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



Practical Exam Outline

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


The Signalperson Practical Examination consists of 20 scenarios. There is no time limit for this examination. Candidates typically complete the exam in approximately 15 minutes. 

The Test Site Coordinator is responsible for setting the testing schedule. During the Practical Examination, you are under the direction of the Practical Examiner and must follow the Practical Examiner’s directions at all times. Chief Examiners will also be present during Practical Examinations. Their primary role is one of security and administration. They will not be able to provide you with information about the Practical Exam.

Only the candidate, Practical Examiner, and Chief Examiner are allowed in the testing area.

Prior to testing, you will watch a short video showing you a typical Practical Examination as well as the following instructions:

  1. There are two types of scenarios for which the candidate will be asked to demonstrate proper hand or voice signals:
  2. MATCH SCENARIO: In these scenarios the candidate will observe the crane performing certain functions and the candidate will give the necessary hand or voice signal(s) that match or matches the function.

    CANDIDATE INITIATED SCENARIO: In these scenarios, the candidate will give the necessary hand or voice signals to initiate and direct crane movement.

  3. All hand and voice signals must be given in accordance with OSHA 1926 Subpart CC. Where OSHA 1926 Subpart CC does not address a particular signal, ASME B30.5 and ASME B30.3 signals are used (for example, one-handed telescoping boom signals).
  4. Make sure to give only one signal at a time.
  5. All signals must be given in a clear and precise manner.
  6. Maintain the hand signal as long as the function is being performed. For voice signals, remember to maintain “constant communication.”
  7. Remember to give stop signals whenever necessary.
  8. At no point in time will a signal be required that would result in an unsafe act. If at any time an unsafe act is being performed, immediately give an appropriate signal to stop the lift operation.
  9. In scenarios where multiple signals are required, you must give all signals correctly to receive any points for that scenario (no partial credit).
  10. During candidate initiated scenarios, you will have up to five seconds to give the hand or voice signal.
  11. During candidate initiated scenarios, you will have ONLY one attempt to reach the appropriate stopping area before giving the next function. You will not be allowed to “stop short and go further” or “go long and bring it back.”
  12. At the start of each scenario, the instructions will be shown on the screen and given to you verbally. You will be asked if you understand the instructions. Take time to make sure you understand the instructions before proceeding.
  13. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS! If there are any questions ask the examiner before beginning each scenario.



Prior to beginning the examination, the Practical Examiner will ask you for a valid (not expired) government-issued photo identification that includes date of birth, such as a driver’s license.

The Practical Examiner will ask if you have read the Candidate Information and Instructions and will answer any questions you may have.  You will be asked to sign your application indicating you understand the instructions for the test.


Candidate performance on the Practical Examinations is recorded by Practical Examiners accredited by NCCCO. Examiner requirements include meeting NCCCO requirements for certification, passing the Written and Practical Exams, and successfully completing an accreditation workshop.

The testing procedure has been developed to provide the highest degree of standardization and reliability. The Examiner’s task is primarily to record the performance of the candidate.

A candidate may lose points either by giving an incorrect signal, or giving a signal not in accordance with the Standard Method Hand Signals. Candidates’ performances are scored off site at NCCCO facilities.


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.

Please note that while Practical Examiners are encouraged to expedite score sheets after each test administration, they may batch score sheets from several test administrations over a number of days. This means that candidates may receive their score reports from NCCCO more than three weeks after their test administration.

Both the Practical Examination and the scoring system have been validated and verified by NCCCO’s pilot testing program. A score of 75 represents the minimum passing score for Signalperson Practical Examination.


Once you have completed the Practical Examination:

  • The Practical Examiner will record your performance
  • The Practical 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 12 business days of NCCCO’s receipt of the score sheet
  • Once you have completed your test, you must leave the test site