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Crane operators are an integral part of any construction crew, and it’s likely that you’d find one if not more at a construction site. But what does a crane operator do, and what is the career outlook for the profession? Continue reading to find out.

Role, Responsibilities, and Expectations of a Crane Operator

Crane operators are responsible for operating a mobile crane in order to lift, move, position, and reposition different loads of materials. The operator controls different crane functions by pressing buttons, foot pedals, and navigating crane levers. Crane operators are required to unload accessories from trailers or other vehicles. A crane operator receives direction as to what to do from a rigger or signal person via hand and/or verbal signals. If you’re interested in learning more about the Importance of Proper Rigger and Signal Training, check out our blog.

Crane operators are also required to perform both pre- and post-trip inspections as well as daily and monthly equipment inspections, to ensure that all equipment is functioning properly. Crane operators typically work under direct supervision and are expected to work long hours that require them to be frequently sitting, standing, moving, and climbing. An operator is subject to exposure to extreme year-round outdoor environmental conditions, and may also be subject to working both weekends and holidays.

Crane Operator Career Outlook

Crane operators are in high demand nowadays. There are many different jobs that exist on a construction site, such as contractors, electricians, cement layers, and so on, but a crane operator’s unique skill set is essential when it comes to the completion of most construction jobs. There is an increasing number of opportunities for careers as a crane operator as large modern structures continue to increase.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Crane Operator jobs are expected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028. This is slightly above the national average for the universal job market, but well above the national average for highly skilled jobs. The success of the crane industry has contributed to the creation of secure jobs.

Is a Career as a Crane Operator Right for You?

If you’re wondering whether a career as a crane operator is right for you, you should ask yourself a couple of questions. Are you good with your hands? Do you have strong depth perception and good communication skills? Would you like to work with heavy machinery? Would you be OK traveling for work? Can you work in high places? Are you okay with working outdoors and noisy environments/conditions? Are you interested in working in construction, mining, shipbuilding, railway, or crane rental companies?

A standard workweek for crane operators is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). Similar to many other careers in construction, there are periods that will require you to work overtime. The amount of overtime you work depends on the sector in which you work as well as the region. This varies from job to job.

Skills and Certifications Required

In regard to certification, the requirements usually consist of a high school diploma, along with an NCCCO Crane certification and additional training/apprenticeships.

A state-issued license is usually required. Some states utilize the exam proctored by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. Obtaining a certification varies by state but usually consists of written and physical exams, with trainees also tested on their ability to demonstrate safe operating practices.

As higher education is not required, a career in crane operation is a pathway to a good salary and benefits even for individuals with only a high school degree.

Performance Training Solutions’ Mobile Crane Operations Course

At Performance Training Solutions, we offer a three-week, 120-clock-hour program that provides you with the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to obtain entry-level employment as an NCCCO certified crane operator. This certification program includes both the Mobile Hydraulic Telescopic Boom Swing-Cab and Telescopic Boom Fixed-Cab cranes.

The program includes a combination of classroom and in-the-seat instruction. Approximately half of the instruction will take place in the classroom. Topics covered include orientation to the trade, basic principles of cranes, crane safety, operating a crane, preventative maintenance, wire rope, and basic rigging practices. The other half of training includes in-the-seat operation of a mobile hydraulic telescopic boom swing-cab and telescopic boom fixed-cab crane. Learn more about our Mobile Crane Operations course here.

Completion of the required exams will result in a five-year Mobile Crane Operator Certification from the NCCCO National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators.

Get Started On the Path to a New Career With PTS

Performance Training Solutions is a heavy equipment operator school located in Columbus, Ohio. As one of the top training schools in the country, we assist those who wish to pursue a career as a heavy equipment operator or crane operator. Our team of experienced trainers and admissions and career representatives are committed to helping our students succeed in the long term.

If you’re interested in taking our Mobile Crane Operations course, or taking any of our additional courses, check out what you can expect. If you’d like to learn more about Performance Training Solutions and what a crane operator does, feel free to contact us today. Don’t forget to ask us how you can earn $500 off your tuition by scheduling a tour.

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