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When looking at recent job vacancies for heavy equipment operators, one can’t help noticing that employers are looking for operators who can operate a wide range of equipment. It’s impossible to be trained on every piece of equipment in use; for example, how do you learn to operate a snow plow in the middle of summer? I guess you could go to Alaska.
In fact, no one expects operators to have had basic training on every piece of equipment. Rather, being trained to operate the basic equipment in use is what is important. You need to learn how to dig a trench (excavators, backhoes), how to move dirt (bulldozer, grader), and how to load trucks (loaders, backhoes). More importantly, and this is the real key to a successful career as a heavy equipment operator, to build confidence in your ability to handle that basic machinery.
Why? Almost every piece of heavy equipment in use is simply an offspring of one of those units. Back to the snow plow – it’s really a cross between a loader, grader and bulldozer (depending on the type of snow plow). If you have confidence operating that machinery, it’s a piece of cake hopping into another piece of machinery and becoming proficient in its use. You will most likely require a quick how-to on that new machinery, however, since the levers, pedals and controls are similar, you will pick it up quickly.
The moral here is simple. When undertaking heavy equipment training, don’t go to a training school where you are trained on only one piece of equipment. Attend a heavy equipment training school where you’ll be trained on a variety of heavy equipment. Your aim is to become a confident as possible on as many machines as possible. This will set you up for that successful career as a heavy equipment operator.