How To Become A Rigger

A rigger works on a variety of construction sites. They work to set up equipment, secure it in place, and preparing equipment for construction projects. Riggers can find positions in almost any industry including ships and boating, petroleum excavation, mining, and more.

This is a great field for somebody who enjoys working with their hands and enjoys the construction field. Becoming a rigger requires on the job training. Riggers may also earn certifications in order to help themselves advance in the field.

Why Become A Rigger

The word “rigger” originated many centuries ago, back in the days of sailing ships. In those days, riggers were the ones who worked on a ship, maintaining the sails, pulley systems, ropes and rigging. Today, riggers still work on sailing ships, but the word has an even more widespread use.

There are riggers in many different fields, from mining to oil to general construction. A rigger is a part of a construction team. They work to set up equipment, install it, secure equipment into place, and prepare it onto the construction site. Many times they work with lifting equipment, loading devices, and pulley systems.

Riggers duties typically consists of cleaning and preparing the construction site, loading and unloading building materials, setting up scaffolding, lifts, pulley systems, and temporary structures, operating and tending to equipment while on the construction site, following orders given to them by their supervisors and following construction plans, and assisting other construction workers with duties.

Riggers should possess the following qualities and skills:

Rigger Work Environment

Riggers work on building and construction sites. Depending on their industry, they may be working in a shipyard, in a petroleum field, in a mining site, or any other number of other places. Riggers work in a variety of locations, installing, securing and preparing the equipment for construction projects.

They often work at great heights, so it is important that riggers are not afraid of heights.

Riggers work in dangerous conditions and injuries are common in this profession. It is important for riggers to be good working with their hands and equipment. They must have a good sense of balance and coordination. They must enjoy working outdoors and should expect to work in all kinds of weather conditions in order to get the job done.

Rigger Salary

In this profession, it is more typical for riggers to get paid an hourly wage, rather than an annual salary. In 2016, the median hourly wage was $23.57. This equates to an annual wage of $49,030, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wages for riggers can vary depending on the industry in which they work. Some of the top paying industries for riggers include petroleum manufacturing, electric power generation, and scientific research and development. riggers in this industries earned median hourly wages of about $35 per hour in 2016.

Other popular industries are ship and boat industries, mining, and specialty trade contractors, however in these industries riggers typically made a median wage of $21 per hour.

Average Rigger Annual Salary

$50,270

The average annual salary for riggers is $50,270 a year. Salaries start at $28,930 a year and go up to $75,340 a year.

Average Rigger Hourly Wage

$24.17

The average hourly wage for a rigger is $24.17. Hourly wages are between $13.91 and $36.22 an hour.

Stats were based out of 21,000 employed riggers in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Riggers

Top Paying Cities For Riggers


Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Rigger Career Outlook

The projected career outlook for riggers is expected to be 9 percent, which is about as fast as other jobs within the United States.

There are many places in the United States where riggers are more likely to get a job. Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma are some of the top states where riggers are employed, due to the many opportunities for petroleum manufacturing in these states. Virginia and West Virginia employ high numbers of riggers inside of the mining industries.

If you want a career as a rigger, it may require you to relocate to a state where more career opportunities are available.

Rigger Degree

There is no formal education program required to become a rigger. Many people get their knowledge through on the job training, once they are able to secure a position. A high school diploma is generally needed for a position in this field. Classes in math, reading and writing can be useful for rigging and construction trades.

Many people decide to go through an apprenticeship program or to sign up for a certification course in order to enhance their knowledge of their field.

Rigger Coursework

One of the best ways to stand out in the profession of rigging is to earn certifications in the field. Certifications show others that you are serious about your profession, that you are ambitious and driven to learning more, and you have achieved more in your field than many others.

There are two certificates available for riggers: Rigger Level 1 and Rigger Level 2.

The certification for Rigger Level 1 is the most basic certification. These professionals can perform simple tasks in the field. Professionals will be able to demonstrate their ability to inspect rigging, attach rigging using a variety of knots and configurations, recognize basic safety hazards on a construction site, and use a variety of rigging equipment and know the applications for each type of equipment.

Rigger Level II is the next highest level of certification. At this level of certification, riggers must be able to perform inspections of rigging, lifts and pulley systems. They should be able to attach rigging to construction sites, keeping in mind loads, rigging capacities and other factors. They should be able to understand load dynamics, estimate load weights, and other factors associated with the construction site. They have an advanced knowledge of rigging and construction equipment.

Rigger Career Path

The construction industry offers many opportunities for advancement. If you want to become a rigger, you are able to advance up in this profession.

Career Overview Responsibilities Education Required Benefits
Supervisor A supervisor is one of the leads of the construction team The supervisor is responsible for overseeing the construction crew, making sure that construction plans are properly carried out. They work daily on a construction site and people report to them. Several years of experience and promotion into the position. Being a supervisor is a great position for somebody who enjoys managing a team.
General Contractor A general contractor manages and coordinates a construction project. A general contractor is responsible for coordinating a specific construction project. They work as part of a team to deliver the construction project according to specifications. They provide all of the materials, equipment and services necessary for a project. They have a team of subcontractors that help them with the project. Several years of experience in the construction industry, certifications in the field, and a high school diploma at a minimum. A job as a general contractor is great if you enjoy management and want to work directly on a construction site.

Related Rigger Careers

If you want to become a rigger, there are several other jobs you may enjoy as well.

Construction Laborer: Construction laborers work on construction sites, performing a variety of tasks in which physical labor is required.

Carpenters: Carpenters build, install and repair structures and items out of various types of wood.

Electricians: Electricians install and repair all kinds of electrical systems within residential and commercial properties.

Masonry Workers: Masonry workers use bricks, concrete, and stonework to build structures such as walls, walkways, homes and other buildings.

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