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


How Are CCO Exams Developed?

Written and practical exams are developed after a comprehensive job analysis process.

November 2020—Job analysis is at the core of much of what the CCO Certification Team does in the development and maintenance of CCO certification exams. CCO uses a job analysis process to help subject matter experts define the knowledge and skills needed for individuals to competently perform their duties in load handling–related occupations. The information compiled is then used to define the target content for CCO certification exams, both written and practical.

Determining Essentials


When CCO conducts a job analysis, Certification Team psychometricians work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to first identify the duties and tasks that potential certificants perform on a regular basis. Selected SMEs are recognized by their peers as leaders and qualified practitioners in the field; these SMEs include those with decades of experience in their field as well as those earlier in their career because the purpose of the certification test is to identify the minimally qualified candidate for receiving the certification.

SMEs then describe and categorize the tasks performed on the job and the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform those tasks in a competent and safe manner. A representative sample of practitioners is then surveyed to identify which of the tasks, knowledge, and skills are most important for a certified individual to know and be able to perform.

The survey data is used to determine what knowledge and skills to test for on certification assessments, and how much weight is to be applied to each content area. The survey data assists in the development of a “test blueprint” that guides the SMEs and CCO staff in creating the certification tests.

Continuous Improvement

Jobs change over time with changes in technology, safety standards, and/ or federal rules. Because of this, a job analysis needs to be periodically updated. The cycle for updating depends on how rapidly things change. CCO guides SMEs through updates of job analysis information every five to ten years. An update generally includes a review of the previous job analysis, with an eye toward removing out-of-date material and adding duties, tasks, knowledge areas, and skills based on new technology or standards. New test blueprints are created for the written and practical exams, and the examinations are updated according to these blueprints.

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CCO’s exams are updated to remain relevant through formal test maintenance procedures, which include a periodic review and revision of the job analysis information and adjustments to the test blueprints as needed. Additionally, CCO meets with the Exam Management Committees for each certification program on a regular basis to review and revise assessments, both written and practical, as deemed necessary.

Updating Process

CCO is currently updating the job analyses for two program areas: Signalperson and Rigger. CCO is also preparing to conduct job analyses for two new programs: Concrete Pump Operator and Telehandler Operator. These job analyses will serve as the essential building blocks for the entire exam development process.