Tower Crane Operator Training Programs and Classes

Tower cranes are machines that are used to move building materials at construction sites. Learn about training options and certification requirements for tower crane operators. Schools offering Heavy Equipment degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need To Know

Required by almost every state and employer, crane certification is offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). Before beginning the certification process, the NCCCO mandates that applicants must be at least 18 years old and meet all medical requirements, which include having your doctor fill out a medical form. You must also comply with both their Code of Ethics and Substance Abuse Policy, be trained and working in crane operation at the time you are seeking certification, and maintain these requirements for the duration of your entire certification period in order to earn NCCCO certification.

Certification Crane certification available through the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO)
Training Available from community colleges, vocational school, and private institutions
Salary (2017) $52,200 (Median for all crane and tower operators)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Crane Institute of America, National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators'

Are There Training Programs Available?

Training programs for tower crane operation are available at many different locations. Community colleges and vocational schools may offer a course in crane operation for students interested in taking the certification exam. There are also private institutes that offer training programs in tower crane operation, safety and inspection. Many of these training programs also include courses in becoming a crane operator trainer, which is another career option for experienced and certified tower crane operators.

You may also want to consider a ground transportation major or an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree program in a relevant area of study. A heavy equipment operator training program might be available as well. The following courses may be covered in your training program:

  • Heavy equipment maintenance technician
  • Tractor operator
  • Off-road equipment operator
  • Crane operator
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Employability
  • Safety in the workplace

What Is the Certification Test Like?

To earn a tower crane certification, you must pass two tests. The written examination is comprised of 55 multiple-choice questions. The practical exam is taken on one of three crane types and tests your skills as a tower crane operator.

Certification is only valid for five years, so you must re-certify within 12 months prior to the certification expiration date. To re-certify, you have to continue to meet all requirements previously stated. You must also pass the tower crane recertification exam, which consists of 30 multiple-choice questions. You are allowed to try taking the recertification exam twice if you fail the first time.

What About Licensure Requirements?

Keep in mind that many states also require crane operators to be licensed as well as certified. Licensure typically involves taking both a written and a skills test to prove competency. Be sure to check your state requirements before looking for a job.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

Crane and tower operators earned a median annual salary of $52,200 in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While Texas, California and Pennsylvania may contain the largest number of employed crane and tower operators, the highest mean wages for this position can be found in the states of New York, New Hampshire and Alaska.

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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Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Washington-Holmes Technical Center

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    • Florida: Chipley
  • Washington County Community College

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    • Maine: Calais
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    • Kansas: Topeka
  • Uintah Basin Applied Technology College

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    • Utah: Roosevelt
  • Southern Maine Community College

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    • Maine: South Portland
  • South Louisiana Community College

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    • Louisiana: Lafayette
  • The University of Montana

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    • Montana: Missoula
  • Somerset County Technology Center

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    • Pennsylvania: Somerset