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Digger Derrick Operator

Certification Overview CCO Certified Digger Derrick-150x

Welcome to the CCO Digger Derrick Operator certification program. The NCCCO Digger Derrick Task Force that developed this certification program was made up of experts from all aspects of the digger derrick industry—operators, users, trainers, safety supervisors, manufacturers—who together represent many thousands of hours of digger derrick–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 digger derricks and other 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.


To be eligible for certification, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Meet medical requirements
  • Comply with NCCCO’s Substance Abuse Policy
  • Pass a Written Examination
  • Pass a Practical Examination
  • Comply with the NCCCO Code of Ethics


CCO certification exams are designed for operators who are trained and who currently work in digger derrick operation.


Certified digger derrick operators must continue to meet NCCCO’s physical requirements throughout their certification period and attest to their agreement to this requirement in their applications.

In appropriate circumstances, means of compliance with these physical requirements may include, but are not limited to, a current Department of Transportation (DOT) Medical Examiner’s Certificate.


The Digger Derrick Operator Written Examination has 75 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are allowed 90 minutes to complete the written examination.

You must pass both the written exam and the practical exam to be certified for a five-year period. Candidates meeting the eligibility requirements may take either the Written Examination or the Practical Examination first.


The Digger Derrick Operator Practical Examination demonstrates digger derrick operation proficiency.


Candidates must pass both Written and Practical Examinations to be certified for a five-year period. The Written and Practical Exams may be taken in either order. Candidates have 12 months from the time they pass their first Written or Practical Exam for each crane type in which to pass the corresponding (Written or Practical) Exam.

Any tests passed within a 12-month period count towards certification. For example, a candidate who fails the Digger Derrick Operator Written Exam in January 2015 but passes the Digger Derrick Operator Practical Exam in June 2015 has until May 2016 to retake and pass the Digger Derrick Operator Written Exam.

If a certified operator subsequently becomes certified in an additional operator designation by taking the appropriate written and practical exams, the certification period for the additional designation expires at the same time his/her original certification (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 NCCCO’s standard timeline(s). NCCCO 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 for the first time and when they complete the requirements for recertification.

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 NCCCO at a cost of $25. Cards may be ordered online or by contacting Jennifer Warner at or 727-449-8525.

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


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.

Review recertification requirements for Digger Derrick Operators.

Get complete instructions on How to Recertify.