A Guide to Becoming a Crane Operator

Mobile CraneHave you been thinking about becoming a crane operator? Does the idea of picking up and transporting heavy objects from one location to another intrigue you? Crane operators do that in a safe way, often communicating with several other people for successful lifts. 

Becoming a Crane Operator

So how does a person become a crane operator? For starters, there are crane operator programs offered by trade schools. You could sign up for a training program that has a National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) accreditation. Depending on what you want to specifically do, training programs could be a couple weeks or a couple months. Most crane operators spend six months in a crane operator program at a trade school learning all about crane operations, including legal and industrial standards. But what about on-the-job training? Well, during or after trade school the next logical step is to be an apprentice with a company to literally see how operating a crane in “real life” works. Apprenticeships often last between one and three years. 

After the training program and/or apprenticeship, it’s important to obtain accredited certification, preferably through the NCCCO. This certification prepares you for crane operator licensure, which your state or city may require. Certain states, including Massachusetts, require that operators obtain a license to operate a crane. 

Besides knowing about the schooling it takes to become a crane operator, what are some skills good crane operators have? First and foremost, they are detail-oriented and pay attention to safety protocols. Next, they are good with their hands– good manual dexterity/hand-eye coordination– and are able to move multiple levers at a time. Thirdly, they’re adaptable– after all, they have to be as the weather often changes, and project managers give them new or different instructions. Being a good verbal communicator is important since crane operators have to deal with all sorts of people, including the team they work with to accomplish their goals. At times, a crane operator might also be involved in equipment repair. Critical thinking skills and being smart about time management are two other things that matter as well. 

Crane operators get paid well to do their jobs. Employment opportunities are growing, with more than 50,000 job openings coming up in the next decade. Need some advice on becoming a crane operator? You’re welcome to call Astro Crane at 978-429-8666