Every year, countless people enroll in higher education programs, whether that be through traditional schools such as universities and community colleges, or through career training programs and vocational schools. And for those looking to enroll in the latter in order to receive training in heavy equipment operation, there’s no shortage of choices. If you’re thinking this career path might be the right one for you, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing a school that fits your needs and sets you on your preferred trajectory. So, how do you know what’s the best heavy equipment operator school for you? We’ve put together a guide to help you know what to look for!
Compare program costs
The cost of heavy equipment training can vary widely, based on several factors like location, specialization, and any state-required certification exams. Though it might be in your best interest to pay more money for the right school, you may also be better served to opt for a less expensive one — at the end of the day, you’ll want to examine what you think each individual program can offer you as well as how much you’re willing and able to invest in your training.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to look into financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, payment plans, or loans to help ease the burden of any cost. Make sure to check school websites for what they offer!
Consider the location
Where you currently live (and where you’d eventually like to end up) could also be an important factor in your decision. Should you travel to the other side of the country, or would you prefer to attend a program that’s a 10-minute drive from your home? The Bureau of Labor Statistics has location-based data for several specializations within the industry. For example, the states with the highest employment of operating engineers and other construction equipment operators are Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York, respectively — on the other hand, the locations with the highest annual mean wage for this career are New Jersey ($83,230), New York ($81,840), Hawaii ($78,360), California ($78,320), and Illinois ($77,250).
Are the cost, program value, and proximity to potential employers worth a move? Before choosing a campus, you might be well-served to take into account where you’d like to settle alongside any factors which might make you want to stay where you are now.
Get to know the instructors
Learning from the right teacher can have a huge impact on someone’s success, so we suggest learning all you can about who will be leading your potential courses. See if they’re well-known in the industry or have produced any work that you can find, and check out what past students have said about them on review sites.
By researching who’ll be running the programs, you’ll have a better idea of who has the right level of experience, whose teaching style will fit your learning style, and ultimately which one is the best heavy equipment operator school for you.
Read course reviews
Another helpful method of finding out if a program and its instructors are right for you is reading online reviews. Whether by searching online lists of top programs, or reading through reviews by graduates on sites like Yelp or Quora, you can check to see if a school is likely to deliver on what it’s promising.
Both official rankings, like those on GradReports.com, or user assessments like the ones written in Google reviews will give you a good picture of the value of each program.
Visit the campus, if possible
And finally, if you’re able, you might also want to visit the school in person before committing. Both school administrators and former students emphasize the importance of seeing the classrooms and meeting the staff face-to-face before you enroll. Be on the lookout for any open houses being hosted by the school, or simply visit on your own to take a look at where you’ll be learning.
In actually seeing where the learning will take place, you can gain personal insights you might otherwise miss reading online reviews or hearing secondhand information.