Next Certificate Program Start: 07/29/2024  |  Next Associate Degree Program Start: 10/07/2024

Next Certificate Program Start: 06/06/2022  |  Next Associate Degree Program Start: 07/05/2022

Next Certificate Program Start: 07/29/2024  |  Next Associate Degree Program Start: 10/07/2024



What Does a Crane Operator Do?

Learn how HEC crane operator training can further your career path

A Crane Operator Career in the Construction Industry

Likes working outdoors. Good with your hands. Great with machines. Enjoys building things that last.

If you check all the boxes, you might just excel as a crane operator.

Instead of working in a cubicle, make the outdoors your workspace! As a crane operator, you can still work 40-hour weeks, but in a way that’s fulfilling and stimulating. The exact number varies depending on the construction industry subsector, region, or project.

On top of lively outdoor work sites, Crane operators enjoy traveling and staying in different locations like ports, railways yards, surface mines, and related places. You get to work closely with a crew that practically becomes family.

Workplace and crane safety are huge in this field. Learn all about how to maintain your well-being as you maneuver mobile cranes and draglines to lift, reposition, or move large objects. This includes pieces of machinery, equipment, and construction or industrial materials.

For the most part, your employer would be within the construction industry, such as crane rental companies, but it could also be for businesses in mining, shipbuilding, and railway transportation.

Crane Operator Job Duties

In a crane operator role, you’re in charge of inspecting, maintaining, assembling, and controlling cranes. You could work with boom trucks, tower cranes, or mobile cranes: specializing in conventional or hydraulic ones.

Your day-to-day duty breakdown could look something like this:

  • Conduct mechanical crane safety check
  • Set up and operate crane(s)
  • Place material around site based on project plan
  • Monitor crane stability
  • Load and balance weights
  • Perform or read crane signals
  • Coordinate site safety with signal person
  • Repair and maintain machinery
  • Report issues to supervisor
  • Record material repositioning
  • Clear travel routes for crew members
  • Work in busy, noisy on-site location

Crane Operator Career Outlook

Starting to see how a crane operator career could fit you? Maybe this will sweeten the deal.

You probably haven’t heard, but crane operators are in-demand across the entire construction industry. After all, they’re needed on virtually every job site! The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates job openings at 8% from 2014 through 2024. That’s higher than the national job average and well above the high-skilled one.

In other words—expect sizable job security with this one!

Industry Skills and Certification

Before you start your crane operator career: certification or licensing and an on-the-job evaluation are needed. It’s really important you feel confident and in control when operating heavy machinery like this. Getting comprehensive skills and certification training improves your standing when applying for jobs!


A few of the most sought after skills for entry-level crane operators include:

  • Manual dexterity, flexibility, and physical strength
  • Depth perception, hand-eye coordination, and quick reaction time
  • Basic mechanical knowledge of crane equipment
  • Ability to make minor repairs as needed
  • Quick critical thinking and judgement
  • Organizational skills for job ticketing

If you want to try your hand at an upper management role down your career path, it would help to have several years of experience in construction, mining, or truck driving. Having a strong mathematics background from algebra through calculus would be advantageous as well.


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ruled that crane operators must be licensed or certified based on the crane’s type or type and capacity.

OSHA also maintained that it’s your employer’s duty to ensure that you can safely operate your machinery. You should receive training for all your crane-related activities and new assignments. You can begin working once you successfully complete your evaluations!

Check out our Other Heavy Equipment Blogs

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Build Your Skills at Heavy Equipment College

It’s time to forge a career with accredited crane operator training at HEC! Enroll in our mobile crane operation program and—when you’re up for the next step—follow it with our lattice boom crane program.

Get ready to jump in and crush your first day on the job through HEC’s effective crane operator career preparation.
H2: Build Field Experience
Nail down the essential working knowledge to excel in the industry! Our mobile crane operation curriculum completely revolves around hands-on training and experiential learning so you only get what you actually need.

Accessible Program
Want to start working right away? Both our programs are designed to teach you everything you need in just 3 weeks. We have campuses across the country for your easy access! You can attend mobile crane classes in North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, or California.

Our military vets can even attend VA-approved education classes on our California and Washington military base locations.

Accredited Certification Training
This NCCCO-accredited program takes an outcome-based approach, so your program knowledge and skills will meet all industry and regulatory requirements.

This works to:

  • Improve lifting equipment safety
  • Reduce workplace risk
  • Enhance performance records
  • Kickstart comprehensive skills training

Build the skills all employers are looking for. Enroll in HEC and earn your Certificate of Heavy Equipment Operations – Mobile Crane and even a Certificate of Heavy Equipment Operations – Level II for lattice boom cranes.

Start preparing for a career that feels right. Request an HEC application today!

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