To become a crane operator, enroll in a crane operator training program, complete an apprenticeship program, obtain certification and seek employment. A crane operator is typically required to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Technical schools, community colleges and training centers offer specialized programs for crane operators that are usually completed in only a few sessions. Course topics may include machine maintenance, inspections, crane types and safety regulations.
Next, aspiring crane operators enroll in apprenticeship programs. The International Union of Operating Engineers offers apprenticeship programs in addition to training programs. Students receive on-the-job training and classroom instruction in the course of their apprenticeship.
A crane operator must sometimes be certified depending on the types of cranes he operates. The specific requirements for certification depend on the employer, job and type of machinery. Crane operators are typically required to pass practical skills and written examinations to become certified. A prospective operator may receive his certification through the Crane Institute of America. Some states require crane operators to be licensed; requirements vary from state to state.
Crane operators with certification and licenses may be more likely to find employment. Career opportunities include in manufacturing industries, warehousing and construction. Key skills required to be a crane operator include physical strength, manual dexterity and flexibility.