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Crane or Tower Operator

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What is a Crane or Tower Operator?

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

Crane or Tower Operator Responsibilities

  • Load or unload bundles from trucks or move containers to storage bins, using moving equipment.
  • Direct helpers engaged in placing blocking or outrigging under cranes.
  • Clean, lubricate, and maintain mechanisms such as cables, pulleys, or grappling devices, making repairs as necessary.
  • Inspect cables or grappling devices for wear and install or replace cables, as needed.
  • Inspect and adjust crane mechanisms or lifting accessories to prevent malfunctions or damage.
  • Direct truck drivers backing vehicles into loading bays and cover, uncover, or secure loads for delivery.

Crane or Tower Operator Required Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Crane and Tower Operators say are important on the job.

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.

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.

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

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

  • Scrap Drop Crane Operator
  • Electric Crane Operator
  • Derrickman
  • Acid Crane Operator
  • Power Crane Operator

Are There Job Opportunities for Crane and Tower Operators?

In the United States, there were 46,000 jobs for Crane or Tower Operator in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 3,900 new jobs for Crane or Tower Operator by 2026. The BLS estimates 5,300 yearly job openings in this field.

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

The states with the most job growth for Crane or Tower Operator are Wyoming, Nevada, and Utah. 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.

Crane or Tower Operator Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Crane and Tower Operators is somewhere between $31,250 and $87,330.

Salary Ranges for Crane and Tower Operators

Crane and Tower Operators who work in Hawaii, Alaska, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

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

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $48,550
Alaska $77,270
Arizona $49,730
Arkansas $38,010
California $63,850
Colorado $58,650
Connecticut $66,580
Delaware $44,820
District of Columbia $44,580
Florida $55,410
Georgia $48,790
Hawaii $82,910
Idaho $52,610
Illinois $55,930
Indiana $62,180
Iowa $55,900
Kansas $58,730
Kentucky $49,680
Louisiana $52,010
Maine $50,980
Maryland $56,200
Massachusetts $74,160
Michigan $45,220
Minnesota $55,580
Mississippi $45,180
Missouri $46,500
Montana $63,270
Nebraska $52,120
Nevada $66,390
New Jersey $69,970
New Mexico $59,950
North Carolina $48,650
North Dakota $63,450
Ohio $48,170
Oklahoma $50,140
Oregon $70,460
Pennsylvania $52,100
South Carolina $51,390
South Dakota $58,470
Tennessee $52,470
Texas $55,490
Utah $48,670
Vermont $50,720
Virginia $65,630
Washington $72,270
West Virginia $54,520
Wisconsin $47,240
Wyoming $60,750

Tools & Technologies Used by Crane and Tower Operators

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Crane and Tower Operators:

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

How to Become a Crane or Tower Operator

Are there Crane and Tower Operators education requirements?

Crane or Tower Operator Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Crane or Tower Operator?

Crane or Tower Operator Work Experience

Crane and Tower Operators Sector

Crane or Tower Operator Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Crane and Tower Operators employed by various industries.

Crane or Tower Operator Industries

Those interested in being a Crane or Tower Operator may also be interested in:

Those who work as a Crane or Tower Operator sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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