A heavy equipment operator is a person you find behind graders, forklifts, backhoes, cranes, hydraulic excavators and other heavy equipment. They work in industries such as forestry, logging, commercial, industrial, institutional, mining, heavy construction businesses and more. 

Qualifications to become a heavy-equipment operator 

To become a heavy equipment operator, like one for crane hire Lincoln, you must be a very responsible individual who possesses the following skills:

  • Good overall health
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Good vision and hearing capabilities
  • High aptitude for mechanics and computers
  • Good reflex skills
  • Good eye-hand and foot coordination
  • Good depth perception
  • Good communication skills
  • Good work ethics
  • Self-disciplined 
  • High aptitude for problem-solving
  • Capable of working independently


Additionally, a heavy equipment operator must be at least 18 years of age, possess a valid driver’s licence, and the right certification for heavy equipment operation, and experience. The qualified operator can find career opportunities in quarries, construction sites, and waste management, to name a few. Upon screening, alcohol and drug tests can be performed. 

Moreover, the operator aside from properly manoeuvring heavy equipment and machinery, must precisely calculate the right load, carefully follow instructions, and ensure that the machine is well-maintained so they can perform their work most efficiently. 

Heavy equipment apprenticeship and skills training 

As the machinery and equipment are big and very powerful, it will require some skills and training to operate and maintain them properly. The skills are often learned through the right apprenticeship programs that include intensive on-the-job and classroom instruction. They are also taught about proper servicing and maintenance. The apprenticeship training is a vital part of the entire process where every single trainee is made to train a mandatory total of hours to complete and obtain a certificate of qualification. Once this is achieved, the operators are now fully equipped and ready to seek appropriate employment. The operator becomes a ‘journey person’ who is known to be someone who has met the right requirements for the provincial-interprovincial certification examination, has successfully passed a certification examination and has the Certificate of Qualification that ultimately makes them eligible to work as an operator. The overall work can be seasonal and requires very long hours of work under various weather conditions. 

The six major heavy equipment operator programmes 

A heavy-duty equipment operator has to undergo one of the six major heavy equipment operator programmes. The machine training covers backhoes, skid steers, front end loaders, excavators, forklifts, dump trucks, and other related equipment. It will also include proper driver training, air brake endorsement, and long-haul mountain training as well as industry training on-site. Apart from these three certification programmes, there are some schools and learning institutions that offer operator wannabes the right education, training, as well as preparation as they work in various sectors.

Final words 

There is a growing demand for certified heavy equipment operators depending on the trends that impact the growth of the entire construction market, particularly the highway and engineering sectors, not to mention forestry, mining, agriculture, waste management, and municipalities.