Do you have a passion for construction and heavy machinery? If so, then a career as a crane operator may be the perfect fit for you. Crane operators play a critical role in the construction industry, working on everything from bridges and skyscrapers to dams and wind turbines. So what does it take to become a successful crane operator professionally? Keep reading for invaluable tips and advice on how to start a career as a crane operator.
Understanding What a Crane Operator Does
Before starting a career as a crane operator, it’s essential to understand what the job entails. Crane operators are responsible for operating and maintaining cranes and other heavy machinery for construction projects. The operator must be able to read blueprints and plan the safest way to move large objects using cranes. Crane operators must also perform routine maintenance on cranes to ensure they’re in proper working condition.
Skills and Qualifications
A combination of mechanical and technical skills is essential for anyone looking to become a crane operator. Crane operators must be able to understand complex technical diagrams and operate machinery safely and efficiently. Further, these professionals must have strong problem-solving skills to troubleshoot any issues that may arise while working on a construction project.
Licensing and Training Requirements
Crane operators must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and most employers also require some form of training and certification. Crane operator training programs take several months to complete, but they give students the skills necessary for entry-level crane operator jobs.
During training, students learn how to operate different types of cranes, including tower and mobile cranes. They also learn how to read blueprints, develop solid problem-solving skills, and familiarize themselves with regulations and other complex terms the job entails.
Access to training can come from apprenticeship programs or vocational schools that offer a certificate in crane operation upon completion. Crane operators must also receive a license from the state in which they work. Licensing requirements vary by state, but most require crane operators to complete a training program and pass an exam before applying for their license.
Types of Crane Operator Jobs
“Crane operator” is a broader term than you might realize. There are several different types of crane operator jobs available, each with its own set of responsibilities and requirements. Here’s a brief overview of the most common types of crane operator jobs available.
These professionals operate and maintain cranes and other heavy machinery during construction projects. The ability to read blueprints plays a crucial role in this position. With that skill, you can plan the safest and the most efficient way to move large objects using cranes.
A hoist operator uses winches, hoists, and jacks to move heavy objects around a worksite. These hoist operators typically work on smaller projects and often work side by side with other crane operators. However, there are various types of hoists for construction projects. For instance, heavy-duty construction hoists are in high demand in many cities because they help build super high-rise structures.
These specialists are responsible for setting up cranes, hoists, and rigging equipment in preparation for a project. Riggers are also responsible for inspecting all pieces of rigging equipment to ensure it’s in proper working condition before use. As a result, this role is critical to jobsite safety.
Tower Crane Operator
As the name suggests, these experts operate tower cranes for construction projects such as high-rises or bridges. Tower crane operators are responsible for keeping the crane load-balanced at all times. Operators also use the tower crane to lift materials from one location to another.
Mobile Crane Operator
Mobile crane operators operate cranes mounted on wheeled vehicles that can travel from one location to another with ease. Mobile crane operators are responsible for operating the crane’s controls. Plus, the mobile crane operator is in charge of ensuring the machine is in proper working condition at all times.
As you can see, learning the ropes on how to start a career as a crane operator takes time and effort. While the job requires a high school diploma or equivalent certification, it’s also important to have strong problem-solving skills to troubleshoot any issues that may arise while working on a construction project.
It also helps if you have basic computer knowledge so you can use software programs commonly used in your work. And remember, it never hurts having experience in an industry-related field such as construction or manufacturing before applying for crane operator jobs.