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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes front-end loader operators as materials handling workers, while the National Center for Construction Education and Research considers them heavy equipment operators. No federal or state certifications exist specifically for front-end loader operators, but you can improve your qualification for the job in a number of ways if this is your chosen career.
Obtain your high school diploma or GED. Many front-end loader operators are informally qualified, according to the BLS, and employers require them simply to be over 18 years old and be physically capable of handling the work. If you want to obtain a formal qualification, however, you will need to first complete your high school education.
Complete a certificate course in front-end loader training through an accredited training school. For example, schools such as Performance Training Solutions offers heavy equipment operator courses that are accredited by the NCCER and students receive NCCER certification on graduation for the equipment they covered in the training program they followed.
Apply for an apprenticeship or internship with a construction, mining or earth-moving company, specifically in the field of front-end loader operation. You will receive on the job training in how to operate the machinery, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has specific training requirements for this work.
Ensure that your employer has certified with the OSHA that you have received the training and the company approves you to operate a front-end loader. OSHA also requires employers to evaluation operators every three years, and that operators display proof of their authorization to work at all times.
Complete specialized training in handling toxic chemicals, if this applies to your work environment. This type of training is also specified by OSHA, and regulated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in the mining industry.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition: Material Moving Occupations
- Performance Training Solutions: National Certification for Heavy Equipment
- U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Training Requirements in OSHA Construction Industry Standards and Training Guidelines - Material Handling Equipment
Tracey Sandilands has written professionally since 1990, covering business, home ownership and pets. She holds a professional business management qualification, a bachelor's degree in communications and a diploma in public relations and journalism. Sandilands is the former editor of an international property news portal and an experienced dog breeder and trainer.