Heavy Equipment Operator | Bismarck State College

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Heavy Equipment Operator

Enrollment is now open for the non-credit, short-term Heavy Equipment Operator certificate and will close Jan. 22, 2024. The program will begin on Feb. 5, 2024.

This program provides students with the opportunity to learn and develop the skills necessary to operate a variety of heavy equipment machinery. With hands-on training and experienced instructors, students can gain valuable experience in areas such as safety protocols, equipment maintenance and job site operations. This certificate program is perfect for individuals looking to enter the construction industry or those who are looking to expand their skill set. Don't miss this opportunity to pave your way towards a career in heavy equipment operation!

Questions about the non-credit program can be submitted to bsc.training@bismarckstate.edu or by calling (701) 224-5600.

The 2-year degree is pending HLC approval. Enrollment into the program will be open for those interested in obtaining their Associate in Applied Science degree starting in the Fall 2024.

Program Description

The Heavy Equipment Operator Program is an industry-led program designed to prepare students to enter the construction industry as heavy equipment operators. Students will be introduced to various pieces of equipment, including (but not limited to): dozers, backhoes, utility tractors, excavators, skid steers, etc. Students will learn the essential operation of these pieces of equipment, including start-up and shutdown procedures, controls, uses, and basic maintenance techniques. Students will also be introduced to other valuable skills for a job sight, including basics surrounding safety, hand tools, first aid, and primary work-site considerations.


Students should be comfortable with manual labor and working outdoors. Basic math skills will be required. Familiarity with essential tools and pieces of equipment may be beneficial.

Prospective students should be prepared for the physical demands of entry-level technician positions. Typical industry requirements include passing a physical exam, which may entail lifting 50+ pounds, climbing ladders, and working in confined spaces or heights. Job applicants may also be required to pass a drug screen and eye exam, including accurately distinguishing colors.

Program Requirements

Students who complete the curriculum requirements receive a Program Certificate or Associate in Applied Science degree.

Career Opportunities

Heavy Equipment Operators are valuable members of the construction industry and are needed in various work projects including new home construction and renovation, commercial projects, infrastructure improvement and maintenance, etc. Expansion in the Bismarck/Mandan area and other areas throughout the nation ensures there will always be a need for people with this skill set. 
Interested in the Heavy Equipment Operator degree? Fill out this form and someone will reach out to you soon with more information.