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Heavy Equipment Operations

If you like working outside and independently, driving big vehicles, and enjoy seeing the results of a hard day of work, a career as a Heavy Equipment Operator may be in your future. 

Heavy equipment operators must be willing to get dirty, greasy, muddy, or dusty. They must possess basic math skills, the ability to read and follow plans, and the ability to effectively communicate with project leaders and coworkers. Advancing in this career may require learning to operate several different machines. Operators drive machinery used to construct roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures as well as read construction stakes, calculate cut and fill for grading, and understand how to control surface and ground water on a job site. Heavy Equipment Operators are a valuable part of any construction team.

Program Overview

Heavy Equipment Operations certificate


two semesters


Must be at least 18 years of age



  • Introduction to Heavy Equipment Operations
  • Heavy Equipment Operator—Site Work and Grading
  • Heavy Equipment Operator—Enhanced Site Work and Soils
  • Excavation Math & Interpreting Civil Drawings

Students learn safety, identification, and basic operational techniques as well as the skills and knowledge required to understand the conditions and markings of the job site and the responsibilities of the heavy equipment operator. 

What can I do when I complete this program?

Upon completion of Harford Community College's Heavy Equipment Operator program students will be qualified to operate heavy equipment machinery on a construction job site. That may include front-end loaders, dump trucks, graders, bulldozers, backhoes, rollers, and cranes.


There is always construction somewhere, and Heavy Equipment Operators are needed to keep the projects going. Employment of construction equipment operators is projected to grow 12% until 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Spending on infrastructure should generate many new jobs for construction equipment operators. Workers who can operate multiple types of equipment should have the best job opportunities. The average earnings in Maryland can be up to $57,000* per year!

*Completion of this program does not guarantee this salary.