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Digger Derrick Operator


To be eligible for certification, candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Meet medical requirements
  • Comply with NCCCO’s Substance Abuse Policy
  • Pass a Written Examination
  • Pass a Practical Examination
  • Comply with the NCCCO Code of Ethics


NCCCO certification exams are designed for operators who are trained and who currently work in digger derrick operation.


Certified digger derrick operators must continue to meet NCCCO’s physical requirements throughout their certification periods and attest to their agreement to this requirement in their applications.
Means of compliance with NCCCO’s physical requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • NCCCO Physical Examination Form (valid for three years)
  • A current DOT (Department of Transportation) Medical Examiner's Certificate (valid for two years)


The digger derrick operator written examination has 75 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are allowed 90 minutes to complete the written examination.

Written exams may be taken as either traditional paper/pencil tests (PPT) or computer-based tests (CBT).


The digger derrick operator practical examination demonstrates digger derrick operation proficiency. A candidate must pass both the written exam and the practical exam to be certified for a five-year period.


Candidates must pass both the written exam and the  practical exam, but they may take the exams in either order.

Candidates have 12 months after they pass their first exam (written or practical) to pass the corresponding written or practical exam. Any tests passed within a 12-month period count towards certification.

If a certified operator subsequently becomes certified in additional designations by taking the appropriate written and practical exams, the five-year certification period for the additional designations begins at the same time as he/she was originally certified (i.e., all designations within a category expire on the same date, regardless of when in the five-year certification period the candidate passed them).


NCCCO certification is valid for five years. Recertification candidates must complete all recertification requirements during the 12 months prior to their certification’s expiration date. This includes:

Candidates who can attest to at least 500 hours of actual operating experience on digger derricks during their period of certification do not need to take the Practical Exam to recertify.

Recertification candidates who need to take the Practical Exam for any reason, however, must do so before their certification expires. There is no grace period after their certification expires. Candidates whose certification has lapsed must take both the regular written and practical examinations again to be certified again.

All candidates are allowed two attempts to pass their recertification exams before their certification expires. Candidates who are unsuccessful after two attempts must take and pass the regular exams.
Recertification candidates may take their recertification written examinations up to one year prior to their certification’s date of expiration. Regardless of the date of the recertification examination within that one-year period, the new five-year certification period begins from the date of expiration of the candidate’s current certification.

NOTE: Candidates who recertify more than 12 months prior to their expiration date will have their new certification period begin immediately, not from the end of their current certification period.

Recertification exams are available at regularly scheduled test administrations and via computer-based testing (CBT). Candidates wishing to recertify should contact the Test Site Coordinator who set up their initial certification. Candidates whose employment circumstances have changed should ask their new employer to schedule a test administration. Candidates may also locate open NCCCO Written Exam Test Sites or apply online for computer-based testing sites.


NCCCO-certified operators must comply with NCCCO’s Code of Ethics during their certification, as set forth below:

As an NCCCO-certified operator, I will perform my work in a manner:

i. Free of bias with regard to religion, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, and disability

ii. So as to place the safety and welfare of workers associated with the lifting operation above all other considerations

iii. So as to protect nearby general public property and the environment

In addition, I will:

iv. Make my management aware if I have safety concerns relating to the lifting operations that I am performing

v. Not knowingly violate safety-related regulations, warnings, or instructions set forth by OSHA, recognized safety standards, or the manufacturer

vi. Not misrepresent or knowingly deceive others concerning my experience or the capabilities of myself or the digger derrick I am operating

vii. Not misrepresent or misuse my certification card or the NCCCO logo, both of which are the property of NCCCO; and I understand that I must return the card to NCCCO immediately if required to do so


NCCCO’S Ethics and Discipline Committee is responsible for establishing and implementing standards of conduct, such as ethical standards and policies and procedures for disciplinary action. Grounds for revocation of certification status shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Period of certification exceeded without renewal
  • Evidence of falsification of any information on any documents submitted to NCCCO or its agents
  • Evidence of non-compliance with NCCCO’s Substance Abuse Policy
  • Evidence of culpability in an accident during certification period
  • Evidence of non-compliance with NCCCO medical requirements
  • Evidence of non-compliance with the Code of Ethics

NCCCO has established policies and procedures to address alleged violations of the Code of Ethics fairly and consistently. The complaints procedures have been designed to ensure that only valid and actionable complaints are investigated and considered. These procedures also ensure that all parties involved in the complaint have an opportunity to document circumstances warranting the complaint and to respond to the complaint.

NCCCO has a two-tier process to ensure that issues regarding the practice and conduct of certified operators are fairly and reasonably investigated and determined, and that the public is protected against unprofessional and unethical conduct by certificants.

Complaints against certificants are initially investigated by NCCCO’s Manager of Test Integrity, who reports to NCCCO’s Ethics and Discipline Committee. If the complaint is considered actionable, the Ethics and Discipline Committee informs both the certificant and the complainant of the official opening of the investigation. Following the investigation of the complaint, the Ethics and Discipline Committee informs the certificant and the complainant of its decision.

If a sanction is imposed, the certificant may request an appeal of the decision to the NCCCO Board of Directors. Appeals should be addressed to:

Executive Director
National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO)
2750 Prosperity Avenue, Suite 505
Fairfax, VA 22031

The decision of the NCCCO Board of Directors is final.


It is the policy of NCCCO that digger derrick operators shall not use prescribed or over-the-counter substances that would impair their ability to operate digger derricks safely. This includes illegal drugs, controlled substances (including trace amounts), look-alike drugs, designer drugs, or any other substance that may have an effect on the human body of being a narcotic, depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogen.

An exception to this rule is that an operator may use such a substance or drug if it is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner who is familiar with the operator’s medical history and all assigned duties, and who has advised the operator the prescribed substance will not adversely affect the operator’s ability to operate a digger derrick safely.

NCCCO–certified digger derrick operators shall comply with NCCCO’s substance abuse testing provisions. It is a condition of certification that digger derrick operators certified by NCCCO attest to their compliance with this Substance Abuse Policy. Non-compliance with this policy automatically revokes a candidate’s certification status.


Certified operators receive a laminated photo ID card at no cost when they certify for the first time and when they complete the requirements for recertification.

Replacement cards, cards showing certification in an additional designation, or updated cards for candidates who retake and pass a designation they previously failed may be obtained from International Assessment Institute at a cost of $25. To order, use the CCO Certification Card Online Order Form or contact Jennifer at or 727-449-8525.


Certificants who change their address must notify NCCCO as soon as possible. Failure to do so may cause important updates on the NCCCO program to be missed that could affect a certificant’s stature. Changes of address should be sent to International Assessment Institute (IAI). They must be in writing but may be sent via letter or fax or scanned and emailed using the Change of Address form. Forms may be faxed, emailed, or mailed to:

1960 Bayshore Boulevard
Dunedin, FL 34698
727-461-2746 fax