Crane operators run cranes or draglines to lift, move and position heavy objects, such as building materials or machinery at construction or industrial sites, ports, railway yards, surface mines and similar locations.
People in this occupation:
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 870
Crane operators perform some or all of the following duties:
Workers in this occupation typically work a standard 40-hour week. Overtime work may also be required during peak construction periods. Large construction projects and resource industry jobs sometimes require workers to relocate to remote work sites for periods of time.
Crane operators generally work outdoors, but work is conducted inside a covered control cab. They may also work at heights.
Crane operators must be able to handle the stress of responding to hand signals and/or radio instructions while manipulating multiple controls in situations that often have slim margins for error. They must be able to communicate clearly with a ground crew, properly calculate loads and stay aware of electrical wiring the crane may come in contact with. In addition, they must be able to handle sudden changes in the pace of work since they may have to wait for long periods before the crane is needed. All crane operators follow safety regulations to reduce the risk of hazards.
Working conditions have changed in recent years, as newer cranes now have many features that make them much more comfortable than older models, such as improved seats, soundproof cabs and hydraulic or electric over hydraulic controls.
Source: 2016 Census
Completion of secondary school is usually required to work in this field. Competency in math is also necessary in order for crane operators to do their job safely.
As of July 1, 2007, most crane operators need to have documented proof that they are either certified or currently registered for assessment that will lead to certification by the British Columbia Association for Crane Safety (BCACS) in order to work in B.C.
In B.C., regulation applies to operators of boom trucks, mobile cranes, tower cranes and self erecting tower cranes. Note: operators who use cranes under five tons or that have a boom length of less than 25 feet are exempt from certification and bridge cranes are not covered by the regulation. For more information, please see the WorkSafeBC website at: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/education-training-certification/crane-operator.
The BCACS issues certificates to operators after they have successfully completed a competency assessment. No specific training program is required. However, to be eligible for certification, individuals should have completed either a three-year apprenticeship program through the Industry Training Authority or have a combination of work experience in the trade and some college or industry courses.
Assessment is conducted by an independent third party. Level 1 certification allows trainees to work directly under the supervision of a qualified operator. The trainee may later request to be assessed again for a higher level of certification, Level 2 or 3. Assessment is competency-based and not based on the number of hours worked within the occupation. Under the regulation, existing operators are allowed to continue operating. However, within one year of registration with the BCACS they are required to take a practical assessment.
For more information on crane operator certification see BCACS at https://bccranesafety.ca/.
Mobile crane operators are currently eligible for Interprovincial Standards Red Seal qualification through the Industry Training Authority. This qualification allows holders to work in any province or territory. Once individuals pass the final examination of their accredited training program, they will achieve certification and will automatically receive a Red Seal qualification. Workers with 6,030 hours of documented, directly related work experience can challenge the Interprovincial Red Seal examination. For more information please see the Industry Training Authority website at www.itabc.ca.
Crane operators who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact the Industry Training Authority of BC and/or the BC Association for Crane Safety for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
Visit our trades training page at www.workbc.ca/trades to learn about apprenticeship and trades training in B.C.
Every job calls for a certain set of skills. Knowing those skills is the first step in finding a good career fit.
Here, you will find the 35 most relevant workplace skills. Some are more important to achieving success in a certain career than others. These skills may come naturally to you or you may need to gain them through education, training and experience.
See the list of work-related skills below, ranked in order of importance for this career. You’ll also find the skill strength needed, letting you know how capable you must be in that skill.
Check out the list and see if this career matches your skills—take that first step!
The majority of new job openings will come from the need to replace retiring workers. Over the longer term, employment growth is expected to be average.
Demand for these workers depends largely on growth in the Construction industry. Crane operators mainly work in the Construction industry. Government funding for capital projects is expected be an important source of industrial and engineering construction work, which may positively affect job opportunities for crane operators.
Technological advances, such as the increased use of robotics and computer controls, will likely affect skill requirements, but will not change the overall demand for crane operators.
Crane operators may begin their careers as construction labourers or they may enter the work force directly as apprentices. With experience, crane operators can advance to supervisory positions. They may also choose to become estimators or dispatchers.