MHC faculty demonstrates welding technique.

School of Trades & Technology

Heavy Equipment Technician

Our Heavy Equipment Technician program provides you with hands-on experience while learning to maintain, repair and overhaul heavy vehicles and industrial equipment such as rippers, ditchers, backhoes, scrapers, tractors and trucks. We will show you how to work on components of the vehicle including brakes, suspensions, power train, engines, electrical, computer systems, driveline and fuel injection. You will learn how to interpret work orders and technical manuals, test repaired equipment for proper performance, diagnose faults or malfunctions and replace defective parts, components or systems.

If you enjoy precision work, problem solving and working with your hands, you may prefer this field. Having the ability to work independently or as part of a team, and to think logically and keep up to date with changes in technology are other valuable characteristics.

The apprenticeship term for this field is four years, including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of technical training each year. We offer all four years of the program in Medicine Hat. At Medicine Hat College, we offer small class sizes, individualized attention and access to updated technology. The Heavy Equipment Technician program is one of eight apprenticeship programs leading to journeyperson status and solid careers in the skilled trades.

One of the major reasons students select this career is because of the wages and the job diversity. The Heavy Equipment Technician program can direct you to employment opportunities in the oil field, gas compression and open pit mining. Others find careers working on highway trucks, off-road vehicles such as earth moving equipment, or as a shop foreman, manager or owner.

Many Albertans employed in this classification work in wholesale trade; construction; transportation and warehousing; oil and gas extraction and mining support activities; and metal fabrication and machinery manufacturing. 


The first step to becoming an apprentice is finding a job in the trade you would like to study. This is like any other job search, except you are looking for an employer who is willing to hire you as an apprentice in a trade. Once you have found employment, you can complete the Apprenticeship Application and Contract. This will allow you to be accepted as an apprentice tradesperson. Access the form at

After your application has been accepted, you will begin training with your employer and are now eligible to register for training at Medicine Hat College. You will then be sent an information package from the college on how to proceed with your registration.

Apprenticeship Contracts

You and your employer will sign a contract. Before signing the contract, read it carefully to know your obligations and responsibilities and those of your employer. Once signed, the contract must be delivered to Apprenticeship and Industry Training. An identification card, course outline booklet and, for most trades, an apprenticeship record book are issued to you. At this point, your apprenticeship training begins.

Attending Technical Training Classes

A notice to attend technical training will be sent about two months before classes begin. Class schedules are posted at Registration for your technical training must be arranged through Medicine Hat College in the appropriate trades program.



Trades students register for technical training courses through

Graduates of this program may find employment with:

  • Oil field, gas compression, and open pit mining
  • Working on highway trucks or off-road vehicles
  • Shop foreman, manager or owner
  • Wholesale trade, construction, transportation and warehousing
  • Metal fabrication and machinery
Additional Information

Graduation Requirements

You will be awarded an Alberta Completion of Apprenticeship Certificate when you successfully complete all requirements of your apprenticeship contract. In addition to and depending on the trade, you will receive a Journeyperson certification.

Trades eligible for an Interprovincial Red Seal Certificate have an additional exam to write and upon successful completion of the exam, the seal is affixed to the Journeyperson certificate when issued.

In the province of Alberta, there are two kinds of regulated trades.

  1. Compulsory Certification Must be either a journeyperson or apprentice to work in the trade as legislated under the Alberta Industry and Training Act.
  2. Optional Certification Trades training is offered but optional.

Promotion Requirements

You must write an Apprenticeship and Trade Certification exam at the end of each technical training class. The passing mark is 70%. If you do not pass, you may be offered an apprenticeship supplemental exam. You must take the course again if you do not pass the supplemental exam.

To progress from one training period to the next and get a wage increase, you must

  • pass the apprenticeship exam.
  • receive an acceptable mark in the course.
  • obtain the required number of hours of work experience.
  • receive a satisfactory report from your employer.

Looking for ways to help fund your education?

There are lots of options like student loans, scholarships, bursaries and emergency funding available.

Check out our FINANCIAL AID page for more information.

At MHC, we care about students and want to help you succeed.

As a student, there may be times when you require support. Our SERVICES page provides you with links to a number of campus supports including academic success, counselling and care, health and wellness, and many other resources.

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Ariel view of vehicles in the mechanics lab

Automotive Service Technician

If you love working on vehicles, the Automotive Service Technician program could be the trade for you! With hands-on and realistic learning opportunities, MHC provides high-level instruction to support your apprenticeship journey.
Go to Automotive Service Technician