Dedicated Road Haulage, Lifting & Warehousing

How To Become A Mobile Crane Operator: Skills, Knowledge & Training

Yellow mobile crane

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably given some thought to becoming a mobile crane operator.

That’s smart because mobile cranes are very commonly used in building construction and assembling large equipment.

Due to their mobility and versatility, they can be used in various locations, such as construction sites, warehouses, and ports. Mobile cranes have many advantages, which we will discuss in a future blog post.

Don’t forget that there are alternatives to Mobile cranes, one of which is the HIAB / Lorry Loader truck-mounted crane.

These vehicles can often carry out the same/similar tasks that mobile cranes carry out but are far more flexible and usually more cost-effective to the end-user.

There are certainly times when a lorry loader cannot carry out the lift, and this is where mobile and then site cranes become the lifting weapon of choice.

For now, though, let’s look at how you could become a mobile crane operator.

Mobile Crane Operator Skills

There are several skills required to become a mobile crane operator.

Firstly, you will need the ability to drive and have the license to drive a vehicle of that size. (almost always HGV –  you will need to discuss driver training with your local provider).

In terms of other skills, you will need:

  • An understanding of how to use and maintain machines and tools
  • Good team working skills
  • Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Attention to detail
  • Good spatial awareness.

Mobile Crane Operator Training

So, where can you learn these skills to become a mobile crane operator?


You could complete a lifting technician intermediate apprenticeship with a construction or crane company.

To do this you’ll need GCSE qualifications, including English and Maths.

Work/Work Experience

Work experience can be a fantastic way to help gain employment within the construction industry.

You could do this while still at school or by working weekends and holidays with a company. It never hurts to have ‘work experience’ on your CV.

You could look for a job as a construction site labourer. This would help you get experience using/working with heavy plant machinery before going on to train as a crane operator.

Alternatively, you could apply directly for a job as a crane operator with the benefit of learning under the supervision of an experienced crane driver. For this, you may need some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths, or equivalent qualifications.

Training Provider

Another route to becoming a mobile crane operator is to gain a nationally-recognised qualification.

Here at Sussex Transport, we offer many industry-recognised courses, including Mobile Crane training.

Designed for anyone thinking of becoming a mobile crane operator, the ten-day course covers a multitude of topics, including:

  • Legislation – LOLER, PUWER, HASAWA, codes of practice – BS7121
  • Roles and responsibilities of personnel involved with lifting operations
  • Crane appreciation – crane types, capabilities and limitations
  • Crane terminology
  • Documentation and certification for lifting equipment and lifting accessories
  • Crane stability/ground conditions
  • Communications (Radio, verbal and hand signals etc.)
  • Rigging and De-rigging of cranes according to written instructions
  • Hoisting, slewing and derricking following the instruction of the slinger/signaller
  • Use of crane on free on wheels duties

And on completion, successful candidates will be awarded either an NPORS accreditation or Sussex Transport | Training Division accreditation.

Summary: Best Ways To Become A Mobile Crane Operator

There are many different skills required to become a mobile crane operator.

It’s vital to consider the type of work you will be undertaking and whether it plays to your natural strengths.

Once you have decided to pursue a career as a mobile crane operator, you can choose to complete an apprenticeship, work experience and or gain an industry-recognised qualification.

If you have any questions about how YOU can get one step closer to realising your mobile crane operator ambitions, contact Sussex Transport today by calling 01903 791303 or emailing

Good luck!

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