Crane Operator Training Programs

Learn about education options to prepare for a career as a crane operator. Find out about key job skills needed in this field along with professional certification and licensure requirements. Schools offering Heavy Equipment degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Type of Crane Operator Training Programs Are Offered?

Many schools offer crane operator training programs designed to help you earn crane operator certification or improve your skills on the job. You may choose to enroll in a training program for one or more of the types of commonly used cranes, which include swing cab, fixed cab and lattice boom cranes. Some schools offer crane operator recertification programs if you're already a skilled crane operator but need recertification.

If you plan to work around power lines with cranes or heavy equipment, rigging and signalperson training is also recommended. In addition to training programs, some community colleges and vocational schools also offer individual courses on crane operation and safety. The training programs meet the regulatory safety requirements set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Available ProgramsStand-alone courses, certification prep and complete certification programs are offered
Skills LearnedCrane inspection and maintenance, rigging strategies, signals, lifting safety, and assembly
Online TrainingDistance learning is not common, as hands-on training is required
Licensing RequirementsSome states require certification to operate a crane, which is acquired through a 2-part test
Median Salary (2018) $54,140 per year (Crane and Tower Operators)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)12% growth (Construction Equipment Operators)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

Crane operator training programs teach you about the safe operation of cranes, as well as maintenance, inspection and rigging. Your curriculum will include both classroom study and practice time using an actual crane. You'll also learn to communicate using voice, radio and hand signals. Safety around power lines is also emphasized in the training. Some of the topics you'll study include:

  • Inspection and maintenance
  • Rigging strategies
  • Signal commands
  • Using slings
  • Lifting safety
  • Following ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards
  • Crane assembly

Is The Training Offered Online?

Because crane operator training programs typically require hands-on learning, schools don't usually offer them through distance learning. There are, however, commercial crane operator training programs that may prepare you for the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) certification exam. Although not endorsed by NCCCO, some online training programs are listed on the NCCCO website.

What Licensing and Certification Is Required?

Seventeen states currently require licensure, which requires passing both a written exam and a practical skills test. Although it may not be a requirement for employment, you may want to earn certification as a crane operator through the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). Certification is usually voluntary unless it's required by an employer or if a state requires it as part of the licensing process.

Certifications remain valid for five years. After that you'll then need to take a recertification examination. The International Union of Operating Engineers offers training programs, as well as the Operating Engineers Certification Program, which provides certification in the operation of various types of cranes. While some crane operator training programs provide certification as part of the program, others prepare you for the certification exam.

How Can This Help My Career?

As a successful graduate of crane operator training programs, you'll have the knowledge and skills required to safely operate and maintain cranes. Although employees leaving their jobs may open up some positions, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that material moving occupations would see 3 percent employment growth from 2016-2026. As of 2018, crane and tower operators earned an annual median wage of $54,140.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Washington-Holmes Technical Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Chipley
  • Washington County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: Calais
  • Washburn Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • Kansas: Topeka
  • Uintah Basin Applied Technology College

    Campus Locations:

    • Utah: Roosevelt
  • Southern Maine Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Maine: South Portland
  • South Louisiana Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Louisiana: Lafayette
  • Somerset County Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Somerset
  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula
  • Santiago Canyon College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Orange