Operating a crane is a highly specialized skill. Individual who wants to be a crane operator may be required to complete a training course in order to become one. Such courses are offered and can be taken by enrolling in the technical school, training centers or through the union. If you are planning to enroll here are the crane operator schools in California:


Crane Operator School in CaliforniaCalifornia Crane School
601 E. Palomar Street, Suite C-306, Chula Vista, California 91911
Toll Free: (888) 967-PASS (7277); Fax: (888) 701-PASS (7277)

Nationwide Crane Training
Phone: (877) 628 2726
Employers can send their crane operators to the school to take training at; for the individual can also book for a course

Turner Crane & Rigging School
520 East Norris Road, Bakersfield, California 93308
661-979-8860; 661-979-8859; 661-979-8865

A Better Valley Crane LLC
6933 McComber Street, Sacramento, CA 95828
Office: (916) 383-8013; After Hours Mobile: (916) 591-6050; Fax Number: (916) 383-1239

AP Crane Training
Call for pricing: (888) 501-1355
Also offers riggers and signal person training and covers many areas in CA

Crane Service Industries
3110 Gibson St, Bakersfield, CA 93308
Call (661) 324-2278

Konecranes Training Institute
10310 - 2 Pioneer Blvd., Santa Fe Springs, CA
Phone: 562-903-1371

American Crane Training & Consulting
PO Box 2582, Orcutt, CA 93457
Phone: (661) 203-1012; (805) 314-4121; Fax: (805) 938-9933

College of Instrument Technology
17156 Bellflower Blvd, Bellflower, Ca 90706
Tel: 562.925.1785; 562.900.8058

O.S.T.S., Inc
Occupational Safety Training Systems
P: 877-404-OSTS (6787); FAX: (909) 468-3802
14650 Central Ave, Chino, CA 91710

IUOE California State Unit 12
1620 North Market Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95834
Telephone: 916-444-6880 — FAX 916-444-6877

Operating Engineers Local 3
14738 Cantova Way, Sloughhouse CA 95683
Office Number: 916-354-2029

IUOE Stationary Engineers, Local 39
337 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 861-1135; Fax: (415) 861-5264


How to Choose a Training School to Get Your Money’s Worth

Choosing the right school can be a big decision to make that makes people stress out. There’s a reason for that – the tuition is expensive, you want to get your money’s worth.

You may encounter a school whose intention is to make a profit without giving much quality to their education. However, there are also some schools that give credits to the quality of education they’re giving.

If you follow these criteria, you avoid making the mistake of choosing the wrong school to enroll in. Take a look at the traits of a good training school in California:

  • The class size should be a factor in your decision – you can easily spot a bad training school in how many trainees they accept in a class. The ideal number of students per class may range from 10 – 13. Conversely speaking, if there’s a huge number of students in a class, everyone will suffer. The students will not get that much learning from the classroom and practical training. The classroom will be crowded and there will be several students sharing the equipment during the practical training.

  • Time to Spend in the Hands-On Training – the key to learning the trade is by doing the craft hands-on. The students must be exposed to actual crane operations. The longer the students are in the field, the better they understand the skill.

  • Check the school’s credential – the school that has gone through the accreditation is assured of meeting educational standards - the quality they’re giving to their students. You can ask your colleagues or someone who is in this profession about what they can say about the school you are registering in.

  • The school must have modern crane equipment – take the initiative of visiting their training facility, observe the cranes being utilized in the training, are the equipment old and rusty? If so, they are also not maintained, they just let the equipment deteriorate. Would you want to enroll in such a school? You would not. Visiting the training facility is a sure way to know if you will get the feel of good experience of the training environment.

  • Accepts grants and gives flexible payment options – crane training is costly, we all know that. Some training schools accept a grant, assist students to get loans and even give flexible payment options for tuition fees or even full scholarships. Go to the school that offers such options.

  • Offers career guidance and job placement assistance – would it be great if the school gives guidance on your career and job placement assistance. You would not have to worry about getting employed after taking the crane training course. With the school’s large network of employers, you can easily be placed for a job as a crane operator especially if you’ve shown excellence during the training.

Crane Operator Requirements in this State

  • Under the new OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC, if you are going to be a crane operator, you need to be certified by an accredited certifying organization. The organizations that certify crane operators are the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), Crane Institute Certification (CIC) and National Center for Construction Education and Research or by an entity whose certification program is recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). An aspiring individual can also take such certification in the Operating Engineers Union.

  • The certification process involves passing the written test and the practical assessment. The written test is in accordance with the standards for Educational and Psychological Testing while the practical assessment is the demonstration of your skill and proficiency in crane operation.

  • Crane operators need to be either certified or qualified. Those who are working in construction and will be operating cranes with a capacity of more than 2,000 lbs. will need certification. However, those operators who are not in construction-related work and will be operating cranes with a capacity of less than 2000 lbs, need to be qualified through an employer training program.

  • If you are a mobile crane or a tower crane operator in California, the additional qualifications you need to have is to pass a physical exam conducted by a physician or by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

  • You also need to pass a substance abuse test. Such test needs to be conducted by a recognized laboratory service.

  • You also have to be a high school graduate or in possession of a GED certificate as proof of your education.


Completing an Apprenticeship Program

Those aspiring individuals can take a crane apprenticeship program to broaden their technical skills and knowledge. Such a program typically consists of classroom lecturing and paid on-the-job training. This path is what they called “earn as you learn.”
There are two ways to enroll, either through the California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association or by applying to the union.

You may apply as an apprentice in the California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, visit their website here. Their program is sponsored by Associated General Contractors, Association of Construction Employers, Engineering and Utility Contractors Association, Industrial Contractor UMIC and Operating Engineers Union. This means you can get the best understanding and experience from the experts and you will put into practice all the phases of crane operation for the real-world application.

The admission requirements you need to have/attain are: be at least 18 years old, though there’s no max age limit in joining the program; you must be in good physical conditioning and in good health to be able to do the rigorous field training; You must know how the English language (to speak, write and read) to be able to participate in the training and to communicate with others; you must have a valid driver’s license, and it has to be valid during the entire training duration, and you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate as its equivalent.

If you are speculating what the apprenticeship program consists of, well, it is composed of 200 hours of classroom lectures and 6,000 hours of on-the-job training, and additional 300 hours of supplemental training related to crane operation.

By introducing yourself in such a program, you are building your hands-on skills. Not only that the certificate you attained is a portable credential that is recognized nationally.

If you opted to take the apprenticeship course at the union, you may contact one of them at these details: Operating Engineer Local 3, 14738 Cantova Way, Sloughhouse, phone number: 916-354-2029; the IUOE California State Unit 12, 1620 North Market Blvd, Sacramento, Phone: 916-444-6880; or the Operating Engineer Local 39 337 Valencia Street, San Francisco, Phone: (415) 861-1135;

Salary of Crane/Tower Operators Working in California

Based on the October 29, 2021 survey of Salary.com, here are the cities and towns of California that offer a good salary for crane operators:

Acton $48,394 Diamond Bar $48,095
Agoura Hills  $47,401 Dublin $51,058
Alameda $51,252 El Granada $53,664
Alamo $51,131 El Sobrante $49,818
Albany $51,252 Encino $48,589
Alhambra $48,710 Kentfield $53,801
Aliso Viejo $47,936 Lafayette $51,257
Altadena $48,675 Larkspur $53,801
Alviso $54,051   Los Altos $53,982
American Canyon $48,401 Los Gatos $54,051
Anaheim 48,129 Menlo Park $53,931
Antioch $49,262 Mill Valley $53,819
Arcadia $48,641 Montara $53,698
Aromas $49,089 Moraga $51,252
Atherton $53,896 Morgan Hill $53,931
Atwood $48,129 Mountain View $54,051
Baldwin Park $48,290 New Almaden $54,017
Bell $48,710 Newark $53,965
Belvedere Tiburon $53,836 Oakland $51,252
Ben Lomond $47,905 Orinda $51,252
Birds Landing $48,530 Pacifica $53,784
Bolinas $49,890 Palo Alto $53,948
Boyes Hot Springs $48,271 Piedmont $51,252
Brea $48,129 Pleasant Hill $49,749
Brentwood $49,064 Pleasanton $51,034
Brisbane $53,836 Portola Valley $53,913
Brookdale $47,905 Redwood City $51,632
Burlingame $53,733 Richomd $51,128
Campbell $54,051 Ross $53,767
Canyon $51,252 San Anselmo $50,933
Canyon Country $48,288 San Francisco $53,836
Carmel By The Sea $47,821 San Lorenzo $51,217
Castaic $47,457 San Mateo $52,441
Castro Valley $51,200 San Martin  $50,321
Cazadero $47,224 San Quentin $53,819
Cerritos $48,129 San Ramon $51,080
City of Industry $48,095 Santa Clara $54,051
Cloverdale $47,134 Saratoga $54,034
Compton $48,022 Sausalito $53,836
Concord $48,297 stanford $53,948
Cotati $48,289 Sunnyvale $54,051
Coyote $54,000 Union City $52,448
Cupertino $54,034 Watsonville $49,441
Daly City $53,836 Yorba Linda $48,129

The salary you would get depends on the education, experience, certifications, and applicable skills you have.


To Conclude This

California is one of the 16 states that require or recognized NCCCO certification. Without it, it is almost impossible to get a job as a crane operator in this state.

You can attain this certification by enrolling in a crane operator school in California. The school will prepare you for the taking of the certification exams.

It has become mandatory to have such a credential. It is a basis for employment. Employers prefer those job candidates with readied certification obviously.

Take time and effort to achieve such certification. You can land a job and get a high offer if you have such a license.

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