Children are awed by the sight of bulldozers, graders and other big earth-moving machines. If you grew up and never lost interest in heavy equipment, maybe a career as a heavy equipment operator is for you. To pilot one of these large machines, specialized knowledge is required before starting a career. Schools and training facilities across the United States can give you the qualifications you need.

West Coast Training

West Coast Training located, in Woodland, Washington, has provided heavy equipment operator training since 1959. The company offers training in heavy equipment, cranes, commercial trucks as well as hazardous materials. The heavy equipment course takes 320 hours to complete over eight weeks and includes classroom instruction, plus four hours a day of actual equipment operation. The only requirements for the course are that the student be at least 16-1/2 years of age. A high school diploma or equivalency exam is not required, but the student will be required to sit for an entrance exam if he cannot produce a GED, transcripts or a military DD214 form.

National Heavy Equipment Operators School

National Heavy Equipment Operators School, located in Green Cove Springs, Florida, is part of National Training Incorporated. The school's training program consists of a home study course that leads to a 3-1/2 week resident training program at the Green Cove Springs location. According to the company, its online course is the only accredited home study program for excavation operation in existence. The program is recognized by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council.

Advanced Training Services

Advanced Training Services began as the National Institute for Concrete Construction in 1959. Though based in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, the company is currently licensed by state boards of education in 15 states where it operates training centers. The company is also an eligible training provider under the Workforce Investment Act, allowing students in most states eligibility for tuition assistance. The heavy equipment programs are designed to provide the required knowledge and skill to operate a number of machines, including backhoes, rock trucks, road graders and all-terrain forklifts. Advanced Training Services is accredited through the National Center for Construction Education & Research.

Deep Creek Construction School

Deep Creek Construction School, located in Apple Valley, California, is a listed training provider by the state of California. The nine-week heavy equipment training program includes 150 hours of instruction in 167 specific skills. These skills include calculating a safe working load, start up procedures and equipment shut down. Each of the 167 skills must be demonstrated and mastered by the student in order to earn a certificate from the program.