Career Insights: Understanding the Job of a Rigger

by | Feb 14, 2024 | Blog, Heavy Equipment, Heavy Equipment School | 0 comments

Think you may be interested in becoming a rigger? The job of a rigger can be incredibly rewarding. But it’s also challenging and requires a specialized skill set, as well as thorough training.

Speaking of training, West Coast Training takes pride in teaching people from all backgrounds and experience levels what they need to know to become a successful rigger. But before you sign up for a rigger course, we’ll break down some of the things you should know first—including the responsibilities and skills required, potential jobs to pursue, and how to find out whether or not rigging is the right career path for you.

Responsibilities of a Rigger

What exactly is a rigger, anyway? In a nutshell, a rigger is trained and certified to handle and move heavy loads. A rigger is often responsible for inspecting and maintaining equipment; using ropes, chains, and other devices to secure the loads; and guiding the loads through transport.

Since the job of a rigger involves operating and working with heavy equipment, you’ll need to learn how to do so safely and responsibly. The type of equipment you’ll be expected to operate will vary based on the job and environment in which you are working. Generally speaking, though, a rigger needs to know how to rig loads with a hook block and overhaul ball, using concrete bucket, clamshell, or drag-line attachments.

Riggers are also responsible for the setup and operation of several types of cranes, as well as performing advanced lifting tasks. When you study rigging with West Coast Training, you’ll learn how to operate several types of equipment, including hammerhead, luffing-jib, self-erecting tower cranes, hydraulic boom mobile cranes, and lattice boom mobile cranes.

So, what skills do you need to acquire to become a rigger? You’ll have to keep track of many moving parts, so a rigger should have an eye for detail and strong communication skills. For example, when working with heavy machinery, you’ll have to rely on nonverbal hand signals to relay messages to other crew members.

While you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to be a rigger, you will have to be able to do some calculations by reading and interpreting load charts. A load chart outlines the crane’s capabilities. You’ll need to reference the load chart to properly assess a crane’s lift capacity, lift range, and lift angle to ensure the crane has a manageable workload and can be transported safely.

Careers to Pursue

There are many careers you can pursue as a rigger. You may work on a construction site, for instance, but you may also work at a manufacturing plant, shipyard, or even on a film set as part of the entertainment industry. Rigging is a profession that opens you up to many career options.

In addition to the number of career opportunities available in a wide array of industries, the profession also offers competitive wages. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a rigger is above $54,000. Those at the top of their game can earn as much as $85,000 a year or more. And you can earn that income without incurring the student loan debt that often comes with a college degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also has a map showing you where across the country the greatest number of rigging jobs are located. Let’s take Washington State, where our training facility is located, for instance. Washington is ranked fifth overall for the highest level of employment for riggers.

That means when you graduate from our program, you have access to more job opportunities than you have in many other parts of the country. Our hourly median wage is also higher than the national average. The average hourly wage for riggers in Washington is above $33, which adds up to close to $70,000 a year. If you’re looking for a well-paying job that will keep you active and working outdoors, rigging may be just the career for you.

How and Where To Train

While you don’t need a higher education to become a rigger, you will need to be certified according to the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) standards. West Coast Training’s eight-week crane operator and rigger program will teach you what you need to know to rig safely and effectively. Then we’ll take you beyond the books and get you out into the field, where you’ll get hands-on instruction and guidance.

In fact, about half of your training time will be spent in the field, where you’ll practice smooth operating techniques, designed lifts, rigging, and signaling, in addition to other tasks, under the guidance of one of our expert instructors. No prior experience is required. Our course is designed for students without any prior rigging knowledge or experience.

At the end of the course, you’ll complete the practical portion of the NCCCO exam using the same equipment you trained on during the course and have the opportunity to receive your NCCCO certification. Once you receive your certification with us, you’ll never be alone on your career path. We’ll provide lifetime employment services to assist you in crafting a professional resume, searching for the right position, and nailing the job interview once you’ve found that dream job you’ve always wanted.

Uncertain whether the job of a rigger is for you? Take our career readiness quiz to find out.

If you find that you are interested in our training courses, don’t hold off on embarking on a new, exciting, and rewarding career. We offer applicant assistance so you can get started right away. Reach out to us if you have any questions or want to learn more. We want to help you get your rigging career off the ground today.