Associated Training Services Network - America's Largest Network of Heavy Equipment Operator Schools

6 Reasons Your NCCCO Certification Is A Good Idea

September 30th, 2014

Right now, all signalpersons and riggers must meet Federal OSHA standards by being qualified. The best way to accomplish this is by getting certified through the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators — the NCCCO. Their Rigger-1 and Signalperson certification standards are so high, this certification is recognized in the crane and lifting industries as being much more than the minimum level of expertise required to meet OSHA standards.

That’s pretty attractive when you are an employer looking for the best work crew available. Your vital signalpersons and riggers keep everybody else safe on the job site, so you want people who know what they are doing. The Rigging/Signalperson Training at ATS is one of the few places you can get the NCCCO certification while you are a student.

ATS Offers NCCCO Certifications

  1. OSHA Recognized, so the regulations are satisfied
  2. Industry Recognized, so the skill is respected
  3. Portable – goes with person, so you can relocate without penalty
  4. Opens additional job opportunities, so you have more career options
  5. Short term – one week, so you can get on with your training
  6. Additional credential, so it looks good on your resume and might get you the job

All these reasons are good ideas for getting your rigging/signalperson certification. And there’s another good reason: spending that extra week to get it means you’ll know what is happening around you on the work site. You’ll understand what’s happening and be prepared to respond the right way.

Heavy Equipment Operators need to be flexible and responsive. The more versatile you are, the more valuable you are on the job. It’s a good idea to have all the certifications you can get, so your future options are wide open.


Heavy Equipment Job Listings: September 27, 2014

September 27th, 2014

There’s something interesting about this week’s heavy equipment job listings: they all are looking for Class-A CDL truck drivers. Why would a heavy equipment job opening involve having your CDL? It’s simple, a heavy equipment operator who also has the Class-A Commercial Drivers License can do a lot more on the job site and so is a valuable asset.

A lot of heavy equipment can’t be driven over the road because it goes too slowly or the tracks would tear up the asphalt. So the equipment is moved by loading it on a flatbed and a truck takes it down the road. If the operator of the backhoe, for instance, is also able to drive the truck to the next job site, that’s a plus.

There are a lot of advantages to having your CDL if you are a heavy equipment operator. That’s why ATS offers a CDL Truck Driving Program as part of your options when you attend. And as a graduate, you always have access to employment assistance for the latest job listings:

Superior, WI — hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Amherst, WI — hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Marshfield, WI — hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Waunakee, WI — hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Oshkosh, WI — hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Waukesha, WI — hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Hennessey, OK — hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

Cuba City, WI — hiring Class-A CDL truck drivers

You’ll find a lot more employment assistance at the job site. It’s one of the best ways to network in the skilled trades industries.

Who Needs A Dump Truck?

September 25th, 2014

If there’s a big pile of something to be moved out of the way, chances are pretty good that some type of dump truck will be used to do the job. These big trucks are great for hauling loads of things that are able to be tipped out and dumped someplace else. The advantage of a dump truck is you can fill it up with smaller scoops but dump it in one operation.

There’s many styles of dump truck, and it isn’t always called a dump truck. The mining industry uses the term “haul truck”, for instance, but the basic idea is the same. The ways the load can be dumped vary, too, depending on the style of truck. But whatever you call it, and however the load is dumped, the operator needs the appropriate license in order to meet industry standards.

In most cases, that license is a CDL with specific additional certifications or training as needed for the job being done.

Where To Look For Dump Truck Jobs

If you are hoping to drive a dump truck and have the appropriate training with your Class-A CDL, the first place to start looking is the Employment Assistance Services if you are an ATS student or graduate. There’s lifetime job placement help here. But there’s also a lot of dump truck jobs around you if you look carefully.

Anyplace that is generating a big pile of stuff will need to move it out of the way, right? That could be landscapers, construction companies, mining or quarry operations, even the garbage service. After all, a garbage truck is essentially a highly specialized dump truck that collects smaller amounts until it’s full and then unloads it in one operation at the dump.

As long as people generate mountains of stuff, we are going to need some kind of dump truck to deal with it efficiently.

Tired Operators Are Dangerous People

September 23rd, 2014

One of the biggest safety mistakes a heavy equipment operator can make is being overly-fatigued on the job. It doesn’t seem like being tired would make much of a difference, but fatigue affects your competency as much as drugs or alcohol can. Here’s part of what happens when you are tired:

  • your reaction time slows down
  • your thought processes get goofy
  • your chance of having an injury-producing accident increases

Don’t Let Fatigue Wreck Your Future

It isn’t always fun to be the one going to bed in time to get enough sleep (7 hours at least), but it really makes a difference when you are at work the next day. Heavy equipment operators are controlling some of the most dangerous things on the job site because in a collision between the machine and the person, the machine wins every time. 

If you can mix up your job duties to make the shift less yawn-worthy, do it. Plan breaks for coffee or other caffeine drinks midway through the shift, particularly if you are working nights. All that healthy stuff like balanced diet and fluid intake, enough exercise and stress reduction, are thing that affect fatigue levels. Healthy people have more energy.

ATS instructors are very careful to get the safety procedures drilled into the minds of the students in the heavy equipment operator programs. But tired operators don’t have the ability to respond quickly when the unexpected happens, and it’s dangerous. If you are constantly tired on the job, the small mistakes you make can quickly become overwhelming and your brain isn’t able to keep up. That’s when people get hurt.

How To Find A Job As A Heavy Equipment Operator

September 20th, 2014

There are two important parts to finding a job at anything, and heavy equipment jobs are no different. These two parts are preparation and connections, and unless you have them it’s probably not going to happen.


If you are planning on becoming a professional, the best thing to do is get professional training and the appropriate certifications, right? There’s a good reason for that: if two equally experienced candidates apply for the same job, the one with the legitimacy of an accredited training is probably going to be the one to get that job.

It also helps to have the “soft skills” that get you through the hiring process, like writing a resume, filling out electronic or paper applications, and interview skills. These may not have anything to do with heavy equipment but they have a great deal to do with getting hired. Employment Assistance at ATS works with students on these skills so that they can get through the process and get on the work site.


The second part of finding a job is the connections that are made with other professionals, or what many call “networking”. Graduates of ATS programs are able to make these connections at the job site, a placement website where individuals in the skilled trade industries can network with each other and find employment, companies can find personnel, and training providers can serve their customers.

There’s a huge database that’s constantly being updated with resumes and applications from job seekers, openings from companies, and more. It’s a perfect place to make the connections that lead to professional growth and that next job.

9 Reasons To Choose ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School

September 18th, 2014

If you are doing research about getting trained as a professional heavy equipment operator, it’s a good thing. Choosing a career in the skilled trades means that your training is going to be scrutinized carefully. After all, you’ll be operating expensive equipment in dangerous situations, so the company wants to make sure they hire the best.

Since the insurance companies are also very interested in who is on the site and how the operators have been trained, that also comes into the consideration companies give to who gets hired. Credentials and affiliations are proof that a school has retained specific standards and training practices.

ATS Credentials & Affiliations

  1. National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) has the highest standards in the business. All ATS instructors are NCCER credentialed, and we are an Accredited Sponsor. We also helped write the heavy equipment training textbooks, that’s not something that every school can say.
  2. National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is a non-profit organization to develop safety and performance standards for crane operations throughout general industry and construction. ATS is an approved test site and registered training provider and if you are going to operate a crane, this is where to start looking at what you need.
  3. Department of Workforce Development/Workforce Investment Act provides funding for financial assistance. ATS is an eligible training provider qualified to receive that funding, which means you could get money for our programs.
  4. US Department of Veterans Affairs has approved ATS as an eligible training school, which means that military benefits are available if you qualify for them.
  5. State Boards of Education in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Indiana have approved ATS and licensed our school.
  6. Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates ATS with an A+.
  7. ISNetworld supports over 360 Hiring Clients to manage more than 54,000 companies in 75 countries. ATS is a registered contractor with ISNetworld, which gives us global connections.
  8. Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association founded on the merit shop philosophy. ATS is a member of this organization committed to work safely, ethically, and profitably to improve the communities we work within.
  9. National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) is the leading trade association working exclusively in this incredibly important industry. It takes heavy equipment to do a big job, and ATS is a member of NUCA.

We are pleased to be affiliated and accredited by these organizations because the benefits of our connections help our students to be equipped to become respected in their industry.

Heavy Equipment Operators Have Work All Year

September 16th, 2014

Did you think that heavy equipment operators only work in the summer?

It’s true that many construction and highway workers can get laid off during the winter months, but if you are willing to work in the winter, there’s a lot of work available. Every parking lot and street that gets snowed on will need to be plowed, right? Even if you aren’t working for the Highway Department, there will often be part-time work available with organizations that need a reliable person to keep their pavement clear.

But it isn’t just plowing snow that’s required, because there’s a lot more to getting roads and parking areas clear than plowing. If you have your CDL, some experience, and are willing to obtain a Tanker endorsement you could drive a truck that carries chemicals for de-icing. Operators are needed for rollers, tractors, front-loaders, hi-lifts, and more. It all depends on the area and what the weather is like in the winter.

A lot of material is needed for salt trucks and spreaders, so a lot gets loaded and moved to various strategic points. Ice storms come through and make opportunity for tree removal jobs or disaster cleanup. Winter weather causes big problems and it takes big machinery to keep things moving along.

Getting trained as a heavy equipment operator now means you’ll be ready when the snow flies, even if you have been laid off from your regular job. It’s a good backup plan, but it’s also a good career path because heavy equipment operators really do have work all year long.

2 Ways ATS Helps Your Job Search

September 13th, 2014

When you have graduated from ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School, you aren’t left to find jobs all by yourself. We make sure that students get the skills they need for the training program they choose, but also the skills and support they need to stay employed.

Here’s how:

Employment Assistance

From the moment you join ATS as a student, you have access to the best Employment Assistance in the heavy equipment industry. It starts with a personal interview to help figure out your career goals and the areas you are interested working in. All this information is used to create a custom packet for you at graduation that includes possible employers and jobs in the geographic area you want to live in, along with other helpful information about your skills and training to use when you apply.

The application process is also part of our career services training. Most heavy equipment operators would cheerfully admit they aren’t so great at the office-y part of the employment search, like resume writing and interviews. We help you get ready for that by teaching the “soft skills” you need to get through the hiring process and on the job site operating big machinery.

The Job Site

There’s more help available to our graduates in the form of The Job Site, Total Resources Network. This is a great way to keep in touch with what’s happening in your specialty, connect with employers or potential employers, post your resume and look for jobs. You can filter the database for location or other criteria and it’s pretty much one of the best tools you have in your job search.

As a graduate of ATS you can access this database at any time. If circumstances require you to change locations, you can find a new job in the new town. It’s one of the proofs we have to assure you that you won’t be left alone to find employment by yourself because we are committed to keeping our students and graduates successful.

When Will Heavy Equipment Be Obsolete?

September 11th, 2014

If you go to one of the antique tractor shows popular in rural areas, you will see many things. There may be a tractor pull, where operators compete to get increasingly heavy loads across the ground. It’s likely there will be some kind of food, probably a local favorite, and certainly tasty. There may be categories of equipment, grouped by type or by manufacturer.

And you probably will see many pieces of heavy equipment that once were the latest and greatest and now are curiosities.

So if you are thinking that heavy equipment will be obsolete someday, you are right in one way. It’s certain that a particular type of machinery will become outdated as technology changes. But if you are thinking that heavy equipment will be obsolete someday as a category of machinery, you couldn’t be more wrong.

There Will Always Be A Need For Heavy Equipment

There are always jobs that require large machinery to accomplish. A heavy equipment operator may have to learn how to operate the new machine, but a good operator can easily figure it out. It’s just like the difference in driving when you get behind the wheel of a brand new car.

Particular models of heavy equipment will certainly eventually be obsolete, but the need for some type of heavy equipment will always be there. That’s why ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School makes sure students get experience in as many types of big machines as possible. When you are a little familiar with different kinds of equipment, you can figure it out if you have to operate something new the boss just bought.


Save Your Gas Money For Getting To Work

September 9th, 2014

You know, once you graduate you will need gas money to get to work. Why spend it on getting back and forth to school during training? ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School offers Housing Assistance as part of the financial package we offer. This means you can live at the Water Tower Residence Inn while you are in training and wait to spend money on gas when you are getting a paycheck.

There are both single and double rooms, and each one has air conditioning, color TV with cable, and a small refrigerator. You can keep snacks and drinks available during your study time and be comfortable. When you need to do laundry, there are facilities on site. If you want to hang out in the game room, it’s right there.

You won’t be far from restaurants, grocery stores, and stuff like that. You also aren’t far from ATS so the savings on gas are pretty substantial. We’ve found that students appreciate the location and amenities of the Water Tower Inn and that lifelong friendships can be made after class.

You’ll get to know a lot of people studying for different industries, too. The Water Tower Inn is used by Diesel Truck Driver Training School as well as ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School, and since classes start all year round there’s always someone new to talk to.

Offering housing assistance has proven to be a good way to let students save their money and their energy while they focus on learning the skills that will enhance their future career.

* Associated Training Services fully endorses the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), and will prepare candidates for the CCO certification examinations.

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