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How to Become a Certified Crane Operator

Updated March 23, 2017

Crane operators work in a variety of environments including construction sites and shipping terminals. These professionals operate cranes to dig dirt, uproot steel and knock down large objects. But to launch a career in this industry, you must gain on the job experience and apply for certification with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). This involves passing written and practical exams. Here's a guide to becoming a certified crane operator.

Make sure you meet the minimum requirements. To enrol in certification with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), you must be at least 18 years old, be in good physical condition and substance free.

Take the general written exam. Register with the NCCCO (see Resources) to complete the written exam; a study guide is available upon request from the NCCCO. The exam includes 90 multiple choices questions.

Complete a speciality exam. There are four different areas crane operators can be certified in including: lattice boom crawler cranes, lattice boom truck cranes, large telescopic boom cranes and small telescopic boom cranes. To qualify for certification, you must pass at least one of the speciality exams; this is in addition to the general written exam.

Take the practical exam. Once you've passed the written exam, you can take the practical examination that tests your ability to operate three different crane types including: the lattice boom cranes, large telescopic boom cranes and small telescopic boom cranes.

Recertify with the NCCCO every five years. Your certification is valid for five years, and then you must take the written exam, meet physical requirements and comply with the NCCCO's substance abuse policy to be recertified.

Tip

If you take your written exam, you must complete the practical exam within 12 months. Both exams must be completed within that time frame to qualify you for certification with the NCCCO.

Warning

Don't forget to register for your exams early. In some states, testing dates are limited.

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About the Author

Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.