Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance

Heavy Equipment

Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance General Info

If you have a desire to operate and repair large and complex equipment, the Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance program is perfect for you. NCC offers the only Heavy Equipment program in Iowa. It is nationally certified by the Associated General Contractors and is recognized for excellence by the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association.

As a Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance student, you learn both the operation of heavy construction equipment and the preventative maintenance and repair of the equipment. You will be able to develop occupational skills using crawler tractors, motor graders, self-propelled scrapers, rubber-tired loaders, compaction equipment, dump trucks, backhoes, and hydraulic excavators. In addition, the program provides tractor-trailer training, which allows you to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License. Loading and safe transportation of heavy equipment to the job site is also covered. Training occurs both on campus and at various off-campus sites.

You should consider whether you meet the general occupational and program work requirements: lift at least 80 pounds, have manipulative skills to work in awkward positions to accomplish tasks, work in inclement weather, meet manufacturer limit restrictions for various pieces of equipment and peripheral devices, and are physically able to climb on and off equipment and operate standard equipment and controls.

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THIS PROGRAM QUALIFIES. Iowa needs people like you to fill exciting jobs in growing industries. To help keep Iowa moving forward, you can get free tuition for programs that lead to high-demand jobs and good-paying careers. This is not a needs based scholarship. Earn a one-year or two-year degree—all with free tuition. For a full list of every NCC program that qualifies for the Future Ready Iowa Scholarship – click here.

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  • Associate of Applied Science Degree


  • Four Semesters & One Summer Term
  • Fall semester entry

Student Profile

  • Team player
  • Able to follow through with directions
  • Likes hands-on work
  • Not afraid to get dirty
  • Possess basic math skills

Program Location

  • This program is available on campus. General education courses are available online.

Contact Admissions

Student Story Tori Houtsma

“I came to Junior Career Day in high school and went to a presentation about Heavy Equipment and really liked it. I enjoy being outside and like the job site experience—that’s when you learn the most. It’s an awesome program!”

Heavy Equipment student
Sheldon, IA

Heavy Equipment

Requirements for this program

Course #TitleCredits
HEQ131-CSafety and Introduction to Heavy Equipment3
HEQ160-CEquipment Lubrication & Maintenance3
HEQ172-CCDL-A and DOT Regulations & Lab3
ElectiveHumanities/Social Science*3
NOTE: Valid Iowa CDL
required and maintained for
remainder of program.
HEQ152-CEquipment Operation and Maintenance I4
HEQ155-CStake and Plan Reading4
HEQ161-CEquipment Reconditioning Theory I5
HEQ163-CEquipment Reconditioning Lab I5
HEQ156-CEquipment Operation and Maintenance II7
HEQ157-CSurveying I2
Course #TitleCredits
HEQ158-CEquipment Operation and Maintenance III7
HEQ257-CSurveying II2
HEQ263-CEquipment Reconditioning Theory II5
HEQ264-CEquipment Reconditioning Lab II5
HEQ252-CJob Estimating2
HEQ267-CEquipment Reconditioning Lab III6
ElectiveGeneral Education*3
Total Credits75

*You may select any math or communications course with A, C, or E suffix.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many students go to work for a contractor shortly after graduation. Due to the increasing demand in construction employment needs, the demand for qualified equipment operators and maintenance technicians exceeds the present supply of personnel available. Placement is usually close to 100%, 70% of which have found work prior to graduation.

Starting wage in this area can be around $14/hour. However, many students go on to find salaries above the $25/hour range.

During the first portion of the program, the lecture/lab breakdown is about 70/30. However,for the second portion of the program, 100% of the time is working on a job site.

NCC offers the only Heavy Equipment program in Iowa. Students work on an actual job site for an extended period of time before they graduate, offering much more hands-on experience. The program is nationally certified by the Associated General Contractors and is recognized for excellence by the Iowa Land Improvement Contractors Association.

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office will work with you to reach the goal of attending college. Federal and state programs, scholarships and other funding sources, may be available to help you to afford college. We know there are a lot of questions and stress planning to pay for a college education. The Financial Aid Office staff administers aid programs and counsels students in planning individual methods of meeting college costs. Contact the Financial Aid Office for answers to any questions regarding financial aid. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started! Northwest Iowa Community College follows a nationally accepted philosophy in administering financial aid programs.

Your Instructor

Adam Shirley Obbink

Adam "Shirley" Obbink

Eric Starn