Crane Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for crane technicians. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Heavy Equipment degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Crane Technician?

A crane technician is a heavy equipment mechanic who specializes in maintaining and repairing crane, which are large machines used to move building materials at construction sites. They may perform routine maintenance, like lubricating and parts, as well as fixing problems when cranes malfunction. In these cases, they inspect machines and run tests to diagnose problems, and then they implement a solution, such as part replacement or system reset. After completing a repair, they carefully log their work so that they have continuous records of the machine's condition.

The following table provides detailed information for this career:

Education Required High school diploma or GED
Training Required On-the-job training
Key Responsibilities Perform maintenance checks, monitor equipment systems, ensure adherence to safety standards
Certification Certification is voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% (for all heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians)*
Median Salary (2015) $48,770 (for all mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Crane Technician?

You'll perform maintenance checks on cranes and fix any problems you find. It could be your job to monitor brake, power train, transmission and electrical systems to ensure proper performance and adherence to safety standards. If you work on industrial cranes, you should be familiar with the compliance requirements for the following organizations:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
  • State and local industrial safety commissions

Your other responsibilities might include maintaining and inspecting overhead material-handling apparatuses, developing a maintenance schedule and keeping repair records. On modern cranes, you might also be trained to use diagnostic computers to determine which components need to be repaired or adjusted. Repairing a crane could involve dismantling the machine and its parts to clean, replace, fix and lubricate faulty components using hand-held tools.

As a crane technician, you can find work with a number of employers, such as equipment manufacturers, large construction organizations, city shipping ports and government agencies. This job can require manual dexterity, driving between construction sites, working from heights and lifting heavy objects.

What Education and Training Would I Need?

You could only need a high school diploma or its equivalent to become a crane technician, with much of your training taking place on the job. However, you might improve your employment chances with related vocational training, postsecondary education or experience. For example, you could pursue an undergraduate certificate or associate's degree the following areas:

  • Electrical engineering
  • Electronics
  • Mechanical repair
  • Construction
  • Diesel mechanics
  • Heavy equipment mechanics

Some universities also offer courses in crane safety. Though many of these courses pertain to crane operation rather than crane service, they could help you gain familiarity with the equipment and OSHA standards before applying for jobs. You'd learn about crane functions, controls, safety practices and risk management. Additionally, your employer could send you to training sessions administered by crane manufacturers.

What Are My Employment Prospects?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment for crane technicians, designated as heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians, is expected to increase by 5% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that job prospects would likely be best if you have training in heavy equipment or diesel mechanics. The median annual salary for mobile heavy equipment mechanics (except engines) was $48,770 as of May 2015 with the higher-paying jobs in the natural gas distribution, electric power distribution and aerospace manufacturing industries.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Rather than focusing your career on servicing cranes and other mobile heavy equipment, you could get a job as a rail car repairer, in which your job would be to maintain and fix railroad equipment like locomotives and subway cars. Alternatively, instead of working as a technician for cranes, you could become a crane operator. In this job, you would use cranes to move materials around construction sites or load and unload cargo at ports. For either of these jobs, you need to have at least a high school diploma.

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:

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