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Lift Director

Certification Overview

Welcome to the CCO Lift Director certification program. The NCCCO Lift Director Task Force that developed this certification program was made up of experts from all aspects of the crane industry—management, crane users, trainers, and safety supervisors—who together represent many thousands of hours of crane-related experience. These volunteers gave freely of their time and expertise with the primary goal of improving the quality of lift direction and promote additional training among lift directors.


Visit How to Test for instructions on applying for and taking CCO Written and Practical Exams.

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


Requirements for certification include the following:


CCO certification exams are designed for lift directors who have been trained and/or have extensive knowledge due to their experience in the crane industry. These exams are intended for candidates desiring to be lift directors.


Certified lift directors must be in good physical health, as verified by a medical professional, sufficient enough to handle the physical demands that directing lifts requires.


The Lift Director Written Examination consists of a Core Examination and Specialty Examinations for the Lift Director—Mobile Cranes and Lift Director—Tower Cranes certifications. Each candidate must also successfully pass the respective operator exam and/or the Rigger Level II exam; however, currently CCO-certified operators are not required to take the corresponding operator exam, as long as they maintain their certification status in good standing. Similarly, those who are certified as Rigger Level II do not need to take the Rigger Level II written exam.

The Core Lift Director Exam contains 40 questions that must be completed in 60 minutes. The Lift Director—Mobile Cranes Specialty Exam contains 15 questions that must be completed in 120 minutes. The Lift Director—Tower Cranes Specialty Exam contains 15 questions that must be completed in 60 minutes. To provide each candidate with a fair and standardized administration of the written examination(s), and to ensure the reliability and validity of the written examinations is maintained, it is not recommended that a candidate schedule written exams totaling more than six hours of testing time on the same day.

The table below details the exams necessary for each Lift Director certification.



There is no formal practical examination for the lift director program. Lift plan drawings are used in the Specialty Exams to test lift directors’ abilities to identify hazards and resolve issues related to the lift. These exams will, in essence, serve as the practical component.


Certification is valid for five years. Candidates must pass Written Exam(s) in the category(s) for which they seek certification. Candidates may take their exams in any order. Candidates have 12 months after they pass their first exam to pass the corresponding exam(s). For example, a candidate passing the Lift Director Core Exam in January 2012 has until the end of January 2013 to pass the Lift Director—Mobile Cranes Specialty Exam.

If a certified Lift Director—Mobile Cranes subsequently becomes certified as a Lift Director—Tower Cranes by taking the appropriate written exam(s), the five-year certification period for Lift Director—Tower Cranes begins at the same time as he/she was originally certified (i.e., certifications for all Lift Director designations expire on the same date, regardless of when in the five-year certification period the candidate passed them). If the new designation is added within the final 24 months of his/her certification period, the certificant is exempt from recertifying for the new designation after five years; after that, however, certificants must recertify for all designations during the 12 months prior to their certifications’ expiration date. This ensures that all of the certificant’s lift director designations maintain the same expiration date.


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.