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


CCO Increases Examination Fairness, Reliability and Validity for Recertificants

August 20, 2021—To improve fairness across all exams and candidates, the majority of CCO Exam Management Committees have elected to migrate away from shortened recertification exams, replacing them with the initial (longer) certification written exams to be taken by all candidates, whether for initial certification or to recertify as required every five years. 

CCO written exams-300xAfter careful study and analysis, CCO determined that the shorter recertification exams do not provide the same high level of reliability and validity that is demonstrated by the longer initial certification exams. All candidates, regardless of certification status, must be assessed on the same examination content as established by the Exam Management Committee. By using the same exam for all candidates, this change levels the playing field and ensures that all candidates are tested equally.

Further, the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), the organization that accredits CCO programs to the international standard ISO/IEC 17024 for personnel certifications, fully endorses this approach, which is used by many professional certification bodies, as embracing best practices in testing.

Benefits of a Single Exam

By moving to a process where all candidates will take the same exam regardless of their certification status, both the candidate and industry will benefit.

“Utilizing the initial certification test as the recertification test increases the reliability and validity of the recertification measurement process. Doing so enhances fairness in testing. It increases our confidence in the assertion that our certification holders are maintaining the requisite knowledge and skill needed to safely and effectively perform their work,” said Bob Mahlman, CCO Director, Certification & Credentialing.

This change is expected to directly benefit recertification candidates by providing a fairer opportunity for them to demonstrate their knowledge. The change is also expected to simplify the recertification process and reduce application delays and extra fees associated with candidates accidently registering for the wrong exam.

The migration to using a single exam for certification and recertification will have the added benefit of increasing the industry’s confidence that when they hire CCO-certified personnel, all employees have been equally tested in the content covered by the specific exam, regardless of when they obtained their certification.

This change will take affect for those taking paper/pencil exams administered on or after December 1, 2021, and for candidates applying for computer-based tests on or after this date. Candidates will still identify as initial or recertification candidates during the application process but can expect to simply take “the exam” at their test administration. Find an FAQ on the change at