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How to become a crane operator in Australia

Crane operation is a thrilling, rewarding and well-paid occupation — it’s no wonder that tradesmen around Australia want to train to be a crane operator. 

Crane operators operate stationary and/or mobile cranes to lift, move and position heavy objects as safely and efficiently as possible. These operators must be practically minded with good spatial awareness and an in-depth understanding of driving and maintaining heavy machinery.

Crane operators must also hold a High-Risk Work (HRW) Licence.

If you’re looking into how to become a crane operator in Australia, look no further. In this article, we explore the role of a crane operator and what is required regarding training, qualifications and everyday responsibilities. 


What the industry looks like

Crane operators are in high demand right now, with more than 300 positions available throughout Australia (more than 70 positions in New South Wales alone), and job growth is expected to rise by 5.4% over the next five years.

The average salary for crane operators in Australia is between $105,000 and $125,000, with the mining, resources and energy industries leading the way in terms of pay. In New South Wales alone, however, the average salary is only $60,000 to $80,000 on average. 


Tasks & duties as a crane operator

As a crane operator, you will be responsible for the safe operation, control and maintenance of cranes. Your duties will include: 

  • Operate cranes, lift objects and position them where needed.
  • Perform inspections and maintenance on equipment. 
  • Check ground conditions before setting up and using the crane. 
  • Place steel plates or timber under the crane’s outrigger pads. 
  • Move the crane into position.
  • Check cabin instruments to ensure loads are within safe limits.
  • Follow the team's signals on the ground giving instructions for load placement. 
  • Reporting issues to the supervisor on-site. 
  • Keeping records of the materials you’ve moved. 
  • Ensure travel routes are clear.

Of course, your duties will vary depending on your qualifications and experience level. It is important to discuss your duties and responsibilities with your line manager during the interview process, so you know what to expect and what training will be provided during your apprenticeship. 


Training to become a crane operator

You will need the appropriate crane licence, which can be obtained through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) like All Class Training. The organisations also also offer training for working at heights, dogging and rigging, and more.

Here’s a quick guide to these qualifications.

  • Under Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations, you must have an HRW licence before a person conducting a business or undertaking can direct you to complete high-risk work. An RTO like All Class Training will need to train and assess you before you can complete high-risk work, including crane operation, dogging and rigging, and working at heights.
    A high risk work licence needs to be renewed every 5 years.
  • Working at heights is high-risk and one of Australia’s leading causes of death and injuries. With this in mind, we offer Elevated Work Platform (EWP) & Working at Heights Training to ensure you can work safely and efficiently in high places. Once you have been assessed, you will be issued a statement of attainment and an ID card.
    EWP training covers you for scissor lifts of any height and boom lifts under 11m and is unlicenced. The WP HRW licence class covers boom lifts 11m and over. Most sites require specific training for working with booms under 11m and scissor lifts, even if you have the over 11m WP HRW licence.
  • Dogging is the application of slinging techniques to move a load and directing a crane/hoist operator in the movement of the load. Rigging uses mechanical load-shifting equipment to move, place or secure a load using plant and/or equipment.
    You must have an HRW licence to complete any dogging or rigging work in Australia. 

Other required licences and qualifications include:

  • A White Card to enter construction sites anywhere in Australia
  • Heavy Combination (HC) and Heavy Rigid (HR) truck licences
  • C6 Crane Ticket (encompassing CV, CN and C2 tickets — learn more)
  • Certificate III in Construction Crane Operations (for work in the residential and commercial construction industry).

How to become a crane operator with All Class Training 

At All Class Training, we provide a wide range of nationally-recognised training courses so you can gain the skills and qualifications to safely and efficiently operate heavy machinery, including cranes. Utilising a combination of practical and theoretical learning through our C6 Crane Course, Dogging & Rigging Courses and Working at Heights Courses, our trainers will ensure you walk away with the skills required to become a reliable crane operator.

View our booking calendars online now and contact us at (02) 4964 9406 to book your training today.