If you’re looking to increase your marketable skills—as well as your income—by furthering your education, you may have looked into bulldozer certification. Being able to operate a bulldozer, as well as other types of heavy equipment, is a skill that is much in demand in today’s construction market. And these days, it’s not enough to simply have the skill. You’ll often need to be able to provide proof that you know what you’re doing and that you’re proficient with the equipment.
According to payscale.com, the median wage for a bulldozer operator is about $18.36 per hour, with workers on the higher end making about $29.42. For many people, this makes a bulldozer certification very much worth pursuing. But what are the requirements? How do you get a bulldozer certification? Read on to find out.
What Does a Bulldozer Operator Do?
Before we discuss the requirements, we should define exactly what the job “bulldozer operator” entails. When you have bulldozer credentials, you’ll do more than simply use a bulldozer to clear out massive amounts of land; you’ll be required to maintain and repair the vehicles as well. You will have to be able to troubleshoot, as well as work to solve a wide array of unexpected problems in the field. You will also need to have a working knowledge of electronics and computers to work with the sophisticated technology present on modern bulldozers.
What Type of Education Do I Need?
Many employers will require you to have a high school diploma to work on their construction sites. This is not, however, a prerequisite for receiving bulldozer credentials. You will be required to attend a school specializing in heavy equipment training. Often, the focus won’t simply be on bulldozers, but on many different kinds of equipment, which will leave you more versatile when it comes to your job hunt. If you’re on the West Coast, your best option is the course at West Coast Training. Through their eight-week course, you can receive bulldozer training, as well as related training in loaders, excavators, scrapers, backhoes, and others.
What Will I Learn in These Courses?
At West Coast Training’s Heavy Equipment Operator training, you’ll go through an intensive program with 10 hours of training per day, for a total of 50 hours per week. That adds up to 400 hours of instruction throughout the length of the course. Five hours of the day Monday through Thursday will be spent in the classroom. There, you’ll learn workplace safety, basic surveying, civil engineering concepts, applied mathematics, as well as how to use equipment such as laser levels, hand-sight levels, transits, chain and rod, and plumb bobs. The remaining five hours of your day will be spent in the field. Fridays are spent entirely in the field. That means for approximately thirty hours each week, you’ll be practicing using the equipment you’re going to be certified for. Your bulldozer certification will be much more than a simple piece of paper stating you passed some tests; it will come with real-world experience that will leave you highly confident in your ability to operate the heavy machinery your job requires.
What Certification Do I Receive at the End?
At the end of West Coast Training’s course, you’ll receive a credential from the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER). For the dozer certification, you’ll be required to pass a two-hour closed-book examination; the minimum passing score is 70. You’ll also have to pass West Coast Training’s fieldwork requirements. Having done so, your results will be sent to NCCER, and you’ll receive your certification. You will not simply be certified to use bulldozers, but a variety of other heavy equipment as well. In addition, if you are looking to continue your education even further, you can join a crane operator program to ensure you are as highly trained as it is possible to be in this field.
Will This Help Me Get Hired?
You may have noticed that not every construction company requires a bulldozer certification from its heavy equipment operators. While it’s true that many people have earned their experience working directly in the field, the reality is that this takes years. If you’re looking to break into the market quickly, it’s highly recommended you get certified for any type of heavy equipment you’re looking to use. After all, your potential hiring managers are not simply looking to see if you’ve practiced behind the controls of a bulldozer; they need to know if you can operate the equipment safely and that you have experience with the repair, cleaning, and maintenance of all their expensive equipment. Even if you already have some years of experience working with bulldozers and other heavy equipment, having a bulldozer certification from NCCER will go a long way toward showing your potential employers you are a true professional in your field.
What Other Benefits Come from a Heavy Equipment Course?
If you’ve put in the time, money, and effort needed to earn a bulldozer certification, and you’ve spent eight weeks and hundreds of hours hard at work, you’ll have more than just a piece of paper. At West Coast Training, you’ll walk away from the course highly trained in the use of various heavy equipment, but odds are, you’ll want even more to show for it than that.
Well, no amount of study and practice are going to matter much if you are unable to find a job afterward. That’s why West Coast Training also offers employment services. Once you’ve received your training and the requisite certificate, the school will also put you on track to finding work. That means assistance putting a resume together and help guiding you through finding a job you’re hoping to work at.
You’ll go far beyond simply getting behind the controls of a bulldozer a few times; you’ll become an experienced professional with a wide new field of employment opened up to you.