What does a rigger do?
Riggers operate a variety of machines and equipment to move a variety of heavy objects weighing from hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds for many different industries. They use pulleys, ropes, booms, braces, cables, hooks, and other materials and make executive decisions on which ones are appropriate for each project. They inspect the objects that need to be lifted or moved and estimate their size, weight, shape, and the type of equipment that needs to be used. They often select or develop slinging equipment and attach it to objects. When an object is being lifted, riggers use hand signals, radios, and other communication means to direct crane operators to assist in guiding the objects into their correct place. Sometimes riggers build equipment around an object that needs to be moved. Riggers also inspect, maintain, and repair lifting equipment.
What kind of training does a rigger need?
Riggers must have at least a high school diploma. Many riggers learn their skills through on the job training and most start out as helpers to riggers and advance as they gain the essential skills and experience. Some riggers complete formal training or apprenticeship programs. Unions often administer apprenticeships and they combine classroom instruction and paid on the job training. Apprentices often study a variety of topics such as blueprint and plan reading, welding, mathematics, the proper use and safety of tools, and oxyacetylene flame cutting. The programs vary, but typically take 3 to 4 years to complete. Riggers must also stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a rigger?
Employment of riggers is expected to experience little or no change from 2006 to 2016 (1). Changes and advancements in construction methods contribute to the little job growth.
Some job openings will arise from the need to replace riggers that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.
How much do riggers make?
As of November 2009, the middle 50% of riggers earn annual salaries between $33,072 and $39,416. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $43,281 (2).
A career as a rigger is a great choice for people with a strong interest in completing rigging tasks for a variety of industries. Riggers must have good physical stamina and strength and a thorough understanding of lifting and moving heavy objects. Patience, good judgment, detail orientation, good vision, and good hearing are essential characteristics. Riggers must have excellent communication and be able to follow and give directions. They must be able to work effectively as part of a team and follow safety precautions at all times because the occupation can be potentially dangerous.