people driving loaders and other equiptment

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Did you know Heavy Equipment Operators are in demand in many industries? They certainly are! Olds College’s Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate (HEO) 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.


HEO classes are small (approximately 16-18 students) that lends itself to a cohesive work climate simulating real life job sites. Our instructors come from a variety of industry experiences that are shared to 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 worksite position where they apply new skills from their education and training. You will be an adaptable, skilled operator ready to take on new and varied challenges with this Certificate. We are confident this certificate will help you move up faster in the workforce and will give you a strong foundation of safety, preventative maintenance, and productivity that will ensure you are a valuable asset to employers.


“We learned lots. It was just the best opportunity!” -- Glynda Saul

“I found out about this program from an online search. I’m learning a lot here, plus it’s great to operate the equipment.” -- Matt Downs


Heavy Equipment Operator Certificate – Program Outline


Materials and Supplies List


The program is delivered as face-to-face/on-site practical instruction supplemented with web and video conferencing theoretical instruction. It is a combination of classroom and field instruction 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 is 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; 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; occasional heavy and moderate physical labor required;
  • Occasional lifting/carrying items up to 50 lbs / 22.5 kg;
  • Corrected vision and hearing within normal range; and/or
  • 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!


PROGRAM LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • 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.
  • Demonstrate employability skills and professional conduct.
  • Demonstrate workplace skills in an industry-related environment.
  • Demonstrate required fieldwork and jobsite fundamentals.
  • Demonstrate the correct procedures for preventative maintenance of selected pieces of equipment.
  • Demonstrate general principles of operations of selected pieces of equipment.
  • Develop skills that support successful employment in the heavy equipment operation industry.

Equipment Operator


Thank you to our major supporter of the HEO program:


This data comes from our academic database and is for the most current academic year.

Applications Now Open!

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Still have questions? Ask Us. Or take advantage of our many opportunities to come for a campus visit. Register online or contact our Campus Visit Coordinator, or check out our VIRTUAL TOUR.

Cindy Orr
Admissions Officer

Phone: 403-507-7711
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 7711

Location: Bell e-Learning Centre, Room 966

Applications Now Open!

Enrolment Advisor

Jody Turnbull
Enrolment Advisor

Phone: 1 (403) 556-8247
Toll Free: 1-800-661-6537 ext 8247
Fax: 1 (403) 556-4711 

Request an Information Package

Ask Us or Visit Us

Still have questions? Ask Us. Or take advantage of our many opportunities to come for a campus visit. Register online or contact our Campus Visit Coordinator, or check out our VIRTUAL TOUR.