Heavy Equipment Operator

Med Fire Rescue

Make a Living Playing in the Dirt!

Did you like to play with tractors, bulldozers, and shovels as a kid? Get paid for it now! Graduates from LATI’s new Heavy Equipment Operator program will enter into a field that has a high-demand for qualified workers in commercial and industrial construction, heavy equipment operation, and earthmoving equipment operation.

Students entering our new Heavy Equipment Operator program will choose from a diploma in Excavation Operations after 11 months or an Associate of Applied Science degree in Heavy Equipment Operations after completing the entire 18-month curriculum.

First year students will learn:

  • To maintain and repair tracks, wheels, brakes, operating controls, pneumatic and hydraulic systems, electrical circuitry, and engines
  • Basic skills in excavating, digging, ditching, grading, and backfilling

Second year students will learn:

  • To operate and maintain a variety of heavy equipment such as crawler tractors, motor graders and scrapers, shovels, rigging devices, hoists, and jacks
  • Basic skills in digging, ditching, sloping, stripping, grading, backfilling, clearing, crane operation, and excavating


Graduates in this field can look forward to great job placement rates. The SD Department of Labor projects 89 new jobs per year in this field. Additionally, people retiring from this field will create even more job opportunities for new graduates.