How Much Does a Crane Operator Make on Average?

Updated February 21, 2017

When skyscrapers, towers and other tall structures are constructed, the massive pieces of the buildings are moved and lifted by cranes. A crane operator is in charge of this job function.


Based on the required skills and hazardous conditions of the position, a crane operator is among the most highly compensated workers in the construction industry. According to, a crane operator in the United States earned an annual salary between £35,996 and £66,168, as of 2010. Wages vary depending on the prevailing economic conditions of certain regions as well as the experience of the crane operator.


A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required to be a crane operator. Crane operators who complete classes and pass tests conducted by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) and become certified may earn higher salaries.


Since construction projects are frequently pushing completion deadlines, crane operators often work overtime, increasing their pay. Operators with outstanding safety records sometimes receive higher wages than others.

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About the Author

Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.