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What to Expect as A Crane Operator: Skills, Training, and Careers

Crane Operator

Although cranes have gone through many evolutions, such as being equipped with cutting-edge crane safety systems, this heavy machinery was originally invented thousands of years ago by the Greeks.

Today, cranes are used in manufacturing industries, ports, and construction sites to safely lift and place materials or objects that humans can't lift or handle on their own. Crane operators are one of the reasons behind making dreamy iconic skylines and gleaming structures a reality. Here’s how you can acquire the skills needed to pursue the profession.


  • First things first, a crane operator is expected to follow all standard operating procedures and wear PPE for safety while working on sites.

  • Crane operators are responsible for more than merely pushing some pedals and pulling the levers in giant machines used to move, lift, position, or reposition objects and materials.

  • Becoming a professional crane operator requires a diverse skillset and needs to be well-versed in the safety protocols of operating several types of equipment at various sites.

  • They should also possess the knowledge and skills to manage orders, perform necessary preventive maintenance, and communicate efficiently with other team members.

  • They also need to pass drug tests and be mentally and emotionally fit because otherwise, statistics reveal that heavy machinery, especially cranes, can cause severe injuries and are known to cause at least 72 deaths nationwide in a year.

  • Crane operators also need to be disciplined as they have to sit in a confined control booth for extended periods. The person needs to be flexible, physically healthy, and possess the manual dexterity required to handle repairs and maintenance.

  • Crane operators should be able to pay attention to detail, possess a strong sense of responsibility, have good depth perception, and be able to react quickly if the situation demands critical thinking.


It’s vital to hold a minimum high-school degree to become a crane operator. Some additional certifications, apprenticeships, and training are also needed to polish the skills required to succeed in the profession.

Once certified, they can get their initial work experience through on-the-job training, but they should be at least 18 years or older and be physically fit.

Although certification is a necessary component in crane operator training, a license may also be required in some states. The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), for example, issues licenses after a comprehensive examination that includes practical and written exams to demonstrate all-around crane operating knowledge and ability.

Crane Operator in a cab


Considering that one can plan to become a crane operator without the need for any higher education, it's a reasonably well-paid job. Crane operators are typically expected to work 40 hours a week, which is a standard workweek, including working for 8 hours a day for five days a week. But like most other jobs, be prepared to enjoy the perks of having to work overtime every once in a while when deadline projects need to be completed.

So, precisely, if you have a substantial depth of perception, good hand-to-eye coordination, love to work in noisy outdoors, and possess excellent communication skills, crane operation might be the perfect profession for you!


ATB warning system

We would like to assure every crane operator that when they work with companies that employ integral safety instruments by Crane Warning Systems Atlanta, they can stop worrying about safety altogether.

As the leading distributor of RaycoWylie products, we offer a broad range of supplies to make job sites efficient and safer in the United States.

We offer operational aids, such as portable cameras, crane anemometers, crane load monitors, crane overload systems, crane RCI indicators, crane LMI systems, and more parts and products to enhance the crane safety systems.

Contact us at 770-888-8083 for inquiries and estimates or to learn more about our exceptional after-sales customer services!

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