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Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator - Wellhead Boom Truck

An overview of the recent changes to the crane and hoisting equipment operator apprenticeship training programs is available here.


Crane and hoisting equipment operators service and operate the hoist and swing equipment used to move machinery, materials and other large objects.  Crane and hoisting equipment operators-wellhead boom truck operators set-up and operate hydraulic booms used for wellhead pumping, wireline, perforating, coiled tubing, snubbing and the rig-up and rig-out of slant service rig operations.

Wellhead boom operators manipulate a number of pedals and levers to rotate the crane and raise and lower loads. They often perform all or some of these operations simultaneously.

Certification is required when operating:

  • booms (including telescoping booms and articulating booms possessing live lines) capable of swinging, hoisting and booming up and down with a lifting capacity of greater than 5 tons (4.5 tonnes) and less than 45 tons (40.8 tonnes), and
  • articulating booms WITHOUT live lines with a lifting capacity of greater than 8 tons (7.3 tonnes) and less than 45 tons (40.8 tonnes).

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


Working Conditions

Crane and hoisting equipment operators–wellhead boom truck (wellhead boom truck 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.


Skills and Abilities

Successful wellhead boom truck operators are capable decision-makers who are prepared to work independently when necessary. 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, wellhead boom truck operators must have:

  • 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, and
  • the ability to work as part of a team and communicate with ground crews, usually using hand signals and voice communication.


Employment and Advancement

Wellhead boom truck operators are employed by general contractors and subcontractors in the oil industry 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 $16 to $28 an hour, plus benefits.

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


Working in Alberta

To work as a wellhead boom truck 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.


Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a wellhead boom truck operator is 1 year (one 12-month period) including a minimum of 100 hours of on-the-job training and 5 days of technical training.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the wellhead boom truck 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 toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • 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 online Prior Learning Assessment Application.  
  • 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 - wellhead boom truck 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.

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade.

  • 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
  • complete all program requirements as identified in the Course Outline
  • enroll in technical training
  • successfully complete all required (See Exam Counselling Sheets)
  • Technical Training Resource List
    • Each period of technical training requires apprentices to purchase specific resources and supplies.
    • Contact the training provider where you will be attending training for a complete list.

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.


Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

The wellhead boom truck operator trade does not participate in the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program.


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.


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.

Click for more information on the Equivalency Program.