Heavy Equipment Operators are in high demand

Program: Heavy Equipment Operator



Program length: 15 Weeks for full program. For Abridged Program and Introduction Program see Program Descriptions

Start date: August and March


  • Aurora College Record of Achievement


  • Classroom
  • Field-based Training

Program Description

Aurora College offers three programs in the Heavy Equipment Operator field.

Heavy Equipment Operator

In this full 15-week program, students receive compulsory/core training in first aid, introduction to heavy equipment operation, introduction to the knowledge and use of heavy equipment, introduction to equipment systems, preventative maintenance procedures, interpretation of construction surveys, and air brake systems. This program also includes up to 185 hours of training on each of two pieces of heavy equipment (crawler, motor grader, front-end loader, track excavator swing rig, Class 3 tandem axle dump truck, or Class 1 tractor tri-axle side dump). A minimum of 165 hours will be required on each piece of equipment to complete the program.

Abridged Heavy Equipment Operator

This eight-week program offers the same compulsory/core training as the full-length program, but students will receive up to 185 hours of training on one (as opposed to two) piece of heavy equipment. As per the full-length program, a minimum of 165 hours on one piece of equipment will be required to complete the program.

Introduction to Heavy Equipment Operator

This nine-week program offers the same compulsory/core training as the full-length program. Students will receive up to 100 hours of training on each of two pieces of equipment. A minimum of 90 hours on each piece of equipment will be required to complete the program.

Program Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for all three heavy equipment operator programs are the same. Applicants may be admitted into the Heavy Equipment Operator program based one of the following pathways: academic pathway or experiential/mature student pathway.

Academic Pathway:

Applicants may be considered for admission who:

  • Are 18 years of age or older; and
  • Have been enroled in English 10-2

Applicants who have completed the Aurora College Occupations and College Access Program (OCAP) and have successfully completed:

  • Aurora College English 130

Equivalencies and other post-secondary education may be considered.

Mature Student/Experiential Pathway

Applicants who are 20 years or older, have been out of school for at least one year, and have relevant work/life experience in the heavy equipment operator field may be considered for admission. Eligibility for the program may be determined through an interview, an assessment of reading comprehension, a review of the applicant’s resume, or other means.

Regardless of the pathway for admission, all applicants must:

  • Submit official transcripts from high school and/or post-secondary education, as applicable;
  • Possess a valid Class 5 Driver’s Licence prior to entry into the program. A probationary Class 5 Driver’s Licence is not acceptable. A restricted licence may limit the applicant’s training equipment and licensing potential; and
  • Submit a current driver’s licence abstract (can be obtained from the GNWT Department of Transportation and Vehicle Licensing Office).

Depending on the applicant’s pathway, they may be requested to:

  • Submit a resume or other evidence of relevant work/life experience.
  • Participate in an interview.
  • Complete an assessment of reading comprehension.

Based on screening in the above areas, applicants may be advised that they are “conditionally accepted”. If applicants are “conditionally accepted” into the program, they may also be required to submit proof that they have passed a Class 3 or Class 1 GNWT Driver’s Medical Exam.

NOTE 1. Applicants are not required to obtain a medical for their initial application. After screening, applicants who will be training on Class 1 or Class 3 equipment will be advised to pass a Class 1 or Class 3 Driver’s Medical in order to become fully accepted in the program.
NOTE 2. For entry into the HEO program, either a Class 1 or Class 3 Driver’s Medical is acceptable. The criteria for both medicals are similar, so it may be advantageous for a student to get a Class 1 Driver’s Medical if they anticipate pursuing a Class 1 Licence in the future.

Applicant Assessment

Applicants must complete an Aurora College application form, provide high school and/or other official post-secondary transcripts, and a current driver’s abstract. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. Applicants who have been waitlisted for the next intake and who do not get admission, may be offered a seat in the next intake of the program.

Applicants who are currently enroled in one or more of the required academic courses for admission are encouraged to apply early and provide transcripts that demonstrate that they are currently registered in these courses. Applicants may receive a conditional acceptance that is dependent on their successful completion of the required courses (65 percent or higher). Applicants who are conditionally accepted will be required to provide a final transcript upon completion of the required courses to be fully accepted.

Program Admission

Applicants will be admitted to this program based on how well they meet the program eligibility requirements, on the date of application, eligibility requirements/pathways and on space availability.

Priority may be given to applicants who have resided in the Northwest Territories for at least one year prior to the date of the program. Additionally, applicants who are currently enroled in the Aurora College Occupations and College Access Program (OCAP) are encouraged to apply early and prior to completion of their program. To be given priority in the selection process, applicants must have submitted a complete* application. Applications will be processed based on the date that their application is complete*.

Applicants who are accepted to the program after having successfully completed the program in the past so that they can learn to use different equipment will be required to complete all components of the program in their entirety again.

* A complete application is one in which all required documentation (ex. application, transcripts, letter of reference) and all requested documentation (ex. additional documentation that supports your eligibility that is requested for your application is received).

Program Information

Students must bring clothing suitable for outside equipment operation. Students must also possess and wear proper protective footwear, CSA-approved Class 2 coveralls, or coveralls. Headgear, safety vest, and safety glasses are available for purchase by the College. All required manuals for the course are provided by the College. Attendance for all courses is compulsory.

Program Objectives

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Competently and safely operate specific pieces of equipment at a basic entry- level for employment;
  2. Perform required safety checks and maintenance on the equipment;
  3. Perform basic construction procedures associated with the equipment;
  4. Describe the workings of a vehicle’s systems; and
  5. Describe and demonstrate the attributes required by employers of heavy equipment operators.

Completion Requirements

Students must successfully complete the compulsory/core and operational courses in their respective program as well as demonstrate acceptable life skills such as punctuality, attendance and professional attitude. Students must demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the instructors, that they are safety-minded and capable operators on each of the pieces of equipment they were trained on.

Students must pass all courses in their respective program in order to complete the program.

Document of Recognition

Heavy Equipment Operator
Aurora College Record of Achievement

Abridged Heavy Equipment Operator
Aurora College Record of Achievement

Introduction to Heavy Equipment Operator
Aurora College Record of Achievement

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