Certification Deadline Approaching

Before we can answer the question of how to get crane operator certification, we must address the upcoming deadline that impacts the industry. Each day moves us closer to November 10, 2018, the date when a new federal regulation goes into effect and all crane operators in the U.S. can only operate with a valid certification from an accredited organization. As we inch closer to this deadline, both crane operators and construction business owners have a lot of questions about what steps they need to get their card. We’ve provided a brief overview for obtaining your crane operator certification below, but if you’re still left with questions just reach out to us.

Where Can I Get My Crane Operator Certification?

Any accredited organization can provide you with a certification after you’ve passed a written and practical exam. Train for the Crane endorses the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) and provides training to prepare candidates for CCO exams, but there are other organizations that provide certification that meets the regulation standards too. A quick Google search can help you find a full list of other organizations available for certification.

What Are the Tests Like?

The written NCCCO Mobile Crane Core exam consists of  90 multiple-choice questions on topics ranging from wire rope to load charts and everything in between. You have 90 minutes to complete this exam, which can be administered in pencil and paper format or on a computer. Specialty NCCCO exams, such as Lattice Boom Crawler Crane exams, consisting of 26 questions with a 60-minute time limit. You’re required to pass the core exam prior to receiving credit for passed specialty exams.

After passing the written portions of your certification, you will be required to pass a practical exam within 12 months. The practical exam consists of six tasks with varying degrees of difficulty, to be completed in a standardized format by all operators. If you don’t take and pass a practical exam within 12 months, you’ll need to take the written portion again to get crane operator certification.

How Can I Prepare for Crane Operator Exams?

Due to our experience in the industry, our extensive prep skills, and knowledge of test anxiety, we strongly recommend sitting through a crane training course with an experienced professional to prepare you for your written exam.

Train for the Crane offers training courses with a customized approach to preparing operators for NCCCO Certification Exams that positions our trainees for success. Our training sessions not only prepare trainees by sharing detailed industry knowledge in an easy to understand format, we also prepare them to beat a standardized test. This unique strategy helps operators pass their exams with confidence.

If you decide you don’t need professional crane certification training, you can also prepare on your own right in your living room. We suggest brushing up on ASME B30.5, OSHA 1910.180, and OSHA 1926 Subpart CC at a minimum. To prepare for the practical exam, get yourself into a seat however you can and familiarize yourself with the crane.

That’s All It Takes to Become a Certified Crane Operator?

That’s it. Obtaining your certification gives you a foot in the door to enter the industry or continue working in your current role to put food on your table.

If you’re interested in more information about becoming a certified crane operator, check out these other resources on the Train for the Crane blog or get in touch.


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