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Crane and Tower Operators

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Life As a Crane or Tower Operator

Job Description & Duties Operate mechanical boom and cable or tower and cable equipment to lift and move materials, machines, or products in many directions.

A Day in the Life of a Crane or Tower Operator

  • Weigh bundles, using floor scales, and record weights for company records.
  • Load or unload bundles from trucks or move containers to storage bins, using moving equipment.
  • Clean, lubricate, and maintain mechanisms such as cables, pulleys, or grappling devices, making repairs as necessary.
  • Inspect and adjust crane mechanisms or lifting accessories to prevent malfunctions or damage.
  • Review daily work or delivery schedules to determine orders, sequences of deliveries, or special loading instructions.
  • Direct truck drivers backing vehicles into loading bays and cover, uncover, or secure loads for delivery.

Qualities of a Crane or Tower Operator

These are the skills Crane and Tower Operators say are the most useful in their careers:

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Other Crane or Tower Operator Job Titles

  • Heavy Equipment Operator
  • Scrap Crane Operator
  • Overhead Crane Operator
  • Scrap Drop Operator
  • Mill Crane Operator

Are There Job Opportunities for Crane and Tower Operators?

There were about 46,000 jobs for Crane and Tower Operators in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.6% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 3,900 new jobs for Crane and Tower Operators by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 5,300 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Crane and Tower Operators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Crane and Tower Operators are Texas, Florida, and California.

Watch out if you plan on working in Vermont, South Dakota, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Crane or Tower Operator Salary

Crane and Tower Operators Make between $31,250 and $87,330 a year. The median salary for this occupation is $54,140.

Salary Ranges for Crane and Tower Operators

How much do Crane and Tower Operators make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Hawaii

$82,910

Alaska

$77,270

Massachusetts

$74,160

Washington

$72,270

Oregon

$70,460

New Jersey

$69,970

Connecticut

$66,580

Nevada

$66,390

Virginia

$65,630

California

$63,850

North Dakota

$63,450

Montana

$63,270

Indiana

$62,180

Wyoming

$60,750

New Mexico

$59,950

Kansas

$58,730

Colorado

$58,650

South Dakota

$58,470

Maryland

$56,200

Illinois

$55,930

Iowa

$55,900

Minnesota

$55,580

Texas

$55,490

Florida

$55,410

West Virginia

$54,520

Idaho

$52,610

Tennessee

$52,470

Nebraska

$52,120

Pennsylvania

$52,100

Louisiana

$52,010

South Carolina

$51,390

Maine

$50,980

Vermont

$50,720

Oklahoma

$50,140

Arizona

$49,730

Kentucky

$49,680

Georgia

$48,790

Utah

$48,670

North Carolina

$48,650

Alabama

$48,550

Ohio

$48,170

Wisconsin

$47,240

Missouri

$46,500

Michigan

$45,220

Mississippi

$45,180

Delaware

$44,820

District of Columbia

$44,580

Arkansas

$38,010

Tools & Technologies Used by Crane and Tower Operators

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Crane and Tower Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Data entry software

How do I Become a Crane or Tower Operator?

What education is needed to be a Crane or Tower Operator?

Crane or Tower Operator Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Crane or Tower Operator Work Experience

Who Employs Crane and Tower Operators?

Crane or Tower Operator Sectors

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming Crane and Tower Operators might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Except Sawing
  • Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators
  • Cooling and Freezing Equipment Operators and Tenders

Those who work as Crane and Tower Operators sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

  • Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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