CCO Certification Development
NCCCO currently administers certification programs for operators of mobile cranes, service truck cranes, boom trucks, tower cranes, overhead cranes, articulating cranes, and digger derricks in addition to non-operator certifications for signalpersons, riggers, crane inspectors, and lift directors.
For a complete description of the examinations and application process, download a Candidate Handbook for the programs you are interested in. For details on the written examination administration process, download a Written Examination Test Site Coordinator Handbook for the programs that interest you. For details of the practical examination administration process, download a Practical Examination Test Site Coordinator Handbook.
To ensure CCO examinations are psychometrically sound, fair, and effective measurements of a candidate's knowledge and skills, NCCCO teams the expertise of its subject matter experts with one of the nation's leading professional credentialing organizations, International Assessment Institute (IAI).
IAI played a vital role in the development of the NCCCO examinations, and it continues to assist NCCCO in the administration and further development of written and practical examinations used in this national certification program. IAI draws expertise gained from Block and Associates' 40-year history in the construction trades and National Assessment Institute's 22 years of subject-matter knowledge depth.
This combination of crane knowledge and psychometric expertise, supplemented with input from OSHA and ANSI/ASME committees, is unprecedented in this industry.
The first step in the development of a fair and objective examination for crane operators was a "job analysis" study. The team of crane experts that NCCCO assembled initially identified the knowledge necessary for safe crane operations. A survey was then given to several hundred crane operators, who validated that the knowledge recommended by the experts was vital to safe operations. The test "blueprints" or content specifications generated from the validation study were used to begin the item (question) writing process for each certification program.
All exam items have been developed by experts with knowledge and expertise in the area of crane operation, and all are reviewed at least four times before they are "field-tested" in an actual test administration: (a) items are first reviewed by crane operation subject-matter experts for content relevance, competency level, and importance; (b) IAI reviews each item for psychometric quality; (c) IAI editorial staff reviews each item for grammar, spelling, and usage; and (d) additional panels of crane experts review and validate all items prior to final approval.
Development of the written certification examinations involves panels of crane operation content experts who work with the staff of IAI to write and review all questions used in the examinations. Each examination contains a unique combination of items from the item bank; items are selected for the examination on the basis of the content areas as defined by the test blueprints. The content areas have been developed through the original role delineation and serve to guarantee each test is consistent in difficulty and question content. Each of the written exams are based on the crane operator validation study conducted by NCCCO in conjunction with IAI.
The CCO practical examinations were developed as fair and objective assessment of the essential skills lifting personnel need to safely perform lifting activities. They were developed by experts from all aspects of the crane industry—crane operators, training directors, managers, supervisors, manufacturers—representing many thousands of hours of lifting experience.
Minimum passing scores are determined following test construction. Each stage of this rigorous examination development process follows the standards established by the American Educational Research Association as outlined in its Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. These procedures are recognized by professional test developers nationwide in all professional disciplines. Their use by NCCCO and IAI ensures that only fair and reliable competency-based certification examinations are used in the assessment of crane operator competency.
In concert with NCCCO Task Forces and Exam Management Committees, International Assessment Institute also designed the Practical Examiner Accreditation Program whereby NCCCO trains and accredits CCO-certified individuals to administer CCO practical examinations.