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Tower Crane Operator


This one-level Tower Crane Operator curriculum prepares learners for a career as skilled professionals as tower crane operators.  

This curriculum places strong emphasis on safe work practices, while covering rigging, tower crane principles and operations, load charts and more. Coverage of safety, communications and emergency procedures are integrated throughout to ensure learners are prepared to safely operate tower cranes. 

Craft Snapshot

Journey Level
Assessment Available
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Curriculum Details

1st Edition
Total Recommended Hours
Competencies & Objectives Lists
Total hours: 180, includes Core hours Click here
Orientation to the Trade
5 Hours

Module ID 48101-10: Provides an overview of the tower crane industry and highlights the duties and responsibilities of a tower crane operator. Discusses ASME and OSHA standards, as well as career opportunities and operator requirements.

Basic Principles of Tower Cranes
20 Hours

Module ID 48102-10: Identifies the three main types of tower cranes and their components, including operator aids and base support systems. Explains the basic scientific principles associated with tower crane operation. Discusses the factors that affect lifting capacities.

Tower Crane Safety
15 Hours

Module ID 48103-10: Introduces various safety aspects of tower crane operation, including equipment inspection, rigging, swing paths, and site hazard identification.

Rigging Practices
15 Hours

Module ID 48104-10: Describes the use and inspection of basic equipment and hardware used in rigging, including slings, wire rope, chains, lifting beams, and attaching hardware such as shackles, eyebolts, and hooks. Explains sling capacities and sling angles.

Load Charts
15 Hours

Module ID 48105-10: Explains how to use load charts to calculate safe lifting capacities for self-erecting, luffing boom, and hammerhead tower cranes. Also covers parts of line and counterweight configurations.

10 Hours

Module ID 48106-10: Covers the fundamentals of the communication process, including verbal and nonverbal methods of communication. Also presents the ASME B30.3 hand signals, including the appropriate operator action when the signal is given.

Operating a Tower Crane
25 Hours

Module ID 48107-10: Describes the basic functions of a tower crane, as well as standard procedures for starting up and shutting down self-erecting, luffing boom, and hammerhead tower cranes. Provides an opportunity for trainees to become familiar with the actual operation of a tower crane and the functions of its controls.

Instructor Resources

Instructor Toolbox

NCCER’s Instructor Toolbox provides easy access to important instructional resources for your training program. You’ll find downloadable course planning tools, examples of classroom activities and projects, and instructor tips and best practices to help you enhance your program.