Crane Operator

Operate massive cranes that move heavy material with dexterity.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$29,000 – $79,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Crane Operators do?

Cranes define the skyline at a construction site. They tower high over fences, structures, and other equipment, and can often be seen from far away. As a Crane Operator, you control these massive pieces of heavy machinery. They can be deadly in untrained hands, so you also make sure you keep coworkers safe while they’re working around it.

The job of a Crane Operator is very technical in nature. To operate a crane, you use a variety of dials, knobs, and switches. Your cab is connected to a long arm outfitted with wires, ropes, and hooks that allow you to lift heavy materials and equipment to desired locations. As technology advances and crane cabs are equipped with more computers, crane control panels will become increasingly complex.

As a Crane Operator, you are in charge of a variety of crane types. Some cranes must be set up at each individual job site. In these cases, you must check the area to make sure there are no hazards that will interrupt operations or cause the machine to slip. When you use a crane that is truck-mounted or self-propelled, you must regularly inspect it’s hydraulics and other mechanics to ensure the machine is in proper working order.

Safety is your number one priority on the job. Using a walkie-talkie, you notify workers of the crane’s movements, and they communicate with you when they need your machine to lift and lower various loads. If something is not right, you suspend the crane’s movement until the problem is resolved. Following proper procedures is extremely important as the safety of many people falls squarely in your hands.

Should I be a Crane Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Acid Crane Operator, Barge-Crane Operator, Boom Cat Operator, Boom Crane Operator, Bottom Crane Operator See More

    How to become a Crane Operator

    Most Crane Operators have a Certificate or no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:98baaa&chl=no+college+%2850%25%29|certificate+%2849%25%29|associate%27s+%281%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,50,50
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