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Mobile Crane Operator


Requirements for certification include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years of age 
  • Meet Medical Requirements 
  • Comply with NCCCO’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 NCCCO Code of Ethics


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


Certified crane operators must continue to meet ASME B30 physical requirements throughout their certification period and attest to their agreement to this requirement in their applications.

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

  • NCCCO Physical Examination Form (valid for three years)
  • A current DOT (Department of Transportation) Medical Examiner's Certificate (valid for two years)


The Mobile Crane Operator Written Examination consists of a Core Examination in crane operation and up to four 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.

Written exams may be taken as either paper/pencil tests (PPT) or computer-based tests (CBT), as described under How Do I Test.

The NCCCO Written Specialty Examinations are:

  • Lattice Boom Crawler Cranes (LBC)
  • Lattice Boom Truck Cranes (LBT)
  • 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 Examination demonstrates crane operation proficiency and is available in three crane types:

  • Lattice Boom Cranes (covering both LBC and LBT)
  • 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 passing NCCCO practical exams on cranes not meeting minimum standardized boom configurations will have “Short Boom Restriction” added to their certification card for the crane designations for which they receive certification; for example, “Telescopic Boom Crane—Fixed Cab (Short Boom Restriction).”


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 2011 has until the end of January 2012 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 2011 and the Practical Exam in June 2011 but does not pass the corresponding Written Specialty Exam until February 2012 will then be required to retake (and pass) the Written Core Exam. The Practical Exam would count toward certification until the end of June 2012.

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).


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

Candidates who can attest to at least 1,000 hours 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 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 expires. Candidates whose certification has lapsed must take both the regular Written and Practical Examinations again to be certified again.

The Recertification Written Examinations consist of a Core Examination in crane operation and up to four Specialty Examinations.

The Core Recertification Examination has 40 multiple-choice questions with a time limit of 45 minutes.

Each Specialty Recertification Examination consists of 10 multiple-choice questions with a time limit of 30 minutes. Four of the questions in each Specialty Exam are load chart questions.

All candidates are allowed two attempts to pass their Recertification Core and Specialty Exams before their certification expires. Candidates who are unsuccessful after two attempts must take and pass the regular Core and Specialty Exams.

Recertification candidates may take their Recertification Written Examinations up to one year prior to their certification’s 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 certification period begin immediately, not from the end of their current certification period.

Recertification Exams are available at regularly scheduled paper/pencil test administrations as well as via computer-based testing. Candidates wishing to recertify should contact the Test Site Coordinator who set up their initial certification. Candidates whose employment circumstances have changed should ask their new employer to schedule a test administration. Candidates may also locate open NCCCO Written Exam Test Sites or apply online for computer-based testing sites.

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.


NCCCO–certified crane operators must comply with NCCCO’s Code of Ethics during their certification, as set forth below:

In my occupation, I will conduct myself in a manner:

(i) So as to place the safety and welfare of others associated with my work above all other considerations,
(ii) So as to protect and preserve nearby general public property and the environment, and
(iii) So as to be free of bias with regard to religion, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, and disability.

Furthermore, in connection with my work and in my dealings with NCCCO, I will:

(iv) Make management and appropriate personnel aware promptly if I have any safety concerns relating to the work that I am performing or with which I am involved;
(v) Not knowingly violate any safety-related regulations, warnings, or instructions set forth by OSHA, recognized safety standards, prevailing jurisdictions, or equipment manufacturers; and,
(vi) Not mislead, misrepresent or knowingly deceive others concerning my experience or the capabilities of myself or the equipment I am operating or with which I am working.
In addition, in my dealings with NCCCO, I will:
(vii) Provide accurate and complete information and abide by NCCCO’s policies and procedures, including this Code of Ethics, as they may be updated from time to time;
(viii) Cooperate fully and completely with any administrative inquiries or investigations by NCCCO; and,
(ix) Not misrepresent or misuse any NCCCO card, or the NCCCO or CCO acronyms and logos, or any registered trademark or other intellectual property of NCCCO; and I understand that I must return the card to NCCCO immediately if required 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 NCCCO or its agents
  3. Evidence of non-compliance with NCCCO’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 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 the prescribed substance will not adversely affect the operator’s ability to operate a crane safely.

NCCCO–certified crane operators shall comply with the substance abuse testing provisions of ASME B30. 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. 

Please note that all operators with Telescopic Boom—Fixed Cab (TSS) certification also receive the Boom Truck—Fixed Cab (BTF) and Service Truck Crane (STC) certification designations because Boom Trucks and Service Truck Cranes are subcategories of Telescopic Boom—Fixed Cab cranes. Visit the appropriate Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information about the BTF and/or STC designations as they pertain to TSS certification.

Replacement cards, cards showing certification in an additional designation, or updated cards for candidates who retake and pass a designation they previously failed may be obtained from International Assessment Institute at a cost of $25. Cards may be ordered online or by contacting Jennifer at jennifer@iaiexam.com or 727-449-8525.


If you change your address, you must notify NCCCO as soon as possible. Failure to do so may cause you to miss important updates on the NCCCO program that could affect your certification.

Changes of address should be sent in writing via mail, email or fax to International Assessment Institute (IAI) using the Change of Address form. Forms may be mailed, faxed, or emailed to:

International Assessment Institute
1960 Bayshore Boulevard
Dunedin, FL 34698
727-461-2746 fax