Jun 12, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog Archived Catalog

Heavy Equipment Operator, CTS

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This program prepares students to enter the equipment operations career field as entry-level operators. The program contains instruction and hands-on experience on bulldozers, backhoes, track excavators, wheel loaders, skid steers, motor graders, rollers, tractors, water tankers, dump trucks, and equipment transports. Students will also gain familiarity in interpreting construction grade stakes, safety procedures, and equipment maintenance. Class “A” Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training and testing are an integral part of this program. Students will have the opportunity to test for a Class B (Bus) license.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to

  • Operate heavy equipment (dozer, grader, loader, excavator, backhoe, skid steer, roller, tractor) and drive commercial trucks over 26,000 lbs. to National Center for Construction Education Research (NCCER) and Department of Transportation (DOT) standards in a job site environment;

  • Maintain and service heavy equipment;

  • Read and interpret grade and survey markings and stakes;

  • Apply critical thinking skills to evaluate and solve problems;

  • Understand requirements associated with a Class A and Class B license;

  • Demonstrate proper operating procedures related to safe operation of a tractor trailer; and

  • Apply general knowledge, driving and backing skills, and pre-trip inspection in order to successfully pass the Class A license exam.

Required Courses

First Semester Total: 13

Spring Semester

Second Semester Total: 12

Total Credits: 25

*Indicates prerequisite and/or corequisite needed. Check course description.

Recommended Course Offerings:

Students receiving financial aid or veteran’s benefits should check with the Financial Aid Office before registering for recommended courses.

Admission Guidelines

  • Students must be at least 18 years of age, possess a valid Montana Driver’s License, and pass a Department of Transportation physical and drug screening medical exam.

Program Information

  • An internship is optional for this program. Students must apply for internship placements the prior semester. For more information, contact Cathy Allard, Career Advisor, at (406) 756-3803 or callard@fvcc.edu.
  • This program is sponsored by the Montana Contractors’ Association and is NCCER accredited.
  • The courses in this program are offered fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students may enter the program at the beginning of any semester.
  • Fees for this program are higher than average. Please see the program advisor for more details.


  • The National Center for Construction Education and Research
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) Commercial Driver’s License, Class A, Class B, General Knowledge, Combo, Air Brakes, and Tanker 

Opportunities after Graduation

  • Today’s construction industry offers various job opportunities. As the population grows, so does the demand for skilled construction, excavation workers, and commercial truck drivers. From highway and road construction to residential housing, from industrial development to recreational facility and park maintenance, the chances of employment for someone skilled in heavy equipment operation are good.
  • The employer can be a national construction firm or a local company, a private utility company or a city, county or State Department of Transportation. Whatever the case, one can expect stable employment with respectable wages.

Advising Information:

For more information about this program, contact the advisor.

Academic Advisor
Laurie Berg
OT 131
(406) 756-4862


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