Crane Operator

NOC #72500

  • Environment Primarily outdoor work
  • Education High school diploma
  • Average salary $61,000 to $89,000

Career profile

Crane operators operate cranes or draglines to lift, move, position or place machinery, equipment and other large objects at construction or industrial sites. They are responsible for site safety during lift operations. They manipulate several levers and pedals to rotate and raise this equipment to lift heavy loads and accurately and safely place these into the right spot.

Oil and gas services, Oil sands, Well site decommissioning, Modular fabrication, Construction, Wind

In this occupation activities may include:

  • Ensuring awareness of all site conditions that could affect crane operation (e.g., overhead power lines, workers, mobile equipment, pedestrians etc.)
  • Inspecting and adjusting crane mechanisms or lifting accessories to prevent malfunctions or damage
  • Inspecting cables or grappling devices for wear and installing or replacing cables
  • Calculating crane capacities and weight to prepare for rigging and hoisting
  • Reading and understanding load charts
  • Moving levers, depressing foot pedals or turning dials to operate cranes, cherry pickers, electromagnets or other equipment for lifting, moving or placing loads


  • A high school diploma (or equivalent) is typically required.


  • Standard and emergency first aid
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Construction Safety Training System (CSTS)
  • Pipeline Construction Safety Training (PCST)
  • H2S Alive®
  • Crane Safety Certification
  • Fall protection


  • Completion of a one- to two-year apprenticeship program is typically required to complete Level 1 and then the Certificate of Qualification for a specific type of crane. A certified tradesperson may qualify themselves to operate more than one type of crane. Another route into apprenticeship training is a pre-apprenticeship foundation program. In most provinces, both of these routes can begin in high school
  • The Red Seal endorsement is the interprovincial standard of excellence, and is available to tradespersons upon successful completion of the Red Seal examination

  • Travel likely required
  • Shiftwork/variable work hours
  • Primarily outdoor work
  • Work not physically demanding
  • Safety-sensitive environment
  • Work away from home/in camps

You use your strong leadership, hand-foot-eye coordination, depth perception, math skills, mechanical aptitude and troubleshooting abilities to get the job done. You can tolerate different paces of work and a high degree of stress as you’re responsible for a high-risk function of construction operations.

  • Public safety and security
  • Active listening
  • Working with others
  • Monitoring operations
  • Attention to detail
  • Critical thinking
  • Maintaining equipment
  • Coordination
  • Controlling operations
  • Building and construction