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Crane Operators

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NOC:7371
Occupation:Crane Operators
Category:Trades and Transportation

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 are employed by 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 traveling/fixed/climbing hoisting equipment with a vertical mast or tower and jib. Tower crane operators operate any mechanical device or structure that incorporates a power-driven drum with a cable or rope and a vertical mast or tower and stationary or luffing boom.

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

To work in these jobs, 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:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of 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.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

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 significantly over the next few years, which will limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Crane Operators most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common.

The median employment income for 50% 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)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Crane Operators410decline sharplyN/AModerate
Minimum: $15.00
Median: $27.45
Maximum: $42.00
Minimum: $22,952
Median: $60,922
Maximum: $138,668
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Crane OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time96%89%
Percent self-employed10%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentCrane OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern8%x12%$30,581
Northern19%$56,72016%$33,660
Cape Breton17%x13%$32,974
Halifax42%$49,82147%$41,209
Annapolis Valley16%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeCrane OperatorsCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
15-2410%x
25-3420%13%
35-4435%33%
45-5427%34%
55-6410%19%
65+N/Ax
Median Age4747
GenderCrane OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Female0%5%
Male100%95%
EducationCrane OperatorsCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school8.0%$39,84818.2%$25,753
High school8.0%$70,21425.5%$28,089
Trades certificate57.0%$66,75029.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma24.0%$55,54422.6%$39,023
University certificate or diplomaxx1.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degreexx2.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diplomaxx0.2%$41,705
Master's degreexx0.3%x
Doctoratexx0.0%$36,029
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.0%$3,714
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

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
Useful 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
ohsdivision@novascotia.ca
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
10 Ragged Lake Blvd. Unit 1
Halifax, NS B3S 1C2
Tel: (902) 832-4761
Fax: (902) 832-4763
info@nscsc.ca
Red Seal
c/o Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency PO Box 578
Halifax, B3J 2S9
Tel: (902) 424-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
burridge.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
truro.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Mobile crane operation/operator
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises 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.
See all institutions providing this program+
Commercial Safety College
Highway #2, Masstown PO Box 848
Truro, NS B2N 5G6
(902) 662-2190
csc@safetycollege.ca
Apprenticeship Training
Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
Operating Engineers Investment Limited
251 Brownlow Avenue
Dartmouth, NS B3B 2A9
(902) 865-8844
iuoel721@ns.aliantzinc.ca
Additional resources: