Sydney: (902) 562-8549

Earthmoving – Truck & Backhoe

McKenzie College, Sydney CampusEarthmoving – Truck & Backhoe

Course Details

Duration: 10 weeks

Available in: Sydney Bridgewater

With the Earthmoving program we are responding to the need to train people as operators for Class 3 Dump Trucks and earth moving equipment such as the Backhoe and Mini Excavator. The combination of these skills is highly employable in Cape Breton and the South Shore by a wide variety of employers. Employers in have identified that people that have the ability to multi-task with both commercial driving skills and heavy equipment operation training are needed in the local 10Speedarea. The program includes preparation for the Nova Scotia Air Brake test, and professional driving skills instruction for both urban and rural driving.

The Earthmoving Operator program is designed for those students who wish to obtain a Class 3, Nova Scotia license, specifically for the operation of Dump Trucks for both on-road and off-road applications. Students will also learn to operate the Backhoe and Mini Excavator, commonly used by municipal public works departments, general backhoecontractors, snow removal and landscaping companies. Graduates may also take advantage of opportunities in the oil and gas industry in Alberta and Saskatchewan for operators of Class 3 vehicles such as water trucks.

What makes our program unique?
The McKenzie College Earth Moving program is the only such program available in the industrial area of Cape Breton or the South Shore of Nova Scotia. We offer a 10-week program that includes extensive practical experience and hands on training for Class-3 dump truck, 25hoursbackhoe and mini excavator. Our program includes air-brake instruction as part of the program and students do not have to write their air-brake certificate before enrolling in the program.

We have developed the Earth moving Operator program to address a wide range of job descriptions in the construction industry. Students receive industry recognized safety certifications needs by most employers in the transportation sector. By including heavy eqquipment operation and training as part of our program we teach students skills not found in other driving-only programs.


This program is available in our Sydney Campus and the South Shore Career Training Centre. Students work with professional quality newer gear on practical projects they are likely to find required by employers. Professional instructors with real world experience guide the class through their daily learning process.

Program Modules
Earthmoving program includes the following modules of instruction:

  • Air Brakes * Must pass DOT testing
  • Pre and Post Trip Inspections
  • Diesels Engines
  • Driving Theory and Regulations
  • Hydraulic Components
  • Loading and Unloading Equipment
  • Yard Maneuvers
  • Urban Driving
  • Rural Driving
  • Dump Truck Operation
  • Worksite Safety
  • First Aid
  • OHS
  • Fall Protection
  • Ground Disturbance
  • Workplace Math
  • Backhoe Operation
  • Mini Excavator Operation
  • Class 3 Road Test

Application Process
Applicants to the Earthmoving program are asked to provide the following documentation prior to receiving acceptance:

  • Valid Class 5 license with the N removed
  • Completed application form
  • $50.00 registration fee
  • Drivers abstract
  • Personal resume

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are McKenzie College and the South Shore Career Training Centre recognized schools?
A. Yes. McKenzie College is approaching our 30 year anniversary as a Private Career College registered in the province of NS. Both colleges, like all institutions in NS, are registered under the Private Trade School Act. Our Earthmoving program have been reviewed and meet the requirements of the Nova Scotia Dept of Labour and Advanced Education. Our graduates have been hired by many employers in the transportation, construction and logistics industries as well as municipal works departments.

Q. How much seat time is given students in the Earthmoving program?
A. Both colleges, provide students with a total of 25 hours of in-seat driving time. McKenzie College and the South Shore Career Training Centre offer the most in-seat driving time of any program offered in the province of Nova Scotia. Students receive 50 hours of in-seat instruction in a combination of excavator and backhoe.

Q. Is a license needed to be employed operating heavy equipment?
A. Heavy equipment is generally considered off-road equipment and does not require provincial licensing to operate off-road. However, most small to medium size employers require both a minimum of Class Three licensing and experience operating heavy equipment to consider a person for employment. In many workplaces employees work equipment and drive, requiring both license and heavy equipment training. Operations that offer on-road snow plowing services, require licensing to operate snow clearing equipment like a loader or backhoe on-road.

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