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Overhead Crane Operator


Requirements for certification include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Meet Physical Requirements
  • Comply with CCO's Substance Abuse Policy
  • Pass Written Examination
  • Pass Practical Examination - Candidates must pass the Written and corresponding Practical examination within a twelve month timeframe.
  • Comply with the Code of Ethics


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


Candidates must comply with ASME B30.2 physical requirements throughout their certification period and attest to their agreement to this requirement in their application.

Means od compliance with ASME physical requirements include, but are not limited to the following:

  • CCO Physical Examination Form (valid for three (3) years)
  • A current DOT (department of Transportation) Medical Examiner's Certificate (valid for two (2) years)


Candidates may take their Written and Practical Exams in either order. Candidates have 12 months from the time they pass the initial Written or Practical Exam they take to pass the corresponding (Written or Practical) exam.

Any tests passed within a 12-month period count towards certification. For example, a candidate who fails the Overhead Crane Operator Written Exam in January 2011 but passes the Overhead Crane Operator Practical Exam in June 2011 has until May 2012 to retake and pass the Overhead Crane Operator Written Exam.


The CCO Practical Examination demonstrating crane operator proficiency is available in either of the following Overhead Crane types:

  • Cab Operated
  • Pendant/Remote Control 

A candidate must pass both the Written and Practical examinations in order to be certified for a five (5) year period.


Candidates must pass a written exam and a practical exam in the category they wish to be certified in.  Candidates have 12 months after they pass their first exam (written or practical) in which to take the corresponding written or practical exam in the same category.  Candidates may take their exams in any order.  For example, a candidate passing the written Overhead Crane exam has 12 months to pass the Overhead Crane practical exam.

Candidates who do not take and pass both he written and practical exams within a 12 month timeframe will be required to start the certification process again from the beginning.

If a candidate subsequently becomes certified in additional categories, the five-year certification period for additional categories begins at the same time as he/she was originally certified, i.e., all categories expire on the same date regardless of when in the five-year certification period the candidate passed them.


CCO certification is valid for five (5) years.  Candidates must complete all of their recertification requirements during the 12 months prior to their expiration date.  This includes:

  • Passing the Written Recertification Examination
  • Continuing to meet Medical Requirements
  • Compliance with NCCCO's Substance Abuse Policy
  • Compliance with the Code of Ethics

Candidates who can attest to at least 1,000 hours of crane-related experience during their period of certification do not need to take the Practical Exam to recertify. Crane-related experience is defined as: operating, maintaining, inspecting, or training on cranes.

Recertification candidates who do 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’s expiration date. Candidates whose certification has lapsed must take the full Written and Practical Examinations to be certified again.

The Overhead Crane Operator Recertification Examination consists of 30 multiple-choice questions with a time limit of 45 minutes.

Recertification Candidates are allowed two (2) attempts to pass the Written Recertification examination prior to their date of expiration.  Candidates who are unsuccessful after two (2) attempts must take and pass the regular Overhead Crane Written examinations.

Certified candidates may take their recertification examinations up to one (1) year prior to their 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 initial certification.

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

Recertification examinations are available at regularly scheduled test administrations.  Candidates wishing to recertify should contact the test site coordinator who set up the initial certification.  Candidates whose employment circumstances have changed should ask their new employer to schedule a test administration.


Certified crane operators must comply with NCCCO’s Code of Ethics for Certified Crane Operators during their certification period, as set forth below:

As an NCCCO-certified crane 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 crane manufacturer

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

vii. Not misrepresent or misuse my certification card or the NCCCO logo, which are the property of NCCCO; I understand that I must return the card to NCCCO immediately if requested 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:

  1. Period of certification exceeded without renewal
  2. Evidence of falsification of any information on any documents submitted to CCO or its agents
  3. Evidence of non-compliance with CCO’s Substance Abuse Policy
  4. Evidence of culpability in an accident during certification period
  5. Evidence of non-compliance with ASME B30 medical requirements
  6. 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 crane 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 crane operators shall not use any prescribed or over-the-counter substances that would impair their ability to operate cranes 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 that the prescribed substance or drug will not adversely affect the operator’s ability to operate an overhead crane safely.

NCCCO–certified crane operators shall comply with the substance abuse testing provisions of ASME B30.2. It is a condition of certification that crane 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.

A certified operator may only hold one certification card at a time. If an operator has previously certified in mobile and/or tower cranes and subsequently becomes certified in overhead cranes, he/she may request an updated certification card.

Updated or replacement cards may be obtained from International Assessment Institute at a cost of $25.


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 can be sent via letter or fax. A form for this purpose is provided on the Handbooks and Forms page of the website.

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators gratefully recognizes the sponsors of the Overhead Crane Operator Certification Program:

Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA)

American Crane & Equipment Corp.

Demag Cranes & Components

KCI Konecranes

Morris Material Handling

OMI Hoist & Crane

Virginia Crane (Foley Material Handling)

ACE World Companies

Capco Crane & Hoist