Crane and Tower Operator Career

crane-worker-500Crane and tower operators use machinery to move materials around a building site while construction is occurring or in helping to unload large pieces of steel or other materials from cargo ships or trains.

If you choose to be a crane and tower operator, you may be responsible for setting up, inspecting and repairing your equipment as well as carefully controlling large, expensive pieces of equipment with levers, wheels and foot pedals. You will need to move materials around according to a schedule and keep track of when and where you move materials so others can locate and use them. It would be very important to follow safety instructions and operating procedures for the equipment.

Crane and Tower Operator Career Snapshot

Crane and tower operators may work in manufacturing, construction, transportation and warehousing businesses. Crane operators often work outdoors at great heights in a wide variety of weather, and as a group, crane and tower operators have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. It is important to take all necessary precautions with this career including wearing protective gear such as hardhats and gloves.

Further details on a career as a crane and tower operator are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly pay for crane and tower operators.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Post-secondary certificate while 32% have a High school diploma or equivalent.

Crane/Tower Operator Education

The majority of crane and tower operators have earned a post-secondary certificate while about one-third have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Crane/Tower Operator Job Duties

Crane and tower operators use sophisticated equipment to relocate machines, building materials, and other heavy items. Operators sit in a control station in order to move horizontal booms, lower and raise hooks, and turn their crane or tower. If you are a crane and tower operator, your co-workers may be guiding your work with hand signals or through a radio. You may work at a construction site or major port, helping to load and unload cargo. Some operators work in steel or iron mills.

Crane/Tower Operator Salaries

A new crane and tower operator may earn about $31,410 with a median salary of $51,650 per year according to 2015 statistics. Some in the field may pull in as much as $82,760 per year.

Crane/Tower Operator Job Outlook

Crane and tower operators fit into the job category of material moving machine operators. This overall category is expected to grow 3 percent between 2014 to 2024. Although skilled workers will still be needed, robotic technology will increase the efficiency of some material moving processes.

Crane and Tower Operator Skills & Traits

Crane & Tower Operator Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Crane &Tower Operators:Typical Work Activities:
• Operation and Control
• Operation Monitoring
• Critical Thinking
• Active Listening
• Monitoring
• Control Precision
• Multilimb Coordination
• Depth Perception
• Far Vision
• Rate Control
• Below the hook device
• Lifting hooks
• Screwdrivers
• Tower cranes
• Track cranes
• Controlling Machines and Processes
• Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
• Operating Vehicles
• Handling and Moving Objects
• Getting Information

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