Sydney: (902) 562-8549 Sydney:

Earthmoving – Truck & Backhoe

Duration: 10 weeks

Course Description

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 andMini Excavator. The combination of these skills is highly employable in Cape Breton 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
area. 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 Excavator, commonly used by municipal public works departments, general contractors, 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 and across Nova Scotia. We offer a 10-week program that includes extensive practical experience and hands on training for Class-3 dump truck, backhoe and 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 equipment 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.

Career Opportunities
Many employers look to hire people with the skills provided in the Earthmoving program including:
Construction – dump truck drivers
Construction – backhoe and excavator operators
Fuel oil delivery
Municipal public works
Oil well servicing

Program Modules
Air Brakes
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
Ground Disturbance
Workplace Math
Backhoe Operation
Excavator Operation
Class 3 Road Test


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. How much seat time is given students in the Earthmoving program?

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?

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.

Q. How does Earthmoving compare to the Heavy Equipment program?

Earthmoving is a unique program that combines Heavy Equipment and Truck operation. It is, in our opinion, the most common job description you will find in Atlantic Canada in the construction industry. Many employers who look to hire people will look for both a truck license and equipment experience. Heavy Equipment Operator includes Dozer experience and additional loader seat time, but do not include a drivers license.

For students intent on seeking employment in Western Canada Heavy Equipment Operator is a good choice, but most people will find that in Atlantic Canada, the experience the Earthmoving program offers will make more employable opportunities available to them.