How Do I Become a Crane Driver?

Dan Cavallari

A crane operator is a person who operates a variety of vehicles that can be classified as cranes, which are devices used to lift heavy objects or transport materials using a long boom arm and a cable system. If you want to become a crane driver, you will first need to complete a high school education or equivalent training program. During this time, it is wise to pay attention to math courses as well as shop classes. Develop your communication skills as well if you want to become a crane driver.

A loader crane is used to load materials on and off of a truck.
A loader crane is used to load materials on and off of a truck.

Once you graduate from high school, you will need to find a program that will teach you the skills necessary to become a crane driver. You will need to research the various options for training and ensure you choose one that is reputable and affordable. You may want to ask current crane operators where they got their training and what they thought of that training to get a better understanding of which programs will be worth investing in. Any training program you choose should prepare you for the licensing exams you will need to take to become a crane driver. You must pass the licensing exams in order to become a crane driver. These exams include both a written section and a practical section, in which you will operate a crane on-site.

After completing all licensing exams and passing them, you will be qualified to operate a crane. It is very likely, however, that you will still spend an extended period of time as an apprentice within a company. This means you will work under the direct guidance and supervision of a more experienced crane operator who can teach you the skills and techniques necessary to safely and effectively control a variety of different types of cranes. This apprenticeship can last anywhere from one to four years, depending on the company's requirements and the complexity of the equipment being used.

The apprenticeship period will end and you will be able to become a crane driver full time, but you will need to complete re-certification every few years in order to remain qualified to perform this job. Re-certification basically entails re-examination and possible retraining; you will have to pay a licensing fee to remain current on your qualifications, and you may have to undergo further training on revised or updated safety procedures as they relate to crane operations.

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