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Apprenticeship

Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator

Crane and hoisting equipment operators service and operate the hoist and swing equipment used to move machinery, materials and other large objects.

  • Avg. Salary $90,275.00
  • Avg. Wage $38.79
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 2,400
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Boom Truck Operator, Construction Tradesperson, Conventional Mobile Crane Operator, Equipment Operator, Hydraulic Mobile Crane Operator, Mobile Crane Operator, Tower Crane Operator

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

51%
51%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Related Videos
Crane Operator (5:42)
Crane and Hoist Operator (2:35)
NOC & Interest Codes
The Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Crane Operators
NOC code: 7371
OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating gantry cranes to load and unload ship cargo at port side; locomotive cranes to move objects and materials at railway yards; bridge and overhead cranes to lift, move and place plant machinery and materials; offshore oil-rig cranes to unload and reload supply vessels; and dragline cranes to expose coal seams and ore deposits at open pit mines

METHODICAL

Interest in copying information to calculate crane capacities and weights to prepare for rigging and hoisting; and in performing routine maintenance work such as cleaning and lubricating cranes

innovative

Interest in performing pre-operational inspections to lift, move and place equipment and materials using cranes mounted on boats and barges

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Operators manipulate a number of pedals and levers to rotate cranes and raise and lower loads. They often perform all or some of these operations simultaneously.

In Alberta, there are four types of crane and hoisting equipment operators:

  • wellhead boom truck operators
  • boom truck operators
  • tower crane operators
  • mobile crane operators (including hydraulic and conventional crane mobile operators).

Wellhead boom truck operators set up and operate hydraulic booms used for wellhead pumping, wireline, perforating, coil tubing, snubbing, and the rig-up and rig-out of slant service rig operations.

Boom truck operators set up, service and operate hydraulic booms mounted on turrets that are affixed to trucks and are capable of moving heavy loads. Certification is required to operate:

  • booms (including telescoping booms and articulating booms possessing live lines) capable of swinging, hoisting and booming up and down with a lifting capacity of greater than 5 tons (4.5 tonnes) and less than 45 tons (40.8 tonnes).
  • articulating booms without live lines with a lifting capacity of greater than 8 tons (7.3 tonnes) and less than 45 tons (40.8 tonnes).

Tower crane operators service and operate travelling, fixed, climbing or self-erecting type hoisting equipment with a vertical mast or tower and a jib. Tower crane operators are often involved in assembling the crane on site.

Mobile crane operators service and operate booms mounted on crawlers or wheeled frames as well as travelling, fixed or climbing type hoisting equipment with a vertical mast or tower and a jib. Certification is required to operate mobile cranes with a lifting capacity of 15 tons (13.6 tonnes) or more. Mobile crane operators also may:

  • drive the crane to the job site
  • rig the machine up (pin the boom and pendant cables and pull the hoist cable in preparation for operation)
  • set up the machine for the lift (make it level and stable) using blocking and levelling materials.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Crane and hoisting equipment operators work outdoors, often in noisy, dusty conditions. They work in locations throughout Alberta in all types of weather. A 40 hour, five day work week is normal but overtime may be required to meet construction deadlines. Occupational hazards include injuries resulting from power line contact, crane overload, falls, weather conditions or manual lifting.

Crane and hoisting equipment operators may be required to lift items that weigh over 25 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Crane and hoisting equipment operators need the following characteristics:

  • co-ordination and manual dexterity
  • the ability to work at heights 
  • good vision
  • the ability to work as part of a team and communicate with ground crews, usually using hand signals and voice communication.

They should enjoy working independently when necessary, being part of a team and having variety in their work.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

To work in Alberta, a crane and hoisting equipment operator must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate.

Journeyperson mobile crane operators are qualified to operate boom trucks as well as mobile cranes. Journeyperson boom truck operators are qualified to operate wellhead boom trucks as well as boom trucks.  

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 10-2 and Math 10-3, or equivalent, or a pass mark in all 5 GED tests, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates.  

Terms of apprenticeship for the different branches of this trade vary.

  • Wellhead boom truck operators: one year (one 12 month period) that includes a minimum of 100 hours of on-the-job training and five days of technical training.
  • Boom truck operators: one year (one 12 month period) that includes a minimum of 1,200 hours of on-the-job training and five or six weeks of technical training subject to the training institute (the five week option requires 30 hours of self-study prior to commencing technical training). 
  • Tower crane operators: two years (two 12 month periods) that include a minimum of :
    • 1,000 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of technical training in the first year
    • 1,000 hours of on-the-job training in the second year.
  • Mobile crane operators: three years (three 12 month periods) that include a minimum of:
    • 1,500 hours of on-the-job training and four or six weeks of technical training with 60 hours of self-study prior to commencing technical training in the first year
    • 1,500 hours of on-the-job training in the second year
    • 1,500 hours of on-the-job training and five or six weeks of technical training 30 hours of self-study prior to commencing technical training in the third year.

There are no apprenticeship programs specifically for conventional or hydraulic mobile crane operators at this time.

High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Only mobile crane operator, hydraulic mobile crane operator, and tower crane operator apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada). 

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry. Technical training for:

  • boom truck operators is currently offered at:
    • Keyano College in Fort McMurray
    • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton
    • the Northern Lakes College in Grande Prairie , Red Deer and Slave Lake
    • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary
  • mobile crane operators is currently offered at:
    • Keyano College in Fort McMurray
    • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton
    • the Northern Lakes College in Grande Prairie, Red Deer and Slave Lake
    • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary
  • tower crane operators is currently offered at:
    • Keyano College in Fort McMurray
  • wellhead boom truck operators is currently offered at:
    • Enform in Nisku.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

Currently, there is no technical training available for the conventional or the hydraulic mobile crane operator. In lieu of technical training and upon completion of the required on-the-job training and the term of apprenticeship, apprentices may take the first period theory and practical examinations (no fee) and if successful, complete the apprenticeship program.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

High Velocity Equipment Training College

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

This is an Apprenticeship trade. For full details, see the related certification profile

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Crane and hoisting equipment operators are employed by general contractors and subcontractors in the forestry, mining, construction and oil industries, and by crane rental companies. Employment prospects change with seasonal and economic climates. Many crane operators are members of unions.

Experienced crane operators may advance to supervisory positions or set up their own crane rental businesses. Alberta certified journeyperson crane operators who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Crane and hoisting equipment operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7371: Crane operators. In Alberta, 86% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 3,800 Albertans are employed in the Crane operators occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.5% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 19 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As crane and hoisting equipment operators form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for crane and hoisting equipment operators.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Journeyperson and apprentice wage rates vary.

  • boom truck and wellhead boom truck operator wage rates range from $16 to $28 an hour plus benefits. Apprentices earn at least 70% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment. (2014 estimates)
  • tower crane operator wage rates range from $24 to $38 an hour plus benefits. Apprentices earn at least 70% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year of apprenticeship and 85% in the second. (2014 estimates)
  • mobile crane operator wage rates range from $24 to $38 an hour plus benefits. Apprentices earn at least 70% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year of apprenticeship, 80% in the second and 90% in the third. (2014 estimates)
  • conventional mobile crane operator and hydraulic mobile crane operator wage rates range from $24 to $38 an hour. (2016 estimates)
Crane operators
NOC code: 7371

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $22.00 $47.10 $32.28 $30.00
Overall $26.00 $49.78 $38.79 $43.00
Top $30.50 $55.00 $45.82 $49.45

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Transportation and Warehousing
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

51%
51%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

24%
24%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

2015 Vacancy Rate

5%
Related High School Subjects
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Fabrication
    • Mechanics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

Calgary Construction Association website: www.cca.cc

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 25, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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