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

Making The Grade As A Grader Operator

October 30th, 2014

One of the essential pieces of heavy equipment in most municipalities is a motor-grader. The grader has a long blade that is dragged along the surface of a gravel road to keep it level. It also becomes a snow plow in the winter in some cases. This process is necessary in any area that has need for roads to be smooth and clear.

Graders prepare the surface for asphalt, fine-tune the curves in the highways, level the ground for the pouring of concrete, and much more. They don’t do a lot of different things, like a backhoe, but they sure do what they are designed to do and they do it to perfection if the operator is skilled. Any time a smooth flat surface is needed, the blade of the grader can scrape that surface to a beautiful finish.

Many rural areas depend on the grader to keep the roads in shape. Construction companies, mining operations, and other industries rely on graders, too. Good grader operators are never without a possible job because so many places rely on this functional machine.

Graders Need Skilled Operators

The grader isn’t a machine that does the job alone. The way it is operated has a direct effect on the way the surface is scraped. It’s like the difference between an amateur trying to finish cement and the professional who gets that surface perfect — the same trowel might be used, but the difference is obvious.

The way to begin developing the skill a grader operator needs is by taking the time to be trained at ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School. There isn’t a better way to get the fundamental skills and in-depth knowledge of heavy equipment operation that ATS offers in the heavy equipment operation programs.



Do You Need A Bubble In Your Butt To Operate Heavy Equipment?

October 28th, 2014

If you spend any time at all on heavy equipment operator forums, you’ll see someone mention that “you need a bubble in your butt” to be a successful operator of machines like excavators, backhoes, and anything that is used on uneven sites. What are they talking about?

The Ability To Know You Are Level

One of the basic tools in most toolboxes is a level. These essential tools are useful for anything that needs to be accurately level, and before there were apps, these levels used a bubble of air in a colored liquid inside a tube of glass with lines on it. You lined up the bubble with the lines by moving the thing you were leveling. Since the bubble doesn’t actually move because it’s a bubble of air and stays on top of the water, it acts like a focal point to orient things around.

Levels with bubbles are used to park RVs level so the refrigerator runs right, and to make sure concrete is level so the building isn’t crooked. You will see levels with bubbles used in a lot of different industries because it’s a simple, accurate way to ensure leveling perfection. And the bubble in the butt of the heavy equipment operator is the instinctive leveling tool that senses when you are operating on a slope.

Seat-of-the-Pants Training

One of the biggest reasons ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School insists on seat-of-the-pants experience during the training process is that you can’t exactly teach how to sense when the machine is level. It has to be experienced, learning how to sense what is going on around you and safely making mistakes so you can see when you are not level.

The best heavy equipment operations programs provide on-the-seat training with a variety of machinery along with the knowledge to become competent and professional. The “bubble in your butt” is a good thing because it means you have one of the most basic skills needed to do your job.

Heavy Equipment Job Listings: October 25, 2014

October 25th, 2014

As the temperatures drop, the need for people who can operate heavy equipment stays steady. In some parts of the country that need is rising, as can be seen this week in the job listings:

MADISON, IL – hiring heavy equipment operators

MINNEAPOLIS, MN H– hiring heavy equipment operators

WHITEWATER, WI — hiring class A CDL truck drivers

WATERVLIET, NY — hiring class A CDL truck drivers

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — hiring heavy equipment operators

WILLIAMSPORT, PA — hiring heavy equipment operators

EDGERTON, MO — hiring heavy equipment operators

MIDLAND, MI — hiring riggers and crane operators

RIVIERA BEACH, FL — hiring heavy equipment operators

BRYAN, TX — hiring heavy equipment operators

NEENAH, WI — hiring class A CDL truck drivers

WAUSAU, WI – hiring class A CDL truck drivers

CUBA CITY, WI — hiring class A CDL truck drivers

GREENLAND, NH — hiring crane operators

WHITEWATER, WI — hiring class A CDL truck drivers

Every single one of these jobs is something you could do with the appropriate training from ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School. Our graduates have lifetime access to the Employment Assistance department and placement website so there’s always an opportunity to find the job that you need.

That combination of high-quality training and ongoing career services makes ATS the best place to get started in the skilled trades industries.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better In Heavy Equipment

October 23rd, 2014

There is a definite appeal to big machinery, and every heavy equipment operator knows the thrill of controlling a massive, powerful unit that makes a huge impact on the job being done. But there also is an appeal to the smaller equipment that can be manipulated skillfully to do exactly what is needed without disturbing the rest of the area.

Backhoes, for instance, are one of the most versatile pieces of heavy equipment around. A smaller backhoe is often required to do delicate maneuvering on job sites that need to have minimal impact on the environment. In this case, bigger is definitely not better.

Green Construction Jobs

There is a growing need for operators who can provide the skill to utilize a smaller version of the traditional heavy equipment and do the job without messing up too much of the surrounding area. Many high-end homebuilders carefully buy wooded lots, for instance, and want those trees to stay where they are so the home being built has the advantages of the landscape. Big equipment can’t be used in this case.

Green jobs and training are a constantly growing part of the heavy equipment industry. Some of those green jobs will need really big machines and the operators who know how to handle them, it’s true. But a lot of those green jobs will need an operator who can get a big job done with a compact piece of machinery.

One of the reasons students at ATS get experience on many types and sizes of heavy equipment is because there’s such a wide variety of type and size being used in the industry today.

Certifications + CDL = Heavy Equipment Career Opportunities

October 21st, 2014

Have you ever seen a big piece of heavy equipment on a flatbed trailer, securely tied down and being transported to a new job site? The person driving that truck usually is the same person who will be operating that backhoe, grader, or whatever it is once they get to the job site. Heavy equipment operators who also have their Class A CDL often are hired before those who only have their certifications because they can drive the truck that takes the equipment to new locations.

Why Does This Combination Work So Well?

The combination of heavy equipment operator certification and CDL means many more career opportunities open up for you. Industries that need that combination include a lot of possibilities:

  • Equipment transportation
  • Sand & gravel hauling
  • Concrete/Asphalt
  • Freight hauling
  • Tanker driving
  • Dump truck driving
  • Tractor-trailer operations
  • Road paving
  • Mining
  • Construction materials handling

How Much More Training Does It Take?

Associated Training Services provides short-term truck driver training for heavy equipment operators who want to take advantage of the expanded opportunities they can have with a CDL. In three weeks of full-time training, you are given the knowledge and the skills needed to take your CDL road test and move your career to a new level:

  • Department of Transportation rules & regulations
  • safety & CDL equipment operations
  • driving heavy equipment on roads
  • backing heavy equipment
  • pre-trip inspections
  • coupling & uncoupling
  • other essential CDL truck driving skills





Two Resources For ATS Grads

October 18th, 2014

If you are looking into being a heavy equipment operator, it means you have seen the potential for making a living at this skilled trade. But that potential is really reduced if the training program you choose just throws information at you, hands you a piece of paper saying you graduated, and disappears into oblivion.

ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School does just the opposite with our students and graduates. In fact, there are two life-long resources for ATS grads if they need them: Employment Assistance and the placement website, Total Resources Network.

Employment Assistance

From the time you enter ATS for class, there’s employment assistance available. Every student is interviewed and given personal career counseling, including soft skills training for interviews and resumes, etc. By the time a student graduates, a customized packet of potential job information has been compiled and will be given to that grad.

This packet is made up of job leads that are in the industries and geographic locations the graduate is interested in and if more help is needed they can always contact us for more leads. Always. This is a lifetime, nation-wide service for ATS students and graduates. We keep a database of constantly updated employer information for job leads and are always ready to help.

Total Resources Network

The placement website, Total Resources Network, isn’t just a list of possible openings. This is a site for professionals in the skilled trades industries to connect and develop their networks. Along with that database of job leads there’s ways for ATS grads to post their resumes and applications and find matches for their unique credentials and interests.

Employers can access the site and look at those postings to contact the people they are interested in hiring. Personnel, jobs, and training are interconnected and effective. It’s one of the reasons ATS is able to say we provide lifetime employment assistance and support.



You Don’t Have To Navigate Financial Aid Alone

October 16th, 2014

It is definitely overwhelming to look at all the financial aid stuff, right? There are a lot of long forms to fill out, and the nagging suspicion you might miss some very important thing. There’s also the fear that potential financial aid is going to be overlooked, and it’s a real possibility if you do your financial aid applications by yourself.

The reason why ATS has a Financial Assistance department is because the people who need financial help the most are those who are least likely to know how to find their way to the best financial aid for their circumstance. But the people who work in  ATS Financial Assistance do this all the time and know what to do.

We Know Where The Money Is

There are many ways to get money for school, and lots of different programs that can help pay for tuition and housing if the school is eligible. Because ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School is an eligible training provider in 22 states and we have relationships with hundreds of government funding agencies all over the country, we know how to find the financial assistance you qualify for and how to apply for those programs.

Working with thousands of students to do the paperwork for grants and loans develops an understanding of how the process works. Getting experience by problem solving when snags occur works out for the good when the next student hits the same snag. Our financial assistance department works with you to get through the process of applying for help and stays with you to get started on your future career a a professional heavy equipment operator.



Changing Seasons Mean New Opportunities

October 14th, 2014

As the winter season hits, heavy equipment operators in various parts of the country have opportunities to do some incredibly important service to the community. Whether you act as a volunteer or pick up some part-time income, dealing with storm damage is something that not everyone can do.

Storm Prep And Cleanup Are Needed

In some areas, crews are out trimming trees away from power lines in the hope that this year won’t be quite as catastrophic as the previous winter outages were for the region. Out west, snow has already closed some mountain roads and plows are out. It takes a skilled operator to maneuver big machinery in treacherous conditions because the operator must be completely familiar with the way their machine responds.

An experienced heavy equipment operator is one of the most important workers in the challenges of storm damage cleanup, and those who have the certifications and skills to provide these essential services will be deeply appreciated. Much of the estimated cost in a storm’s aftermath is the pay that the crews get to put things back the way they need to be.

Be Ready To Respond

ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School is one of the best in the business. We have a solid reputation for providing the training that gives our graduates a competitive edge in their industry. Because our heavy equipment operation programs include experience at the controls of many different types of equipment, it’s not difficult to find ways to put that experience to work.


Heavy Equipment Job Listings: October 11, 2014

October 11th, 2014

There’s a little bit of everything this week in the job listings, from Class-A CDL truck drivers and heavy equipment operators to crane operators. Once you start in the skilled trade industries, opportunities open up all the time, as can be seen at the job site all of our graduates are eligible to join. It’s a great place to explore your options.

WHITEWATER, WI – hiring class-A CDL truck drivers

GREEN BAY, WI – hiring class-A CDL truck drivers

ANN ARBOR, MI — hiring class-A CDL truck drivers

VERONA, WI — hiring heavy equipment operators

OTTOWA, IL — hiring heavy equipment operators

HOLLOWAY, MN – hiring class-A CDL truck drivers

BIRMINGHAN, AL — hiring heavy equipment and crane operators

HOUSTON, TX — hiring crane operators

EAUCLAIRE, WI — hiring class-A CDL truck drivers

MALONE, WI – hiring heavy equipment operators

ODESSA, TX – hiring heavy equipment and crane operators

BYESVILLE, OH – hiring heavy equipment operators

POCOLA, OK  — hiring heavy equipment and crane operators

DANE, WI – hiring heavy equipment operators

YOUNGSTOWN, OH – hiring heavy equipment operators

If you aren’t ready for one of these job listings because you’ve been putting off the goal of being trained, what are you waiting for? ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School has years of experience helping students find financing and graduates find jobs. In fact, the Employment Assistance Department starts working with students from the first week or so of classes and continues to be available to graduates as long as it’s needed. That’s help with training, help with employment, and good for your future.

Yes, Women Make Great Heavy Equipment Operators!

October 9th, 2014

Remember Rosie the Riveter? She became the face of the World War II woman working in the big, rough factory while the men were on the battlefront. It’s ironic that the popular opinion was that women can’t do certain jobs, when women did this stuff all the time without complaint.

A look at old photographs show women in factories from the beginning, and women plowing, mining, or doing heavy jobs alongside the men. Often, an entire family would be doing amazingly heavy work, including the kids. That’s not a reason to put a kid in the seat of a bulldozer, but it would be the ability of the pint-sized operator that makes it a bad idea.

This Is A Skilled Trade

What matters with heavy equipment is the skill of the operator, not the gender. There may be some factors with height in certain machines, but that is a safety concern. The hazards of whole-body vibration and awkward posture are universal, according to the CDC. Being female doesn’t make a difference when it comes to sitting at the controls. The training and experience along with the way a job is done make the difference, and it’s a big one.

Where does gender make a difference? Some employers have noticed that women tend to be more interested in improving themselves on the job, seeking out extra training. Because there can be some flak from the guys on the work crew, they also tend to work harder to prove their worth. But again, this isn’t exclusive to women. Men can be equally interested in improvement and working hard.

Employers hiring ATS grads are looking for the best person for the job, male or female.


* 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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