Crane operation is a wide and varied field. There are many different types of cranes that are used for different construction and other jobs. These include truck mounted cranes, those that are self-propelled, and ones that are assembled on-site while doing construction. Some cranes move from site to site, like those in construction, while others are a permanent fixture in a certain warehouse. Crane operators generally have received their high school diploma and have at least some other specialized training. There are variations on the amount of training or certifications a crane operator must have from state to state, so it is important to check the qualifications and licensing procedures in your area.
Download OSHA's Rigger Fact Sheet and Signal Person Fact Sheet describing the qualified Rigger and Signal Person requirements of subpart CC - Cranes and Derricks in Construction, as specified in 29 CFR 1926.
Crane Operator Responsibilities & Descriptions
People who go into the field to become a crane operator must have a great deal of knowledge about machinery and how the cranes run, as well as the industry in which they are using the cranes. While we mainly think of cranes where they are highly visible, such as in construction or demolition work, they are also highly useful in the manufacturing industry, where they are used to move heavy materials like steel, as well as in the transportation and shipping industries that move large containers of goods. Some crane operators even work in the logging and mining industries.
While the job is needed year round, most crane operators find more steady work in the summer than in the winter, as rain or snow can cause construction to halt. Crane operators must be prepared to work in all kinds of weather conditions, from extreme cold to extreme heat, and physical stamina is also important as you will be required to sit for long hours and repeat the same motions, and because the bucking, jolting, or vibrating of the crane can be tiring. Also, crane operators generally have to lift heavy parts as they put the cranes together. Generally, they work 40 hours a week, but often they are moving from job site to job site, which can make the time seem longer or their hours irregular. It can be a rewarding job, though, so long as you realize the crane operator responsibilities and training you will have to receive.