How to become a Crane Operator

Crane operators control mobile or stationary cranes to lift, move and place objects at locations such as building and construction sites, wharves and shipyards.

Personal requirements of a Crane Operator

  • Enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • Able to concentrate for long periods
  • Able to follow verbal and visual instructions
  • Mechanical aptitude and good coordination
  • Good eyesight for visual judgment of distances
  • Comfortable working at heights
  • Safety-conscious
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • At least 18 years of age

Education & Training for a Crane Operator

To become a crane operator you usually have to obtain a licence to Perform High Risk Work. To gain a licence, you will need to register with an approved Registered Training Organisation and work under the supervision of a licensed operator. You will also need to keep an approved logbook to record competencies achieved during training. Assessment by an independent assessor will then be required. The Perform High Risk Work Licence is issued under the National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work. You can also become a crane operator through a traineeship in Building and Construction (Specialist Trades), Construction Crane Operations or Mobile Crane Operations. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 0.3%

NSW 36.5%

NT 0.4%

QLD 25.2%

SA 11.3%

TAS 1.8%

VIC 10.7%

WA 13.8%

Hours worked:



above average

Gender split:

Male 98.6%

Female 1.4%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 18.6%

Not completed Year 12: 18.6%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 20.4%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 42.5%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 0%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 0%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0%

Age bracket:

Below 35 years: 26.7%

Above 35 years: 75.1%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
Licences to Perform High Risk Work are issued according to specific classes of crane operation. It is preferable to have a dogging licence before undertaking training to become a crane operator. All those who work in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (CIC).
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