Crane and Tower Operators

General Information

Description

Operate mechanical boom and cable or tower and cable equipment to lift and move materials, machines, or products in many directions.

Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Industry areas

  • Other Specialty Trade Contractors
  • Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods (4232, 4233, 4235, 4236, 4237, and 4239 only)
  • Support Activities for Water Transportation

Job Outlook

Overall employment of material moving machine operators is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment of industrial truck and tractor operators is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment of this occupation is concentrated in warehouse environments. The demand for warehousing will continue to grow as more consumers choose to purchase products online. However, employment growth may be tempered for industrial truck and tractor operators as more warehouses begin using automated machinery to improve their operations. This equipment increases the efficiency of operators, allowing warehouses to employ fewer of them. Employment of excavating and loading machine and dragline operators is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Many of these operators work in the construction industry, where projected growth will drive job growth in this occupation. Employment of crane and tower operators is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As global shipping increases, more of these operators will be needed at ports to load and unload large cargo ships. However, increasing automation at ports may moderate growth. Employment of crane and tower operators also will be driven by growth in the construction industry, which employs about 2 in 5 of these workers. Employment of crane and tower operators is projected to grow 14 percent in construction. Employment of conveyor operators and tenders is projected to show little or no change from 2016 to 2026. Employment growth will be limited as more warehouses use equipment such as high-speed conveyors, high-speed sorting systems, and robotic pickers. This equipment increases the efficiency of operators and tenders, allowing warehouses to employ fewer of them. Employment of hoist and winch operators is projected to show little or no change from 2016 to 2026. Like crane and tower operators, they will be needed at ports to help load and unload cargo, but employment growth for this occupation may be limited by port automation. Employment of underground mining loading machine operators is projected to decline 3 percent from 2016 to 2026, largely because of an expected employment decline in coal mining, an industry in which many of these workers are employed. Employment of dredge operators is projected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. In order to improve traffic on waterways and promote their recreational use, dredging of various water areas, including canals, lakes, rivers, and harbors, will be necessary. Demand for dredging of various water areas will drive employment growth of these workers.

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Salary

Average Salary

Salary

$57,720

State-by-state Salary

Gray states indicate no data available

$103,320
$20,230
No Information for this section

Education

Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • Post-secondary certificate 60%
  • High school 31%
  • Less than high school 7%
  • Some college 0%
  • Master's degree 0%
  • Doctoral degree 0%
  • Bachelor's degree 0%
  • Associate's degree 0%
  • Post baccalaureate 0%
  • Post-doctoral training 0%
  • Post-master's certificate 0%
  • First professional degree 0%

Related College Majors

Select major to see colleges that offer it

Knowledge

  • Mechanical
  • Transportation
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Building and Construction

Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership
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