Working as a crane operator is a lucrative job that is fairly easy to get your foot in the door. The average salary for crane operators in the US is $56,000 a year, though it may take a few years to work up to this kind of money. If you are looking to dive into a new career or if you are a young person just starting to search for jobs, read on to learn more about the training process for crane operators and what the job is like day-to-day.
Who You Are
Crane operators must have good spatial skills since they are controlling heavy machinery and moving large cargo loads. If you enjoy working with your hands and have good problem solving skills with spatial problems, becoming a crane operator could be right for you! Crane operators are great at working with machines to get the job done safely and efficiently. It is important to have solid communication skills so that you are constantly working with your team to stay safe around large equipment and to be aware of your surroundings.
What Do Crane Operators Do?
The main duty for a crane operator is quite obvious: to control how a crane moves, lifts, and places cargo. Besides these tasks, a lot of crane operator’s responsibilities revolve around preparation and safety. Depending on which type of crane you decide to specialize in, you may need to learn how to assemble the crane on site, as well as how to prepare a construction site for the crane. You will need to learn how to inspect the crane during safety checks, how to calculate load capacities, and how to perform routine maintenance on your cranes.
What Is the Process of Becoming a Crane Operator?
To start your journey as a crane operator, you will need to enter an apprenticeship program. These programs last anywhere from 1 to 3 years and consist of both classroom time and on-site training. Some preliminary requirements are passing a substance screening test and proving you are in good health. One of the biggest benefits to becoming a crane operator is that you actually get paid to learn! During your apprenticeship, you will be paid hourly for your on-site training. Your salary will typically start out at 50% of the normal operator salary, but as you move farther in your apprenticeship this will increase.
The apprenticeship program will teach you all of the basics such as crane terminology, safety protocols, and hands-on skills. You will be able to choose if you want further certification as a boom truck operator or as a mobile crane operator, both of which require additional skills training. After completing your training, you will need to pass a written exam and a safety certification to finish the apprenticeship.
If operating cranes sounds interesting to you, a quick Google search can help you find a reputable apprenticeship program near you. Being a crane operator is a financially stable job that most people can do, all it takes is some motivation up front and a positive attitude to learn and stay safe.