Heavy Equipment Operations (AOS)

Application Code: 
Degree Received: 
Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS)
Academic Department Info: 

This program provides instruction in the skills required by heavy equipment operators for the light construction and heavy highway industries. Instruction is provided in the theory connected with heavy equipment operations as well as grades, soils, blueprint reading, safety, and supervision. Students spend approximately 25 percent of the lab time operating equipment; the balance of the lab time is spent on equipment inspection, maintenance, grades, lot layout, operation support, and estimating.

Programs leading to an AOS degree are hands-on programs and do not include liberal arts and sciences courses. Offered at the School of Applied Technology Campus in Wellsville, heavy equipment operations is geared toward a person who would like to enter the heavy equipment operation industry following graduation.

Classes and labs are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day with a break for lunch. Each morning, one or two hours are devoted to class lectures on subjects specific to the heavy equipment operation trade. The classroom training is then applied in a hands-on laboratory setting, or off campus at a construction site.

Student Learning Outcomes: 
  • Select the correct piece of equipment and demonstrate the proper use, for an earth moving or excavation project.
  • Select and use the necessary PPE for a given construction project.
  • Demonstrate the proper set up and use of various types of survey equipment.
  • Read and interpret blueprints.
  • Accurately estimate materials for a project.
  • Demonstrate essential problem solving and supervisory skills.
  • Perform common mathematical calculations.
  • Demonstrate how to excavate to meet construction and OSHA standards, based on the soil type.
  • Safely operate various equipment utilized in the construction industry.
  • Perform computer-based research and communication.
Entrance Requirements & Recommendations: 

Recommended: Algebra

Students will be accepted for the heavy equipment operations program based on the strength of their application. Criteria for consideration will include high school average, regents exam scores (if a New York State student), grades in related course work, results of standardized tests (if available), and additional information provided through letters of recommendation, a personal essay indicating career goals, and a resume. Initial application review will begin on Nov. 1.

Technical Standards: 

Applicants in the heavy equipment operations program must meet the following physical requirements:

  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds to shoulder height.
  • Must be able to perform safely in the laboratory.
  • Must be able to communicate orally with a person 20 feet away.
  • Must be able to climb a ladder and/or able to climb, un-aided, onto and off of equipment using three points of contact.
  • Must be able to stand for long periods of time.
  • Must be able to visually read from a blueprint or drawing.
  • Must be able to hear a backup warning alarm.
Features & Facilities: 

On or off campus construction sites will be used for hands on instruction.

Graduation Requirements: 

A student must successfully complete all courses in the prescribed four-semester program and earn a minimum cumulative index of 2.0, which is equivalent to a "C" average.

Career Opportunities: 
  • Town, Village, County Department of Public Works
  • NYS Department of Transportation
  • Highway and Heavy Construction Companies
  • Mining Companies
  • Logging Companies
Direct Entry Into Baccalaureate Degree Program: 

Alfred State heavy equipment operations graduates may enter directly into the technology management BBA degree program.

Typical Semester Layout: 
First Semestercredits
BLCT1053Safety & Identification of Heavy Equip.3
BLCT1044Blueprint Reading Grades4
BLCT1016Operations-Part I6
BLCT1052 Soils-Part I2
BLCT1043Intro to Earth Moving3
Second Semestercredits
BLCT2023Equipment Safety-Part II3
BLCT2034Grades & Blueprint Reading II4
BLCT2033Equipment Preventive Maintenance3
BLCT2036Operations-Part II6
BLCT2092Soils-Part II2
Third Semestercredits
BLCT3003Advanced Equipment Safety3
BLCT3002Blueprint Reading-Part III2
BLCT3005Operations-Part III5
BLCT3013Paving-Part I3
BLCT3012Soils-Part III2
BLCT3023Supervision-Part I3
Fourth Semestercredits
BLCT4002Below Grade Construction (Heavy Highway)2
BLCT4012Earth Moving (Heavy Highway)2
BLCT4022Finish Operations2
BLCT4032Finishing and Grading2
BLCT4004Operations-Part IV4
BLCT4003Paving-Part II3
BLCT4013Supervision-Part II3
Employment and Transfer Rate: 
Employment and Transfer Survey Details: 
Survey Details201020112012
Receiving Degrees121818
Responding to Survey8 (67%)15 (83%)14 (78%)
Employed8 (100%)13 (87%)14 (100%)
Employed in Field8 (100%)12 (92%)14 (100%)
Transferred--2 (13%)--
Unemployed & Seeking Employment------
Unemployed & Not Seeking Employment------
Employment and Transfer Salary Information: 

$20,000 - $29,999 (1)
Prefer not to disclose (13)