October 2011 - Even in a depressed economy, CCO-certified crane operators are applying to take their recertification exams in record numbers, according to an internal review of test data conducted by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).
In all regions of the country, the pattern is the same: CCO operators are recertifying at historic levels. Many are opting also to add certifications in other crane categories or in crane-related areas such as signalperson and rigger.
“The message here is that it is far better to keep something you have, than to lose it and start over,” said Commission Chairman, Kerry Hulse. “Recertification tests are less expensive and require less time than the full initial exams.” Realizing that, operators—even those who are not currently working—are taking steps to retain the certification they worked so hard to get, Hulse added.
And with the advent of computer-based testing (CBT), recertifying has never been easier. All CCO recertification exams are available via computer at more than 260 test centers nationwide operated by NCCCO’s CBT specialist, PSI/Lasergrade. “Test centers are located in every major metropolitan area, and in many rural areas,” said NCCCO Executive Director, Graham Brent. “More than 90% of candidates should be within an hour or two’s drive of one.” More centers, as well as more capacity at existing centers, were being added on a regular basis, he said, to meet the heightened demand.
What’s more, CBT candidates have an advantage over their paper-and-pencil counterparts: immediate score reporting. “Recertifying candidates walk out of the test center with their score reports,” said Brent.
And for those who are recertifying for the second or third time, NCCCO provides special recognition. These operators, dubbed “Two-Star” or “Three-Star” operators depending on the length of time they have been in the NCCCO program, have been certified to operate cranes continuously for at least 10 years and as many as 15 years, Brent explained. “It’s the least NCCCO can do to recognize their commitment and dedication to crane safety over more than a decade.”