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Digger Derrick Operator

Certification Overview

Welcome to the CCO Digger Derrick Operator certification program. The NCCCO Digger Derrick Task Force that developed this certification program was made up of experts from all aspects of the digger derrick industry—operators, users, trainers, safety supervisors, manufacturers—who together represent many thousands of hours of digger derrick–related experience. These volunteers gave freely of their time and expertise with the primary goal of improving the safety of all whose work brings them into contact with digger derricks and other lifting equipment.


Visit How to Test for instructions on applying for and taking CCO Written and Practical Exams; visit How to Recertify for instructions on recertification.

Complete instructions and exam applications are also contained in the Candidate Handbook for each program.


To be eligible for certification, you 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


CCO 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.

You must pass both the written exam and the practical exam to be certified for a five-year period. Candidates meeting the eligibility requirements may take either the Written Examination or the Practical Examination first.


The Digger Derrick Operator Practical Examination demonstrates digger derrick operation proficiency.


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).


The following policies apply to all CCO certification programs:

These policies are also covered in the Candidate Handbooks for each program.


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. Cards may be ordered online or by contacting Jennifer at or 727-449-8525.


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 a Practical Exam to recertify.

Get complete instructions on How to Recertify.