The different types of heavy equipment training are commonly divided into two categories of equipment: tracked vehicles and those that have rubber tires. Tracked vehicles, such as bulldozers, cranes and excavators, are used in the majority of this type of heavy equipment training. The rubber tire training typically involves the rubber-tired versions of cranes, earth movers and end loaders. Other rubber-tired vehicles, such as dump trucks, graders and scrapers, make up the bulk of the rubber-tire section of heavy equipment training. Commonly, training centers also include truck driver training in the types of heavy equipment training.
For the most part, all heavy equipment operates on diesel fuel, so the basics of diesel mechanics is a major component of any heavy equipment training. A basic course on diesel mechanics is often required of trainees, and the goal of the course is to educate an operator on basic maintenance and troubleshooting procedures in the event of a problem with the equipment. This training often saves a mechanic from being called out in the middle of the night because a piece of machinery simply requires the addition of some engine oil. Learning diesel mechanics for heavy equipment is an education all its own, and extensive training is commonly not included in the heavy equipment, general training coursebook.
The better courses that provide heavy equipment training use both classroom experience as well as hands-on machine operation to provide the utmost in training of the students. Most courses offer both a heavy equipment certification and a diploma upon graduation from the course. The majority of all training is safety-related, but the programs that involve overhead lifting, such as crane school, also include hand signals and radio transmitting and receiving courses during the training. This is important because many crane operators lift and place pallets and equipment that they cannot see. Most crane operation is performed by an operator receiving hand signals from a ground member.
In some areas, heavy equipment colleges have opened and specialize in the education of heavy equipment operators. Much of the heavy equipment training is accomplished by the military, with former military instructors teaching the courses in a civilian training course. Some heavy equipment training schools own and operate gravel businesses, and the students are trained in an actual working quarry. Other programs lease space within a working quarry and provide the quarry with free labor while the students are operating the equipment.