As a crane operator, youhave to undergo intensive training and earn several years of hands-on experience, but it’s all worth it. You’ll be paid reasonably good hourly rates and you can earn much more by getting certified to operate different kinds of cranes. Want to know more?
As a beginner, you can expect to make $11 per hour. After 2-3 years of experience, you can earn as much as $17 to $24 an hour. Well-experienced crane operators with multi-crane certifications and 7-8 years of experience can confidently demand $50 to $80 an hour.
For example, a crane operator in New York can make up to $82.15 an hour. That’s just base pay and benefits, excluding overtime. However, the same operator would earn about $66 an hour in, say, Chicago. The same operator would be more than pleased with $39 an hour in a place Washington, D.C. There’s a vast difference in wages from region to region.
Why Wages Differ
Wages differ based on the region and the kind of industry where you’re working. For example, specialty trade contractors tend to pay more than construction companies. Seaports and water transportation companies pay better too, similar to specialty trade contractors, in the range of $58 an hour. The pay reduces a little in iron and steel mills; crane operators who work in metal industries are paid about $45 an hour. A crane operator in New York can earn upwards of $70 an hour, while the same operator cannot hope for more than $40 an hour in a less sophisticated location.
Apart from handsome salaries, crane operators enjoy several benefits, such as 401K, medical, life insurance, accident insurance, free counseling and so on. If you are part of a large gig in a place like New York, you don’t even have to be operating equipment to pull down good salaries. Even relief crane operators are paid well, if the project is well-funded.
Since crane operation is a high-stress job, most operators are asked to work only 8 hours in a day. Still, some crane operators do work overtime, and they are paid handsomely for this. As salaries go up, so do overtime amounts and benefits. One way for a crane operator to make more money in large cities is to work heavily overtime. This gives cause for employers to increase annuities and pensions as well, rounding off the crane operator’s earnings nicely.
Why Crane Operators Are Paid So Well
In a large city, all construction and shipyard workers are managed by trade unions. Wages for standard jobs are mandated by union contracts. Consider a city such as New York – at any given time, there are more than a 100,000 construction workers in the city. A large number of these men are large crane operators. A great deal depends on them – they are responsible for correctly lifting every single blockand beam in the city’s skyscrapers. A single mistake by one crane operator and lives will be put at stake. As a result, only incredibly skilled and experienced operators are hired and they are worth every penny they’re paid.