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How to Become a Crane Operator

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Crane operators move heavy materials during construction jobs and in warehouse settings using overhead, tower or mobile cranes. They transport objects using the crane’s retractable arms. Crane operators are typically directed by fellow site workers, as visibility on a crane can be limited. Due to the nature of the work, some states require certification for crane operators.

Education and Training

The first step to becoming a crane operator is to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, aspiring crane operators and excavating machine operators also need several years of experience in related jobs before they become full-time crane operators. New operators must undergo on-the-job training from a senior worker for an amount of time determined by the employer.

Crane Operator Certification

To improve their employment prospects, crane operators can obtain certification from accredited programs like the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators. Certification is granted upon successful completion of a written and physical exam. Certification requirements vary slightly based on whether the operator is seeking mobile, tower or overhead crane certification. Certification is valid for five years.

About the Author

Olivia Johnson covers issues relating to the U.S. workforce and human resources. A professional journalist since 2001, she has worked in print and broadcast media for news outlets including ABC affiliates in Tennessee and Alabama, CBS Radio News, Westwood One and public radio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and is currently based in Tennessee.

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