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


Overhead Crane Operator

Practical Exam

The following is an outline of the practical testing procedure, as provided to candidates at the time of testing.


The following sections describe the specific tasks you will be performing when taking the practical examination. It is important that candidates understand these instructions. If there is anything you do not understand, please request clarification from the Examiner.



The practical exam tasks are:

There is also a Pre-Test Briefing and a Pre-Test Familiarization Period. Candidates are required to complete all phases of the test in sequence.

Candidates must report to the test site at the scheduled time. Candidates are required to bring personal protective equipment to wear during the test, including as a minimum: hard hat, work boots, and suitable work clothing.

The Test Site Coordinator is responsible for setting the testing schedule. If you are familiar with the operation of the test crane, you may elect to test first to allow other candidates time to review the operator’s manuals and load charts. Otherwise, selection shall be by random drawing or by assignment of the Test Site Coordinator.

During the practical examination, you are under the direction of the Examiner and must follow the Examiner’s directions at all times.

Once you have completed all of the tests you are taking, you must leave the testing area. Only personnel involved in the administration of the test are allowed in the test area.


For some tasks optimum time limits have been set. If the task is completed within this time period, you receive no time penalty.  

Once you exceed this time limit, however, you will lose points on a gradual basis. The optimum time for each task is stated as part of the task descriptions. At one-and-a-half times the optimum time the Examiner may end the task and move on to the next task.


While you are waiting to take your test you will have sufficient time to read this description of the tasks be performed and review the operator’s manuals for the crane you will operate. In addition, you will be informed of the make and model the crane, the boom length and the weight of the test load. You will also watch a short video (above) showing all the tasks you will be required to perform during the examination. Candidates must watch the Candidate Video within 24 hours before their practical exam(s).

Note that:

  • None of the target points have been placed at any point that exceeds the crane's rated capacity.


Circumventing the course on the CCO Overhead Crane Operator Practical Exam is defined as when:

  • Chain leaves the corridor while on or off the ground and passes more than one pole left still standing on the original string line before re-entering the corridor; you must enter the circles from inside the corridor to avoid this being marked as a deficiency
  • Chain leapfrogs from one leg of corridor to another with the chain off the ground, outside the corridor
  • Chain passes four or more poles consecutively with the chain off the ground, inside the corridor
  • Test weight and chain enters or exits the corridor without vertically clearing the hurdle (i.e., by going around the hurdle)

All points for a task are lost if a circumvention occurs.


If at any time during the Pre-Test Familiarization Period or during the test, you commit an “unsafe” act, you will be disqualified from continuing with the test. Unsafe acts include but are not limited to the following:

  • Dropping the ball or load hook on ground
  • Two-blocking of the crane
  • Contacting the crane with the Test Weight
  • Uncontrolled or reckless operation (must be sufficient to cause safety concern to personnel or crane)
  • Failure to respond to a stop signal
  • Contacting obstruction with crane or Test Weight 

Note that you may not walk through the Right Angle Corridor at any time during the exam.

The Examiner has the authority to stop the test any time for reasons of safety. Please ask the Examiner or proctor you have questions.

If you are disqualified due to an unsafe act, you will not be permitted to test on any crane until the next day.


Prior to beginning the examination, the Examiner will ask you for a government-issued photo identification that includes date of birth, such as driver’s license.

The Examiner will ask if you have read the Candidate Information and Instructions and will answer any questions you may have. He/she will review with you the weather conditions and ask you to sign indicating that you understand the instructions for the test and that you agree with the Examiner’s assessment of the weather conditions.


For outdoor tests, the Examiner will use an anemometer to check the wind speed and then will record the weather conditions on the score sheet.

The Examiner has the responsibility to determine if weather conditions or equipment problems are such that a test needs to be suspended. If the test is interrupted due to weather conditions or equipment problems, the procedure for restarting is as follows:

  • You will resume the test at the beginning of the task you were performing at the time of the interruption.
  • You will be entitled to a Pre-Test or Pre-Task Familiarization period before resuming the test.
  • If testing resumes on a different machine, you must start the test over from the beginning. The first score sheet will be marked as “VOID” with an explanation and returned to NCCCO.
  • If the testing is delayed to a different day, the test must be restarted from the beginning.


  • You will be allowed five minutes to familiarize yourself with the crane and to examine anything on the crane that you feel is necessary to operate it comfortably.
  • You will be allowed to get the feel of the controls and run the crane through its functions. The brakes and other devices will have been set according to the crane manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • You may not interfere with the test course, lift the test weight, or shadow the Right Angle Corridor.
  • You must finish the Pre-test Familiarization Period with the load hook under control in Circle #1 within the five-minute period.
  • The Examiner will notify you when there is one minute remaining.
  • If you are ready in less than five minutes, you may indicate this to the Examiner.
  • If, at the end of the Pre-Test Familiarization Period, you feel you are not ready to take the examination, you should notify the Examiner. You will have, in effect, disqualified yourself from taking the examination at this time, and you will be required to sign to that effect on the Candidate Score Sheet.
  • You may not walk through the test course at any time during any task.


  • Before you begin operations, you are allowed a couple of minutes to walk around the crane to ensure proper setup.


  • The Examiner will identify five items regarding the crane that are part of the pre-operational inspection. One at a time, you will describe how you would conduct the inspection and what deficiencies you would look for.
  • You have approximately one minute per item.


  • At the Examiner’s indication to start, at which point timing begins, raise the load hook to clear all obstacles and personnel.
  • Bring the load hook from Circle #1 to the Test Weight Circle within one foot over the center of the test weight.
  • When you indicate that you are ready for the test weight rigging to be attached to the load hook, timing will end and the Proctor will attach the rigging to the hook.
  • You are not allowed to adjust the position of the hook after the test weight rigging is attached. The Proctor or Examiner may adjust the rigging so that bunching or shock loading does not occur.
  • At the Examiner’s indication, lift the test weight until the chain leaves the floor; you are not allowed to bridge or trolley once the Examiner has given the hoist signal.
  • Once the test weight chain has left the floor, the Examiner will give you a stop signal, a lower signal, and a stop signal, in that order. You are not allowed to stop hoisting while lowering the test weight.
  • Points are deducted for the following:
    • Test weight touching the ground outside of the 42" circle
    • Test weight touching any part of the course
    • Stopping while lowering test weight
    • Exceeding the optimum time


  • At the Examiner’s indication to start, at which point timing begins, raise the suspended test weight and chain to a sufficient height to clear all obstacles and personnel. Bring it from its starting position in the Test Weight Circle and place it on the ground completely within Circle #1.
  • The Examiner will give you the stop signal once the test weight is under control inside the outer perimeter of the circle.
  • The task is not complete until the test weight is placed completely within the outside perimeter of the circle. If the Examiner does not give you a stop signal, this indicates the weight is not within the circle and the task continues to be timed.
  • Points will be deducted for the following:
    • Exceeding the optimum time.
    • Hitting any part of the course.
    • Load touching ground outside of circle.


  • At the Examiner’s direction to start, at which point timing begins, lift the test weight and guide it from Circle #1 through the Right Angle Corridor. Keep the chain on the ground until any part of the chain has touched or crossed the first line, which is located 4 ft. before the hurdle.
  • Avoid touching anything, but keep the chain on the ground until any part of the chain has touched or crossed the first denotation line, which is located 4 ft. before the hurdle.
  • Raise the test weight and chain over the horizontal PVC pole without touching or knocking over the hurdle.
  • Once clear, lower the test weight and chain until the chain makes contact with the ground before reaching the second denotation line.
  • Continue to guide the test weight along the corridor to the Test Weight Circle without touching the ground with the test weight or touching or knocking over any part of the PVC pole barrier.
  • After passing the line that is 4 ft. before the second horizontal PVC pole, raise the test weight and chain high enough to clear the horizontal pole obstruction and PVC pole barriers and place the test weight within the larger Test Weight Circle outside perimeter.
  • Timing ends with the task completed when you have placed the test weight on the ground completely within the outside perimeter of the larger Test Weight Circle and the Examiner has given you a stop signal. If the Examiner has not given you a stop signal, this indicates that the test weight is not within the circle and the task continues to be timed.
  • The Examiner will direct you in centering the test weight within the smaller circle before detaching the test weight from the hook.
  • At the Examiner’s indication, move the crane hook over to the Pin Assembly in readiness for the next task.
  • Points will be deducted for the following:
    • Knocking ball off pole
    • Moving pole base off line
    • Knocking pole over
    • Chain leaving ground outside of designated areas
    • Passing poles with chain off the ground (includes poles passed after the second denotation line with chain not touching the ground)
    • Load touching ground outside of circles
    • Touching or knocking off horizontal bars
    • Circumventing the task
    • Exceeding the optimum time


  • At the Examiner’s direction, position the Chain-and-Ring assembly directly over the pin.
  • The Examiner will then position the ring on the pin before beginning Task 4.
  • At the Examiner’s indication to start, at which point timing begins, lay down the master links within the targets.
  • Once each master link makes contact with the carpet and is down and stable either inside or outside the target, the Examiner will say “Go,” which indicates you should proceed to the next target.
  • Do not apply excessive side-load pressure that will pop the ring off the pin.
  • Timing ends when the last set of master links has been placed within the third target and is under control.
  • At the Examiner’s direction, bring the load hook to Circle #1 in readiness for the next candidate.
  • Remain in the cab or at the operator’s station until the Examiner gives you a clear indication that you may leave.
  • Return all controls to neutral position and de-energize the runway disconnect or depress the emergency stop button on pendant or remote control units before leaving.
  • Points will be deducted for the following:
    • Master links missing target
    • Ring pops off pin
    • Exceeding the optimum time


  • Describe the procedures you would follow to secure the crane at the end of the work day.


Once you have completed the practical examination:

  • The Examiner will record your performance.
  • The Examiner is not permitted to review your score sheet or discuss your performance on the test.
  • Exam results will be mailed to you within approximately twelve (12) working days of NCCCO’s receipt of the score sheet.
  • For tests on any other cranes you have made formal application to test on, return to the candidate briefing area.
  • If you have completed all of your tests, you must leave the test site.


All candidates receive score reports of their performance. Examination results are mailed to candidates approximately 12 business days after the receipt of Practical Examination score sheets by NCCCO.

Both the Practical Examination and the scoring system have been validated and verified by NCCCO’s pilot testing program. A score of 74 represents the minimum passing score for the CCO Overhead Crane Practical Examination.