Most heavy equipment operators must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and are trained on the job with training lasting less than a month, notes the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, training time often varies by industry.
A supervisor or experienced employee generally provides the training required for heavy equipment jobs. However, some people seek out an apprenticeship in the field under the International Union of Operating Engineers. This type of arrangement usually involves a mix of paid training and technical instruction. Instruction involves learning safety rules and mechanical basics. If a worker is slated to work with hazardous materials, additional training may be required. In some states, a license is required, based on the job and type of equipment. Potential licensees take tests and demonstrate their knowledge through a skills assessment, notes the BLS.