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Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator - Mobile Crane

Duties

Crane and hoisting equipment operators service and operate the hoist and swing equipment used to move machinery, materials and other large objects.  Mobile crane operators service and operate booms that are mounted on crawlers or wheeled frames as well as traveling, fixed or climbing type hoisting equipment with a vertical mast or tower and a jib.

Operators manipulate a number of pedals and levers to rotate the crane, and raise and lower its boom and one or more loadlines. Some or all of these operations may be performed simultaneously.

Certification is required when operating mobile cranes with a lifting capacity of fifteen tons (13.6 tonnes) and over. Mobile crane operators also may drive the crane to the job site, rig the machine up (pin the boom and pendant cables and pull the hoist cable in preparation for operation), and set up the machine for the lift (i.e. make it level and stable) using blocking and leveling materials.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.

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Working Conditions

Crane and hoisting equipment operators – mobile crane (mobile crane operators) work outdoors, often in noisy, dusty conditions. They work in various locations throughout Alberta, in all types of weather.  A 40-hour, five-day week is normal, but overtime may be required to meet construction deadlines.

Occupational hazards include injuries resulting from power line contact, crane overload, falls, weather conditions or manual lifting.

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Skills and Abilities

Successful operators are capable decision-makers prepared to work independently when necessary. Yet they also enjoy the comradery of being part of a team and traveling to different locations. They often like variety in their work.

To be successful in the trade, mobile crane operators need:

  • coordination and manual dexterity
  • the ability to work at heights
  • the strength, stamina, and ability to use proper lifting techniques to lift items weighing in excess of 25 kilograms
  • good vision
  • the ability to work as part of a team and communicate with ground crews, usually using hand signals and voice communication.

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Employment and Advancement

Mobile crane operators are employed by general contractors and subcontractors in the forestry, mining, construction and oil industries, and by crane rental companies. Employment prospects change with seasonal and economic climates. Many crane operators are members of unions.

Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $24 to $38 an hour, plus benefits.

Experienced mobile crane operators may advance to supervisory positions, or set up their own crane rental businesses.

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Working in Alberta

To work as a mobile crane operator in Alberta, a person must be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, or hold a valid recognized credential.  

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.

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Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a mobile crane operator is 3 years (three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 4 or 6 weeks of technical training* (subject to the training institute) in the first year, a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training in the second year, and 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 5 or 6 weeks of technical training** in the third year.

* NAIT uniquely offers the shorter 4 week 1st period training program but requires 60 hours of self-study prior to commencing technical training.
* NAIT uniquely offers the shorter 5 week 3rd period training program but requires 30 hours of self-study prior to commencing technical training.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the Mobile Crane Operator trade or holds a related journeyperson certificate and has the employer's recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship. Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprentice representative at any Apprenticeship and Industry Training Office.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the Prior Learning Assessment Online Application.  For more information, see the Prior Learning Assessment Online Guide.
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a crane and hoisting equipment operator - mobile crane operator in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.

  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 
  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, apprentice mobile crane operators earn at least 70 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 80 percent in the second, and 90 percent in the third year.
  • complete allprogram requirements as identified in the course outline
  • enroll in technical training
    - select an educational institution that offers training for crane and hoisting equipment operator - mobile crane apprentices, and a time to attend training
    - determine requirements for enrolling at the selected institution, and forward completed enrolment form to the selected institution
  • review available resource materials
  • successfully complete all required exams

Apprentices may attempt the Interprovincial Exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal.

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.

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Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

A crane and hoisting equipment operator – mobile crane operator who holds a valid trade certificate from Alberta or from another Canadian province or territory may apply to write the Interprovincial Exam and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. The Red Seal is recognized throughout most of Canada.

To prepare for the exam see the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.

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Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available resource materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.

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Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

More information regarding the Equivalency Program can be found here.

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