Crane Operator Salary
Male Crane Operators number significantly more than their female counterparts, and average earnings in this role come out to $24.49 per hour in the United States. Final cash compensation to Crane Operators varies from around $34K to approximately $98K; choice pay grades include potential for bonuses and profit sharing as high as $10K and $6K, respectively. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is geographic location, followed by the company and tenure. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — just under one in four lack coverage. On the flip side, a fair number have medical insurance and slightly more than half receive dental plans. Most Crane Operators report high levels of job satisfaction. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
Job Description for Crane Operator
A crane operator uses a crane to lift and move equipment and/or materials around a job site. In addition to the responsibilities associated with the operation of the crane, they must also perform inspections of the equipment before and after its use to ensure it is in working order. These operators must know and follow safety procedures on using the crane and working on job sites. In some positions, being able to plan operational lifts is an important part of the job.Read More...
The crane operator works in an enclosed environment while in the crane, but environmental conditions in their work area may reach extremely high or low temperatures. The crane operator must also work for long periods of time in a small space. These professionals can work in a variety of locations, from very high above ground to working in a shipyard, and so they must be able to handle any relevant challenges to their working environment.
The ability to communicate effectively through radio and hand signals is often required and is desired of the crane operator. Good job attendance and workplace safety performance are also necessary. Candidates may also be required to be familiar with the operation manuals of the machinery on which they work, and they may be required to submit reports regarding machinery inspection and maintenance. Education requirements generally include a high school diploma or equivalent; technical training and certifications are highly recommended.
Crane Operator Tasks
- Operate a crane to move heavy equipment and cargo.
- Perform work area housekeeping functions and help with equipment maintenance.
- Diagnose problems and maintain a variety bulk handling equipment.
- Work with crews to load and unload heavy items.
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Pay by Experience Level for Crane Operator
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Crane Operators do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. Survey participants with less than five years' experience pocket $50K on average, but those with five to 10 years of experience enjoy a much bigger median of $57K. Crane Operators who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $64K. Crane Operators who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $66K.
Pay Difference by Location
Surpassing the national average by 56 percent, Crane Operators in Williston receive some of the highest pay in the country. Crane Operators will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+48 percent), Los Angeles (+33 percent), Houston (+21 percent), and New York (+17 percent). Crane Operators in Milwaukee report much lower salaries than the rest of the country — 24 percent below the national average — proving that residence is a major factor in overall pay. Cleveland and Tampa are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 11 percent lower and 10 percent lower, respectively.
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Key Stats for Crane Operator
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