion of terminology and nomenclature.  The basic scientific principles associated with mobile crane operation are also explained.

Rigging Practices

Offers a basic understanding of the fundamentals of rigging.  The module discusses a variety of rigging gear, components, and configurations and their applications within the mobile crane industry.

Crane Safety

Introduces various safety aspects of mobile crane operation including equipment inspection, site hazard identification, and required personal protection equipment.  This module also discusses how to work with site plans and specifications.

Operating a Crane

Describes the basic functions of a crane, as well as standard procedures for starting up and shutting down a crane.  This module provides the trainee with the opportunity to become familiar with the actual operation of a crane and the functions of its controls.


Covers the fundamentals of the communication process, addressing abstractions, fear, lack of experience, and environmental factors.  Both verbal and nonverbal methods of communications are covered.  This module also takes an in-depth look at the ASME B30.5 hand signals, including the appropriate operator action when the signal is given and the expected machine movement.

Machine Power Flow

Discusses the various power systems that enable different cranes to perform their work.  Diesel and gasoline/propane engines and electrical/motor-generator, as well as mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic power systems are discussed.

Preventive Maintenance

Covers preventive maintenance and compliance inspections on a crane.  The trainee will gain an understanding of the safety considerations, procedures, and equipment/materials required for these inspections.

Wire Rope

This module covers the components of wire rope and inspection requirements and procedures for wire rope, load blocks, and sheaves.  Proper installation of wire rope, maintenance guidelines, and end terminations and preparations are also explained.

Computer Aids/Operator Aids

Provides information on load moment indicators, anti-two-block devices, load indicators, and other operator aids that are installed in cranes.  An in-depth look at the input devices associated with these operator aids and the information they provide is also included.

Load Dynamics

Covers leverage and stability, operational quadrants, submerged lifts, non-centered lifts, and other factors that affect stability.

On-Site Equipment Movement

Covers site hazards and restrictions that could hinder on-site crane movement; safety considerations involved in crane movement over unleveled ground; pick-and-carry operations; and power line contact.  Flotation capacity is also addressed.

Load Charts

Discusses the importance of load charts and charts that apply to different configurations..  Includes on-rubber, on-outrigger, jib, and deduction charts, as well as range diagrams and operational notes.  In addition, parts of line and capacity calculations are covered.

Telescopic Boom Assembly and Disassembly

Covers the stowing and erection of the swing-away extension, A-frame jib, and auxiliary single-sheave boom head, as well as the assembly and removal of intermediate boom sections.

Advanced Operational Techniques

Covers multi-crane lifts, critical lifts, blind lifts, and demolition.  It also includes sections on how to use magnet and vacuum lifting devices, and how to operate a mobile crane in cold weather.

Emergency Procedures

Includes information on accident prevention and investigation, the hazards of power line contact, and various failures that may occur during lifting operations.

Lift Planning

Gives an in-depth discussion of lift plan implementation.  The topics covered include reference information, calculations, single- and multiple-crane lifting, critical lifts, and engineering considerations.

Hoisting Personnel

Discusses ASME B30.23 and 29 CFR 1029.550(g) requirements while presenting advanced operation techniques for hoisting personnel.

Lattice Boom Assembly and Disassembly

Provides a step-by-step look at short- and long-lattice boom assembly and disassembly.

Transporting Requirements

Discusses the proper handling, loading and unloading, and securing procedures for mobile cranes and their components.  Information on driver requirements and requirements for securing the mobile crane for transporting is also presented.

These classes may not reflect that of all member schools. Please refer to your school’s catalogue for a full class schedule.

Education Pays!

We encourage all students to obtain as much schooling as possible. When it comes time to find employment or negotiate salary with an existing employer, the more knowledge and experience you have on a wide variety of machinery, the better you’ll look to an employer –