Heavy equipment operator training programs can open doors to jobs operating tractors, cranes, forklifts, backhoes and other equipment used primarily on construction sites. However, there are few programs available in Florida that provide training for these jobs. Profiled below are three training programs offered by public vocational schools in Florida for which relevant program information is available. Following the school overviews is a comparison table for a quick look at program options and prices.
Lake Technical College
In Eustis, FL, Lake Technical College offers a short-term training program in forklift operation. This day-long training program is available the last Friday of each month. Credit isn't awarded for completion of the course.
Miami Lakes Educational Center
The Adult Division of Miami Lakes Educational Center in Miami Lakes offers a training program in heavy equipment operations. The 1,200-hour program provides training in operating numerous heavyweight vehicles, including bulldozers, forklifts, backhoes and wheel loaders. In addition to acquiring skills in grading, sloping and backfilling, students learn basic equipment maintenance and safety procedures. Students enrolling in the program must submit to drug testing and pass basic education assessments. Graduates can pursue voluntary professional certifications through the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).
Mid Florida Tech
Mid Florida Tech in Orlando offers a free 4-year apprenticeship program in the operation of heavy equipment. This school is the only member of Orange County Public Schools to offer this program. The first year covers safety procedures and maintenance skills, and apprentices develop skills in subsequent years operating tractors, backhoes and cranes. Program requirements include a valid Florida driver's license and two letters of recommendation. Students work full-time and participate in coursework on a part-time basis while in the apprenticeship program. Graduates from this program are qualified as journeymen in this trade.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Heavy Equipment Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Lake Technical College||2-year, public; suburb||Forklift Operator Training Course||$99*|
|Miami Lakes Educational Center||2-year, public; suburb||Heavy Equipment Operations Certificate||$3,315 (plus additional fees for gear)**|
|Mid Florida Tech||2-year, public; suburb||Heavy Equipment Operation Apprenticeship||No tuition or fees charged for these apprenticeship programs***|
Source: *Lake Technical Center, **Miami Lakes Educational Center, ***Mid Florida Tech.