Recognized High Schools

Training to become a successful heavy equipment technician requires a great interest and aptitude in technical subjects and a strong work ethic. To meet industry demand for skilled technicians, The AED Foundation has been working with various high school programs throughout the United States and Canada. AED Foundation-recognized high schools start training youth as early as 15.  

High academic performance in high school classes like physical sciences, advanced mathematics and computers, as well as core subjects such as English, reading and writing, is essential for joining these programs. But students must also be motivated to excel outside of the classroom.

The AED Foundation currently has 15 recognized high school programs, including:

These high schools aligned their curriculum to meet rigorous AEDF’s standards to preparing their students to have a bright future as AEDF certified technicians.  

The Foundation’s goal to recognize 50 high school programs by 2025 will offer substantial benefits for students, schools and dealers. Students enrolled at an AEDF recognized high school should attend an accredited college program once they graduate, which is closely partnered with a nearby dealership, facilitating a space for dealers to oversee that the instruction meets their individual needs. In addition, students enrolled in The AED Foundation’s recognized high school programs can apply for a CAT Foundation scholarship to begin their education at an AEDF accredited college program. 


High school recognition is a sought-after distinction in the industry as it displays school commitment to The AED Foundation’s (AEDF) standards and student education. Many high schools may wonder how they can become recognized by The Foundation, or if there’s anything they can do to speed up the process. In this post, we discuss what high schools can do to work towards becoming recognized.   

The first part of the recognition process starts with the high school. High schools can reach out to an AED accredited college in the area to establish an articulation agreement. Creating an articulation agreement between an accredited college and the prospective recognized high school helps to expedite the process of becoming AEDF recognized. This would ideally include a robust dual credit agreement. The articulation agreement is beneficial to schools as it offers students a smooth transition from a high school program to a college program.   

If a high school does not have an accredited college program in the area, contact Linley Thompson, the Foundation’s Technical Program Manager at, or dealers in your area.   

There are five parts to AEDF’s high school recognition process that are handled on the school’s end, including:   

  1. Have an articulation agreement in place with local AEDF accredited college (dual credits recommended).   
  2. Provide advisory board lists for both the high school and AEDF accredited college.   
  3. Provide the Foundation with 3-5 photos of the high school facility.   
  4. A letter of recommendation from the accredited college is necessary, and a supporting dealer letter is preferred.   
  5. The high school needs to send a 1.5 to 3-page summary of their program.   

Taking a proactive approach and working to get these steps completed can help your school speed up the recognition process. It should be noted that the most important part of becoming recognized is that the high school program must display competency in at least one to two of AEDF’s six technical standards (Electrical/electronics, HVAC, hydrostatics/hydraulics, powertrains, diesel engines, safety/administration). This helps ensure that students are aptly prepared for their careers as technicians in the equipment industry.   


The Benefits an AEDF-Recognized High School Program Brings to a Dealership