Overview

Learn to service and operate the hoist and swing equipment used to move machinery, materials and other large objects. 

If you like to work independently and are a capable decision-maker, you'll enjoy a career as a mobile crane operator. You'll service and operate booms that are mounted on crawlers or wheeled frames as well as travelling, fixed or climbing-type hoisting equipment with a vertical mast or tower and a jib.

You'll manipulate a number of pedals and levers to rotate the crane and raise and lower its boom and one or more load lines. Some or all of these operations may be performed simultaneously.

Certification is required when operating mobile cranes with a lifting capacity of fifteen tons (13.6 tonnes) and over. You may drive the crane to the job site, rig the machine up (pin the boom and pendant cables and pull the hoist cable in preparation for operation), and set up the machine for the lift (make it level and stable) using blocking and levelling materials.

To work in this trade, certification is required. This means that you must either be a registered apprentice who is working under the guidance of a certified journeyperson or you must be a certified journeyperson yourself.

Mobile crane operators are skilled tradespeople who are self-motivated and enjoy working independently.

To thrive in this career, it is important to have the following traits:

  • coordination and manual dexterity
  • the ability to work at heights
  • the strength, stamina, and ability to lift heavy items (over 25kg) using proper lifting techniques 
  • good vision
  • the ability to work as part of a team and communicate with ground crews using hand signals and voice communication
  • a commitment to safe work habits

Upon successfully completing the required working hours and apprenticeship education periods, graduates will be awarded a certificate in addition to journeyperson status by Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

This is a Red Seal Endorsed trade – a recognizable standard that allows tradespeople to work across Canada. 

Download program info

Careers and opportunities

Apprenticeship training

The term of apprenticeship for a mobile crane operator is three years (three 12-month periods), including a minimum of 1620 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of classroom instruction (subject to the training institute) in the first year, a minimum of 1800 hours of on-the-job training in the second year and 1620 hours of on-the-job training and six weeks of classroom instruction in the third year.

Year 1 | Period 1

You will start by learning workplace safety, materials and tools. You will then learn an introduction to boom trucks and cranes, codes and documentation, rigging equipment and procedures, load chart reading and interpretation, equipment operations as well as specialty lifts and workplace coaching.

Year 3 | Period 3

You will learn lattice boom cranes, crane attachments and crane assembly, advanced rigging, advanced lift planning and operations as well as load charts, lifting operations and Red Seal standards.

Apprenticeship education performance

To succeed in apprenticeship education, you must pass each section of the course and the AIT exam.

The passing grade for each section in a course is 65%. A passing mark on each provincial exam and the interprovincial qualification (or Red Seal Exam) is 70%.

View Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training procedures

 

Training pathways

You can earn your journeyperson designation in the following way.

The traditional training pathway begins with finding a job with an employer willing to indenture you as an apprentice. Once you are an apprentice, you will alternate between on-the-job training and educational periods. 
 
You must apply for an apprenticeship through Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training before attending your first education period at SAIT. 

Two Crane and Hoisting Operator apprentices smile for the camera. One sits in the cab of the mobile crane. The other balances outside the door.

Pre-employment pathway

SAIT’s Pre-employment Mobile Crane program prepares you to enter into an apprenticeship with hands-on skills. Upon successfully completing the program, you’ll qualify to challenge the first-year Crane and Hoisting Operator - Mobile Crane or Crane and Hoisting Operator - Boom Truck apprenticeship exams.

Pre-employment Mobile Crane

Admission requirements

To enter an apprenticeship, you must have the educational qualifications required or recommended education for the trade to which you apply.

Entrance requirements are monitored and set by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Minimum requirements

Successful completion of the following courses:

  • English 10-2
  • Math 10-3

OR

A pass mark in all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests

OR

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Entrance Exam

Recommended requirements

Apprentices with an Alberta High School Diploma that includes the following courses:

  • English 30-2
  • Math 30-3
  • Physics 20 OR Chemistry 20 OR Science 20
  • Related career and technology studies (CTS) courses
A woman wearing coveralls and a welding helmet poses for a photograph in a SAIT welding lab.

MyTradeSecrets

Once you have begun working as an apprentice, you can attend SAIT to complete your technical training.

You'll register for technical training at SAIT on MyTradeSecrets or you can register by phone.

How to register

Available intakes

Costs

2023/24 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023.

Domestic students

Period Number of weeks Tuition fees Additional fees Total
1 6 $762 $301 $1,093
2 6 $762 $301 $1,093
3 6 $762 $301 $1,093
Total cost:
$3,279

Books or modules, along with other items for classes, are approximately $900 per period.

It's recommended you don't purchase books or modules ahead of time as they might be outdated by the time you attend classes, and they cannot be returned to the Bookstore.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required for the program, which may be an additional cost to apprentices.

A man crosses his arms over planks of wood and smiles at the camera.

Funding options for apprentices

Apprentices get to learn while they earn, but there are still costs to consider. Many resources are available at SAIT and federally to help support apprentices.

Financial aid

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.

Contact

Have more questions?

Technical training at SAIT

School of Transportation

Phone
403.284.8471
Email
transportation.info@sait.ca

Apprenticeship training and registration

Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Services

Phone
1.800.248.4823
tradesecrets.alberta.ca