Crane operators work on cranes or draglines to lift, move, position or place machinery, equipment and other large objects. They can work at construction or industrial sites, ports, railway yards, surface mines or other similar locations. There are three main types of cranes (boom trucks, mobile cranes and tower cranes) and various other types one can specialize in.

You have a keen awareness of safety and surrounding areas.

You have good attention to detail and coordination.

You have strong communication skills and are a team player.


  • Operate cranes to lift, move, position or place equipment and materials
  • Inspect cranes and calculate capacities and weight
  • Assemble tower cranes on site
  • Perform routine crane maintenance such as cleaning and lubricating
  • Can specialize in work such as driving pilings to support structures, dredging waterways, loading / unloading ship cargo and supply vessels, and moving objects or materials at railway yards and on boats.

Key Skills & Attributes

(technical training and on the job)

  • Strong communication and problem-solving skills,
    numeracy and reading
  • Strong depth perception, hand-eye coordination and
    attention to detail
  • Ability to calculate crane
  • Ability to work in high places
  • Ability to work outdoors in diverse weather

What You’ll Need

Entrance Requirements

Usually high school, college or industry courses in crane operating to be eligible for certification.

Apprenticeship Program: 1 to 3 years, includes technical training, on-the-job training and exam. Journeyperson certificate awarded after successful completion. As an apprentice, you also earn while you learn. Note: Trade certification is compulsory in Manitoba to be a Mobile Crane Operator, Tower Crane Operator or Hoist Operator for specified types of cranes.

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Hourly Pay

$27 – $34/hr

Projected Construction Worker Retirements

~8,100 by 2029*

*BuildForce Canada

Did You Know?

There are opportunities to learn and operate a variety of crane types or to specialize in one. Almost all operators work within a team.