HEO and Special Equipment Course


Course LengthHEO and special equipment course

9 Weeks

Job Description

The Heavy Equipment Operator/Specialized Equipment program is an apprenticeship designated by the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

Course Outline

The program combines two weeks of in-class theory instruction covering the following six pieces of heavy equipment: articulating rock truck (ART), backhoe, dozer, excavator, grader and loader. This is followed by two weeks of practical equipment lab training on the following four pieces of heavy equipment: ART, dozer, excavator and loader. The final five weeks will be spent specializing on one piece of heavy equipment – ART, Backhoe, Dozer, Excavator or Loader.

Weeks 1 – 4:

  • Heavy Equipment Types and Operations
  • Heavy Equipment Inspection and Maintenance
  • Diesel Engines and Hydraulic Systems
  • Work Procedures and Planning
  • Interpretation of Grades and Stakes
  • Transportation of Equipment
  • Environmental Protection
  • Aggregates and Compaction
  • Drainage and Erosion Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Cycles Basic Operation of Each Type of Heavy Equipment

Weeks 5 – 9:

  • Communications / Human Relations
  • Practical (Field) Training
  • Operating Techniques
  • Safety
  • Hydraulics
  • Grades and Stakes
  • Site Inspection
  • Regulations
  • Rigging
  • Environmental Concerns
  • Machines and Attachments
  • Service and Preventative Maintenance

The course will provide the necessary theoretical knowledge for the occupation as well as practical skills for entry level into the trade. The Heavy Equipment Operator Apprenticeship requires both the logging of practical equipment seat time and the achievement of specified competencies. These are recorded in program specific logbooks issued to the apprentices at the conclusion of in school training.

The required seat time hours are:

  • Articulating Rock Truck – 200 hours
  • Backhoe – 200 hours
  • Dozer – 200 hours
  • Excavator – 400 hours
  • Grader – 600 hours
  • Loader – 300 hours


Program admission requirements are as follows:

  • Minimum 70% on the IUOETA Trades Assessment Exam
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Minimum Grade 10 recommended
  • Completion of the ITA RBHC Foundation or equivalent, more than 1 year related experience, or employer sponsored

Level of Competency

Upon Program Completion, apprentices will receive:

  • ITA Certificate of Qualification with an endorsement on the specialized piece of equipment
  • Endorsements for completing prerequisite competencies for multiple machines
  • Preferential hiring and enrollment in industry training programs

Course Fees

Tuition:  $16250

Registration:  $250

Text books:  $500

Total:  $17000

Application & Examination Process

Students will write theory examinations and will also be assessed on job performance standards. Punctuality, attendance and attitude will also be considered in determining the final course grade.

Successful completion (70%) of the OETA Trade Assessment Examination is required for this course. Examinations are scheduled by the OETP at any Operating Engineer’s offices.

Examination subject areas are:

  • Math Foundations (possible score—15/60)
  • Industry Related Problems (possible score—21/60)
  • Problem Sets (possible score—24/60)

If you are interested in this program, contact the Training Association office and obtain an Application for Training package. Complete the package and submit it to the nearest Operating Engineers Office to be forwarded to the Operating Engineers Training Association. Applications will be submitted to the IUOE 115 Training Coordinator for review.

Include with your application a resume, appropriate reference materials, a copy of your Driver’s abstract and/or license, and any other supporting or reference material.

Qualified applicant files will go before a selection committee. Successful applicants will be assigned to the class upon confirmation of their ability to attend.