How to Become a Rigger

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


Rigging is an essential part of the construction, manufacturing, shipping, and entertainment field. Riggers are trained professionals that specialize in lifting and transporting very large and heavy materials.

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 through 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 this year, 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.

Becoming a Rigger Requires Skills & Training Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Rigger? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the College Mouse Degree Search tool to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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    • Hi Karabo, is a US-based service, and as such, we can only assist students/potential students looking to study in the USA.

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