National Commission for the
Certification of Crane Operators
Committed to Quality, Integrity, and Fairness in Testing since 1995

Mobile Crane Operator

Certification Overview CCO Certified Operator-150x

Welcome to the CCO Mobile Crane Operator certification program. The NCCCO Mobile Crane Task Force that developed this nationally recognized and internationally accredited certification program was made up of experts from all aspects of the crane industry—crane operators, crane users, trainers, safety supervisors, manufacturers—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 safety of all whose work brings them into contact with cranes and 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.


Requirements for CCO Mobile Crane Operator certification include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years of age 
  • Comply with CCO’s Substance Abuse Policy 
  • Pass Written Examinations (Core and at least one Specialty) 
  • Pass Practical Examination(s)—Candidates must pass the Practical exam within twelve months of passing the written examination
  • Comply with the CCO Code of Ethics


The Mobile Crane Operator Written Examinations consist of a Core Examination in crane operation and up to three crane Specialty Examinations. Certification requires competency in both the Core and one or more Specialty designation(s).

The Core Examination has 90 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are allowed 90 minutes to complete the Core Examination. Each Specialty Examinations consists of 26 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are allowed 60 minutes to complete each Specialty Examination.

All candidates are required to take the Core Examination, regardless of the Specialty(s) in which they wish to be certified.

CCO has three options for taking written exams: Online Proctored Testing (OPT)Test Center Testing (TCT), and Event Online Testing (EOT)Decide which option is best for you.

The CCO Written Specialty Examinations are:

  • Lattice Boom Cranes (LAT)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Swing Cab (TLL)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Fixed Cab (TSS)

Candidates must register for the Core and at least one of the Specialty Examinations. Candidates meeting the eligibility requirements may take the Written and Practical Examinations in any order.


The Mobile Crane Operator Practical Examinations demonstrate crane operation proficiency and are available in three crane types:

  • Lattice Boom Cranes (LAT)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Swing Cab (TLL)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Fixed Cab (TSS)

A candidate must pass the Written Core and at least one Specialty Examination as well as the corresponding Practical Exam(s) to be certified for a five-year period.


Candidates must pass Written Exams (Core + Specialty) and a Practical Exam in the designation(s) for which they seek certification. Candidates may take their Written and Practical Exams in any order.

Candidates have 12 months after they pass their first exam (Written or Practical) to pass the corresponding Written or Practical Exam(s) in the same designation(s). For example, a candidate passing the Written Exams (Core + Specialty) in the Telescopic Boom Cranes—Swing Cab (TLL) designation in January 2015 has until the end of January 2016 to pass the Telescopic Boom Cranes-Swing Cab (TLL) Practical Exam.

Any tests passed within a 12-month period count towards certification. For example, a candidate who passes the Written Core Exam in January 2015 and the Practical Exam in June 2015 but does not pass the corresponding Written Specialty Exam until February 2016 will then be required to retake (and pass) the Written Core Exam. The Practical Exam would count toward certification until the end of June 2016.

If a certified operator subsequently becomes certified in additional operator designations by taking the appropriate written and practical Specialty exams, the five-year certification period for the additional designations begins at the same time as he/she was originally certified (i.e., all operator 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 operator designations maintain the same expiration date.

Candidates for certification or recertification may petition for an extension of CCO’s standard timeline(s). CCO staff shall have the discretion to make the initial determination of whether a requested extension should be granted. Petitions for an extension of time are generally denied absent a showing of extraordinary circumstances. Denials of such petitions may be appealed to the Appeals Committee.


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, add a designation, or recertify.

Please note that all operators with Telescopic Boom—Fixed Cab (TSS) certification also receive the Service Truck Crane (STC) certification designation because Service Truck Cranes are a subcategory of Telescopic Boom—Fixed Cab cranes. Visit the appropriate Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information about the STC designation as it pertains to TSS certification.

Replacement cards may be obtained from CCO at a cost of $25 and ordered online.

Certification cards remain the property of CCO, are not transferable, and must be returned to CCO upon demand.


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

Candidates who are not certified in all Specialties may add a new Specialty at the same time as they take their Recertification Examinations by taking the full examination in that Specialty.

Review recertification requirements for Mobile Crane Operators.   

Get complete instructions on How to Recertify.