Skip navigation

Summary Report for:
53-7021.00 - Crane and Tower Operators

Operate mechanical boom and cable or tower and cable equipment to lift and move materials, machines, or products in many directions.

Sample of reported job titles: Crane Operator, Heavy Equipment Operator, Machine Operator, Material Handler, Mobile Crane Operator, Overhead Crane Operator, Port Crane Operator, Scrap Crane Operator, Winchman/Crane Operator, Woodyard Crane Operator

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Determine load weights and check them against lifting capacities to prevent overload. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Move levers, depress foot pedals, or turn dials to operate cranes, cherry pickers, electromagnets, or other moving equipment for lifting, moving, or placing loads. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Inspect cables or grappling devices for wear and install or replace cables, as needed. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Clean, lubricate, and maintain mechanisms such as cables, pulleys, or grappling devices, making repairs as necessary. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Inspect and adjust crane mechanisms or lifting accessories to prevent malfunctions or damage. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Direct helpers engaged in placing blocking or outrigging under cranes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Load or unload bundles from trucks or move containers to storage bins, using moving equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Weigh bundles, using floor scales, and record weights for company records. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Review daily work or delivery schedules to determine orders, sequences of deliveries, or special loading instructions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Direct truck drivers backing vehicles into loading bays and cover, uncover, or secure loads for delivery. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Inspect bundle packaging for conformance to regulations or customer requirements and remove and batch packaging tickets. See more occupations related to this task.

Find occupations related to multiple tasks

back to top

Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Adjustable wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • All terrain cranes — All-terrain cranes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Anemometers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Angle grinder — Angle grinders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ball peen hammer — Ball peen hammers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Below the hook device — Anti-two block devices; Lifting magnets; Spreader beams; Tower attachments See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Bench vises See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Blocks or pulleys — Hook blocks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Blow torch — Oxyacetylene torches; Propane torches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Box end wrenches — Closed-end wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Bridge cranes — Gantry cranes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Calipers — Vernier calipers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Claw hammer — Claw hammers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Demolition equipment kits — Iron balls; Overhaul balls See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Demolition hammers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Draglines — Dragline buckets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Drum grabs — Barrel clamps See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ear muffs — Protective ear muffs See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ear plugs — Protective ear plugs See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Earthmoving buckets or its parts or accessories — Clamshell buckets; Orange peel buckets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Floor or platform scales — Floor scales See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Force or torque sensors — Load monitoring indicators; Rated load indicators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Forklifts — Pallet forks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Goggles — Safety goggles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Grapples — Timber tongs See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Grease guns See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hazardous material protective apparel — Survival suits See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hoists — Chain falls See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Hydraulic truck cranes — Cab cranes; Hydraulic truck-mounted cranes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Impact wrenches — Electric impact wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Jacks — Hydraulic jacks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Jib crane — Jib cranes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Lifting hooks — Clips; Lifting clamps; Load hooks; Wedge sockets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Linear position sensors — Boom length indicators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Needlenose pliers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Oil gun — Oilcans See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Open end wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Paint sprayers — Paint application sprayers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pile drivers — Drop hammers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pneumatic impact wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Power drills See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pressure or steam cleaners — Power washers; Steam cleaning equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pry bars See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Pullers — Comealongs See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Punches or nail sets or drifts — Drift pins; Punches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ratchets — Ratchet sets See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Respirators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Rotary position sensors — Boom angle indicators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Rough terrain cranes — Rough-terrain cranes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Safety glasses See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Safety harnesses or belts — Fall arrest harnesses See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Screwdrivers — Phillips head screwdrivers; Robertson screwdrivers; Straight screwdrivers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Shackle — Shackles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sledge hammer — Sledgehammers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Slings — Lifting slings See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Slip or groove joint pliers — Slip joint pliers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Specialty wrenches — Spud wrenches See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tape measures — Measuring tapes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tinners snips — Snips See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tire pressure gauge — Tire pressure gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Touch screen monitors — Wireless touch screen monitors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tower cranes — Friction cranes; Luffing jib cranes; Ringer cranes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Track cranes — Crawler cranes; Monorail cranes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Track excavators — Excavators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Turnbuckles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Two way radios See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wear testers — Wear gauges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Welding masks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wire brushes See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wire cutters — Wire rope cutters See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Industrial control software — Crane operation control software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Inventory management software — Inventory tracking software See more occupations related to this technology.

back to top

Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

back to top

Skills

  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it. See more occupations related to this skill.

back to top

Abilities

  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Glare Sensitivity — The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged. See more occupations related to this ability.

back to top

Work Activities

  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles). See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials. See more occupations related to this activity.

back to top

Detailed Work Activities

  • Load shipments, belongings, or materials. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Record operational or production data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Weigh materials to ensure compliance with specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Verify information or specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspect material-moving equipment to detect problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Direct material handling or moving activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Install parts, assemblies, or attachments in transportation or material handling equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Review work orders or schedules to determine operations or procedures. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain material moving equipment in good working condition. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Clean machinery or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Secure cargo. See more occupations related to this activity.

Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities

back to top

Work Context

  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 84% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 62% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 71% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Consequence of Error — 78% responded “Extremely serious.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 66% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 75% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 75% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 73% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 58% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 59% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 62% responded “Very high responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 64% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 58% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 63% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 63% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 58% responded “Very important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 41% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to High Places — 54% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 44% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 55% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 37% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 40% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 18% responded “Limited freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 49% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 48% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 23% responded “Less than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 38% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 19% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 31% responded “High responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Whole Body Vibration — 32% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 33% responded “Never.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 19% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 36% responded “Never.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 25% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 26% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.

back to top

Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

back to top

Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
Not available Post-secondary certificate Help
Not available High school diploma or equivalent Help
Not available Less than high school diploma

back to top

Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses Find Apprenticeships

back to top

Interests

Interest code: RCI

  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. See more occupations related to this interest.

back to top

Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.

back to top

Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions. See more occupations related to this work value.

back to top

Related Occupations

back to top

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $24.39 hourly, $50,720 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 44,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Faster than average (15% to 21%) Faster than average (15% to 21%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 22,400
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs Job Banks

back to top

Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

back to top