Length of Program: 12 WeeksProgram Intakes: Fall & Winter IntakesCareers

Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate

We learned lots. It was just the best opportunity!

Glynda Saul

Heavy Equipment Operator in the field

What can you expect from our program?

Olds College’s Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate is an Alberta Advanced Education papers approved program. Our comprehensive program is developed with industry to keep up with the demands in the workforce. The mix of classroom theory and practical skills are a balance supported by industry.

We work closely with employers and industry and in many ways:

  • Industry advisory group - to help update curriculum as industry needs change
  • Industry guest speakers and field trips to connect our students to employers
  • Industry loaned equipment keeps the tuition costs affordable for our students while providing the employer early access to a pool of qualified new operators. In addition this affords the company a Gift in Kind tax deduction.

Heavy Equipment Operator classes are small (approximately 16-18 students), which lends itself to a cohesive work climate simulating real life job sites. Our instructors have experience in a variety of industry work environments and have significant expertise to share with students in real life situations and classroom instruction.

The Heavy Equipment Operator program is constructed to ensure entry level operators attain a professional standard in a twelve week program, followed by a two week practicum.

Some equipment you may learn on includes a skid steer, compactor, loader, dozer, grader, and excavator.

Our 12 week program has a graduation requirement practicum of eighty (80) hours where students will further develop their skills in an industry-related work site position where they apply new skills from their education and training.

The program is delivered as face-to-face, on-site practical instruction. This combination of classroom and field instruction takes place over a twelve 12-week period from Monday to Friday 8:30 am - 3:30 pm (excluding Statutory Holidays). Some times may vary with prior notice. Keep in mind there are assignments and reading so use your time wisely.

Important attributes of an operator include mathematical ability, excellent vision, and a high degree of physical coordination, as well as:

  • full range of body motion and repetitive motions which specifically affect upper body use
  • sitting for extensive periods of time on vibrating and/or bouncing machinery
  • manual and finger dexterity as well as eye-hand and foot coordination
  • excellent physical condition and occasional heavy and moderate physical labor required
  • occasional lifting and carrying items up to 50 lbs/22.5 kg
  • corrected vision and hearing within normal range
  • good oral and written communication skills

Are you eligible for the $10,000 Alberta-Canada Job Grant? If you are employed, then under the Canada-Alberta Job Grant, employers will cover a minimum of one third of direct training costs, with up to a maximum of $10,000 in government contributions. Find out more information on your eligibility!

What will you learn?

Upon completion of the Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate, you will be prepared to:

  • Demonstrate general principles of operations of selected pieces of equipment
  • Demonstrate the correct procedures for preventative maintenance of selected pieces of equipment
  • Demonstrate employability skills and professional conduct
  • Demonstrate workplace skills in an industry-related environment
  • Demonstrate required fieldwork and jobsite fundamentals
  • Employ current Occupational Health and Safety and relevant industry standards and procedures in the workplace
  • Apply the skills required in industry standard safety certificates and programs
  • Communicate interactively in a professional manner with industry associates
  • Gain successful employment in the heavy equipment operation industry

Program at a glance

Credential: Certificate

Length of Program: 12 Weeks

Delivery: In partnership with CAC (Campus Alberta Central). Locations may vary.

Directed Field Study/Work Term/Practicum: 80-hour practicum is completed at the end of the program.

Program Intakes:

  • Fall intake: September 4, 2018 (Drumheller)
  • Winter intake: March 11, 2019 (Olds)

Applications Open:

  • Applications open October 1 for Winter Intake
  • Applications open March 1 for Fall Intake

Selection Process for Admission: First qualified, first accepted

Tuition, Mandatory Fees, Books, and Supplies: Please refer to the current Fee Schedule for details.

  • Tuition & Fees: $11,570 / Books & Supplies: $500

*These fees are provided as estimates only for the purposes of budgeting. Please note that all fees are best estimates and are subject to change.

International Students will require a Co-Op Work Permit as well as a Study Permit for this program.

What do I need to apply?

Admission Requirements:

  • High School Diploma or its equivalent
  • Minimum of 18 years of age upon completion of the program
  • Meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement (completed at minimum 3 years of formal education taught entirely in English or provide the results of a recognized English Language Proficiency exam)
  • Personal Profile Submission (link to electronically submit your profile)
  • Answer three (3) questions for your personal profile:
      • Do you have any experience in relation to the program you have chosen, such as operating construction or agricultural equipment, construction worksite activities, mechanical duties, or utility installation? Please provide details.
      • Receiving your Certificate of Completion is only one step of becoming successful in the workforce. What are other attributes or qualities you possess that would be beneficial in assisting you in gaining employment?
      • What research have you done in relation to the program you have chosen; provide details? What are your plans after completing this course?
    • Class 5 Driver’s License
      • Please submit a copy of your Class 5 Driver’s License (GDL licenses are accepted). It is recommended that you have a full Class 5 License as it improves your employability, however it is not required for entrance into the program. Please note: restrictions such as a blow box on your license is not acceptable to enter into the program.
    • Driver’s Abstract
      • Please submit a recent copy of your Driver's Abstract (current within three months of start of the program)

Academic Upgrading and High School Applicants: Applicants currently in high school or who are completing academic upgrading must submit proof of enrollment and any available interim/midterm marks. Final marks must be submitted within one month following the completion of the course(s) and no later than one month prior to the program start date.

Alternate Admission Option: Alternate Admission status may apply to students who have not or will not complete one or more of the academic admission requirements. To apply under Alternate Admission Status, please provide the following:

  1. (Required) Transcript(s) showing any completed high school and post-secondary courses
  2. (Required) Letter of Introduction and Intent, outlining the following:
    • Introduce yourself
    • Indicate why you wish to enrol in the program
    • Elaborate on your career goals
    • Detail your experience relevant to this program and the industry
  3. (Required) A resume of your work history, extracurricular activities, volunteer service, etc. for the last 5 years
  4. (Optional) Include copies of any tickets and/or certificates you currently hold (e.g.: first aid, safety tickets, etc.)
  5. (Optional) Letter(s) of reference from current or past employers/coaches/etc. (maximum of two letters)

Out of Province Applicants: Please refer to the Provincial Equivalency Chart for course equivalencies.

International Applicants: Olds College welcomes applications from international applicants and those who have completed their high school education outside of Canada. Please note, it is still necessary to meet all of the noted admission requirements, including English Language Proficiency. Further information can be found on our website under International Students.

Where can I live on campus?


CHOC is the exclusive service provider of on-campus housing for Olds College. Live in Centennial Village, our newest campus living facility featuring 450 private suites (no roommates), or in College Courts our 4-bedroom townhouses. Enjoy a short commute to class, partake in weekly residence life events and enjoy the safety of living on campus.

Learn More

I have some more questions. Who do I contact for help?

Our Admissions office can help navigate you through the admissions process and answer any questions you have about your program of study.



Admitted Student

What materials and supplies will I need?

Congratulations! Admitted students will be required to purchase the following materials & supplies:

Personal protective equipment is required for all field components of the program and must be CSA approved, which includes:

  • Steel toe safety footwear (minimum 6” ankle height)
  • Safety glasses
  • Reflective vest or reflective marked coveralls
  • Hard hat (yellow preferred, NOT white)
  • Hearing protection
  • Work gloves

Failure to wear this equipment when required will result in dismissal from class, as this is a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations of Olds College.

Visit the Admitted Students site