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How to Get Your Crane Operator License

The heavy equipment industry has been on the steady incline for the past decade, with foreseeable growth in the future. This means that the demand for heavy equipment operators is also on the rise.

One of the most important heavy equipment operators is a crane operator because cranes are essential to any construction site. Out of all the heavy equipment operator jobs, these are usually the top jobs and most well-paid, even by construction industry standards.

To become a crane operator means putting in the time and dedication to learn safety training and operation techniques. It might seem daunting, but getting your crane operator license can be quite simple.

Crane Operating Overview

Crane operators are those who operate or supervise the lifting and moving of materials in a construction site, business site, or port areas. They work outside in various weather conditions, from the cold of winter to hot summers.

Some basic requirements are being at least 18 years of age, ability to distinguish colors, adequate hearing, normal depth perception and vision, and no evidence of seizures or loss of physical control. This job can be physically demanding so before you become licensed you might need to undergo physical tests.

Requirements to Become a Crane Operator

Along with the basics, there are a couple of education requirements to complete in order to become a crane operator. The three main steps are attending a crane training program, passing written exams, and passing the practical exams.

Step 1: Enroll and Attend a Crane Training Program

Enrolling and attending the right crane training program can help you even after graduation. In a training program, you will learn many crane operating topics, including:

  1. Commonly-used cranes
  2. Safety operations
  3. Crane parts to know
  4. Equipment maintenance
  5. Residential, commercial, and road construction

Learning these lessons takes place both inside and outside the classroom.

Pass Written Exams
You must pass a minimum of two written exams: the core exam and a specialty exam.
Learn More
Pass Practical Exams
In practical exams, your real-world knowledge of how to operate a crane will be tested.
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Step 2: Pass Written Exams

You must pass a minimum of two written exams: the core exam and a specialty exam. The specialty exam can be geared towards any of the following specializations: lattice boom crawler cranes, lattice boom truck cranes, telescopic boom cranes with a swing cab, or telescopic boom cranes with a fixed cab.

Step 3: Pass Practical Exams

After passing your written exam, you need to pass a practical exam. In practical exams, your real-world knowledge of how to operate a crane will be tested. After successfully passing this exam, you will get your license and may begin to apply to jobs.

How Much It Costs to Become a Crane Operator: The average course for a crane training program ranges from $1,500-$2,500. Additionally, some schools might charge additional fees for practical training at hourly rates of $80-$120.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Crane Operator?

How long it takes to get your crane operator license depends on the type of training program and crane you wish to operate. On average, training programs last 4-8 weeks, and exams can be completed quickly after. However, to become a full-time professional crane operator, employers typically look for 2-5 years of experience. You can get experience through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.

Crane Safety – Tips for Safe Lifting
If you’re going to be operating a crane lift, chances are that you could use all the safety knowledge you can manage to get your hands on. Get your complete safety guide here!!
2021 guide
How Much Does a Crane Operator Make?

Certified crane operators are some of the highest-paid operators in the construction industry. On average, the salary for a crane operator is $20.23-$35 dollars an hour. The 3 highest paying states for crane operators are:

  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming
Career Growth

This is a very sought-after job because once you’re licensed, you can find a well-paying job almost anywhere since crane operators are needed nationwide. Additionally, the construction industry has a good growth projection in the coming years, which means crane operators will continue to be in high demand.

Should I Become a Crane Operator?

If you’re looking for a good-paying job that you can do in virtually any state in the U.S., then becoming a crane operator might be the right job for you. It can bring great benefits like health insurance and paid time off. The best part? You can get licensed and begin working in less than a year!

Where to Attend Crane Certification Classes

The right training program makes all the difference. That’s why the Heavy Equipment Colleges of America works hard to help you achieve your heavy equipment goals both inside and outside the classroom. With our instructors, students learn how to excel in their chosen field. Get started on your heavy equipment journey—contact us today!

OPEN THE DOOR TO A NEW CAREER!

Locations

CA – San Bernardino:  1955 W. 9th Street | San Bernardino, CA 92411
 
CA – Ft. Irwin:  306 Langford Lake Road | Bld # TR0403 | CA 92310
(Location is on a military base and is VETERAN ONLY – Career Skills Program (CSP)*)
 
Georgia:  3120 Stonecrest Blvd, Suite 220 | Stonecrest, GA 30038
 
North Carolina:  1909 Bragg Blvd, Suite 94 | Fayetteville, NC 28303
 
Oklahoma:  6101 W. Reno Avenue, Suite 1000 | Oklahoma City, OK 73127
 
Washington:  4701 McChord Drive SW | Lakewood, WA 98499
(*Location is Veteran Only – DOD Skillbridge/Career Skills Program (CSP) and VA Education Benefits)

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CALIFORNIA LOCATION ONLY: Heavy Equipment College of America is a private institution approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Approval to operate means the institution is compliant with the minimum standards contained in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and Division 7.5 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. (https://www.bppe.ca.gov/). Access all Catalogs, Student Performance Fact Sheets and Brochures here.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the government agency responsible for determining eligibility for VA education benefits and for authorizing payment for the benefits. If you have questions about the available benefits or your eligibility, please contact our admissions office at 888- 709-5007. You may also visit https://www.gibill.va.gov to learn more about the available benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Heavy Equipment Colleges of America cannot guarantee employment or career advancement or any particular earnings or salary.

OKLAHOMA LOCATION ONLY: Heavy Equipment Colleges of America has a Certificate of Approval from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The school’s programs are approved by TWC. Students must address their concerns about this school of any of its educational programs by following the grievance process outlined in the school’s catalog. Students dissatisfied with the school’s response to their complaint or who are not able to file a complaint with the school, can file a formal complaint with TWC, as well as with other relevant agencies or accreditors, if applicable. Information on filing a complaint with TWC can be found on TWC’s website at www.texasworkforce.org/careerschoolstudents.

Heavy Equipment Colleges of America endorses the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) and provides training to prepare candidates for CCO examinations.

*Skillbridge/Career Skills Program (CSP) prepares service members for civilian employment through first-class apprenticeships, on-the-job training, job shadowing, internships and employment skills training. Service members are eligible to participate in a Skillbridge/Career Skills Program (CSP) up to 180 days prior to separation. To be considered for an open seat in a Skillbridge/Career Skills Program (CSP) you must contact the POC at the installation where you want to attend a Skillbridge/Career Skills Program (CSP) and submit your commander authorized/signed participation memo in advance of the start date.

WIOA/TAA funded training may be provided only to individuals who qualify for the program and not only if funds are available.

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