Crane Operators

(NOC 7371)

in All Trades and Transportation

Crane operators operate cranes or draglines to lift, move, position or place machinery, equipment and other large objects at construction or industrial sites, ports, railway yards, surface mines and other similar locations. They work for construction, industrial, mining, cargo handling and railway companies. Mobile crane operators use mobile cranes to lift, move, and place heavy objects. Hydraulic mobile crane operators also repair, maintain, and move cranes, booms mounted on trucks, wheeled frames or crawlers, and hoisting equipment with a vertical mast or tower and jib. Tower crane operators use any mechanical device or structure that incorporates a power-driven drum with a cable or rope and a vertical mast or tower and stationery or luffing boom.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Decline sharply employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 0 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 205 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Crane Operators most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 49% of Crane Operators who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $70,411. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

N/A

Minimum

N/A

Median

N/A

Maximum

Annual Pay

$22,952

Minimum

$60,922

Median

$138,668

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.50

Minimum

$27.25

Median

$35.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Crane operators operate cranes or draglines to lift, move, position or place machinery, equipment and other large objects at construction or industrial sites, ports, railway yards, surface mines and other similar locations. They work for construction, industrial, mining, cargo handling and railway companies.

Mobile crane operators use mobile cranes to lift, move, and place heavy objects. Hydraulic mobile crane operators also repair, maintain, and move cranes, booms mounted on trucks, wheeled frames or crawlers, and hoisting equipment with a vertical mast or tower and jib. Tower crane operators use any mechanical device or structure that incorporates a power-driven drum with a cable or rope and a vertical mast or tower and stationery or luffing boom.

Job duties

Crane operators:

  • Use mobile and tower cranes to lift, move, position or place equipment and materials.
  • Complete pre-operational inspection and calculate crane capacities and weight to prepare for rigging and hoisting.
  • Use pile driving cranes to drive pilings into earth to provide support for buildings and other structures.
  • Use cranes equipped with dredging attachments to dredge waterways and other areas.
  • Use gantry cranes to load and unload ship cargo at port side.
  • Use locomotive cranes to move objects and materials at railway yards.
  • Use bridge or overhead cranes to lift, move and place plant machinery and materials.
  • Use offshore oil rig cranes to unload and reload supply vessels.
  • Use cranes mounted on boats or barges to lift, move, and place equipment and materials.
  • Use dragline cranes to expose coal seams and ore deposits at open pit mines.
  • May assemble tower cranes on site.
  • Complete routine maintenance work like cleaning and lubricating cranes.

Sample job titles

  • boom truck crane operator
  • construction crane operator
  • crane operator
  • hoist operator (except underground mining)
  • mobile crane operator
  • overhead crane operator
  • skip operator
  • tower crane operator

Skills

You should have good health, physical stamina, and strength. Agility, coordination, and mechanical aptitude would be helpful. You must also be able to work at heights, work with precision and attention to detail, take direction, and carry out instructions given by supervisors.

Job requirements

  • High school is usually required.
  • A one- to three-year apprenticeship program or high school, college or industry courses in crane operating are usually required.
  • Mobile crane operator trade certification is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Tower crane operator trade certification is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Mobile crane operators may require a provincial licence to drive mobile cranes on public roads.
  • Internal company certification as a crane operator may be required by some employers.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) is also available to qualified mobile crane and mobile crane (hydraulic) operators upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Other considerations

Robotics and computerized controls will increase the skill requirements for crane operators. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

515

employed in 2016

95.1%

employed full-time

1.9%

self employed

1.9%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
98.1%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
47.2

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

41.3%

Halifax

19.2%

North Shore

16.3%

Cape Breton

15.4%

Annapolis Valley

7.7%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

45.7%

Construction

16.0%

Manufacturing

7.4%

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

6.2%

Transportation and warehousing

6.2%

Real estate and rental and leasing

What is the age of Employment?

28.0%

45-54

27.0%

35-44

20.0%

55-64

14.0%

25-34

8.0%

65+

4.0%

15-24

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

58.3%

Trades certificate

$62,963 median annual income
24.3%

College certificate or diploma

$59,127 median annual income
8.7%

High school

$71,410 median annual income
7.8%

Less than high school

$40,038 median annual income
1.9%

University certificate or diploma

N/A

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Trades certificate

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College certificate or diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor's degree

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

PO Box 220

Halifax, NS B3J 2M4

(866) 679-6722

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Mobile crane operation/operator

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class includes any program that prepares individuals to hoist and swing loads via complex rotating machinery that is driver operated. These programs include courses in crane operational characteristics, load and capacity chart usage, emergency control skills, safety, specific types of mobile cranes and loading devices, applicable codes and standards, and applications to particular types of jobs and loads.

Institutions providing this program

Commercial Safety College

Highway #2, Masstown PO Box 848

Truro, NS B2N 5G6

(902) 662-2190

Apprenticeship Training

Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578

Halifax, NS B3J 2S9

(800) 494-5651

Operating Engineers Training Institute of Nova Scotia

296 Grey Mountain Road, PO Box 103

Falmouth, NS B0P 1L0

(902) 798-5070

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Mobile Crane Operator

Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory): This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Technical Safety Division
5151 Terminal Road, 6th floor, PO Box 697
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
(844) 424-3200
(902) 424-3239
Mobile Crane Operator (Hydraulic)

Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory): This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Technical Safety Division
5151 Terminal Road, 6th floor, PO Box 697
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
(844) 424-3200
(902) 424-3239
Tower Crane Operators

Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory): This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Technical Safety Division
5151 Terminal Road, 6th floor, PO Box 697
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
(844) 424-3200
(902) 424-3239

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Occupational Health and Safety Division
PO Box 697, 5151 Terminal Road
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
Tel: (902) 424-5300
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
10 Ragged Lake Blvd. Unit 1
Halifax, NS B3S 1C2
Tel: (902) 832-4761
Fax: (902) 832-4763
Red Seal
c/o Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency PO Box 578
Halifax, B3J 2S9
Tel: (902) 424-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717

Job postings

Crane Operator

Tower crane operator

View all job postings