FHWA Motor Grader Operator Online Course

Motor grader on a gravel road

About one-third of all roads in the United States are unpaved—that’s 1.2 million miles of roads. Like fingerprints, each unpaved road is unique. The surface may be gravel, crushed rock, or sand, but all have one thing in common: maintenance is required to keep the roadway in good driving condition.

Do you know how gravel roads are built and maintained? You guessed it: using a motor grader. Gravel roads provide an all-weather surface as well as farm-to-market routes and other access. Plus, they are easier to build and maintain. With so many miles of unpaved roads, motor grader operators have a big—and important—job to do.

This course covers the basic safety, operation, and functionality of motor grader equipment and the best practices involved in effective operation of motor graders for constructing, maintaining, and rehabilitating gravel roads.


Topics Covered

  • Get ready to operate!
  • Knowing your motor grader
  • Conducting walk-around inspections
  • Operating the motor grader
  • Reshaping the road
  • Working around roadway features and conditions

Who Should Take the Course

This course is intended for a variety of positions within local agencies and tribal governments, specifically those who are responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining gravel-surfaced roads. The primary target audience includes—but is not limited to—grader operators, maintenance and technicians, inspectors, and supervisors. Construction and design engineers, project managers, and agency officials may also benefit from this course. 

Participants are strongly encouraged to complete the FHWA Gravel Road Construction and Maintenance online course prior to this course

Accessing the Course

This training is offered via the course management system Canvas. Upon completing your online registration, you will receive an email confirmation. To access the course, please visit Canvas and log in with your University of Minnesota internet ID and password. Once you have been enrolled, the course will appear on your Canvas dashboard.

If for any reason you do not have access to the course after enrolling, please contact Katherine Stanley at sell0146@umn.edu for assistance.

Technical Requirements

Because it's built using web standards, Canvas runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, or any other device with a modern web browser. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer work best for this course.


  • Students will earn 0.5 Roads Scholar Program Maintenance Certificate credit. To earn this credit, students are required to send a copy of the course completion certificate to mnltap@umn.edu.
  • To the best of our knowledge, this course meets the continuing education requirements for 4.5 PDHs as outlined in Minnesota Statute 326.107. More information concerning continuing education for professionals is available on the Minnesota Board of AELSLAGID website.


This course is sponsored by Minnesota LTAP at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota LTAP is sponsored by the Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Course curriculum was developed and compiled by the FHWA Center for Local Aid Support in conjunction with a technical advisory panel of experts including representatives from local agencies and state DOTs.