Sydney: (902) 562-8549 Sydney:

Heavy Equipment Operator

Duration: 10 weeks

Available: Sydney

Course Description

Learn to operate four of the most popular pieces of Heavy Equipment, Loader, Backhoe, Excavator and Dozer.

The McKenzie College Heavy Equipment Operator Program is designed to provide students with the essential skills needed to operate the four main pieces of heavy equipment used on a commercial worksite; Backhoe, Bulldozer, Excavator and Front End Loader. Heavy equipment operation is a job that is in good demand in Nova Scotia and Across the country, specifically the oils sand development in Alberta and hydroelectric power development in Newfoundland.

Students must have a grade 10 or equivalent level of education.

What makes our program unique?
The McKenzie College Heavy Equipment Operation program is the only program available in the industrial area of Cape Breton. We offer a 10-week program that includes extensive worksite experience and hands on training in 4 pieces of heavy equipment, Backhoe, Dozer, Loader and Excavator. Compare our program in-seat equipment hours and operational time to other programs across the Maritimes.

This program is ideal for students who have an interest in working in the local construction industry or the oil and gas industry in Alberta.

This program is available in the Sydney Campus. McKenzie College provides a modern learning environment that includes both in class and on site educational resources. The Heavy Equipment Operator program is available monthly through the spring, summer and fall.

Career Opportunities
Heavy Equipment Operators move construction materials such as dirt, rocks and heavy materials often found in construction sites, road work, demolition and oil and gas production. Equipment such as bulldozers, backhoe’s, excavators and front end loaders are among the most commonly used equipment on a construction site. Essential on almost any construction job site, the number of different machines for various applications is large enough that heavy equipment jobs are almost always available.

For students who are specifically seeking employment with smaller construction companies or some municipal public works departments, we might suggest our Earthmoving program. Earthmoving offers training in Class 3, dump truck, backhoe and mini excavator. Having a Class 3 licence greatly increases employability with smaller companies who need employees who can multitask with driving and equipment operation.

Program Modules
Basic Heavy Equipment Operation
Diesel Engines
Hydraulic Components
Loading and Unloading Equipment
First Aid
Fall Protection
Ground Disturbance
On-site Operation
Advanced On-site Operation
Construction Math

Applicants to the Heavy Equipment Operators program fulfill the following criteria to receiving acceptance:

  • Grade 10 or equivalent
  • Able to perform moderate physical activity
  • Provide a NS medical examination report

McKenzie College Training Stats

Backhoe/Loader Seat Time 56 hrs
Excavator Seat Time 36 hrs.
Dozer Seat Time 28 hrs.
Total Equipment Seat Time 120 hrs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much seat time is given students in each piece of equipment?

Students are given 56 hours in the Backhoe/Loader, 28 hours in the Dozer, and 36 hours in the excavator for a total of 120 hours of in-seat time.

Q. Is the Heavy Equipment course recognized out west?

The Heavy Equipment course meets the safety and training requirements of most employers in the Oil and Gas industry in Western Canada. Most employers in Western Canada give preference to employees who have some Oil Patch Experience, so prospective employees who have limited resume’s and employment backgrounds, without Oil Patch experience, might be asked about there prior work experience. It is very common for employees with Oil Patch experience and Heavy Equipment training to be considered for open positions.

Q. Where is the Heavy Equipment course delivered?

The program provides two weeks of in class instruction and 120 hours of operation over eight weeks in the field. In Bridgewater, the field location is in Rhodes Corner, and in Sydney the field location is located on Beachmount Road.

Q. What protective equipment do I need to provide to take the Heavy Equipment course?

Students are responsible to provide their own Personal Protective Equipment while on site. This include, hard hat, several pairs of gloves, eye and ear protection, steel toe boots, work clothes/coveralls, and reflective vest.

Q. How does Earthmoving compare to the Heavy Equipment Operator 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.