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


Frequently Asked Questions

CCO Certification

What does it mean to be CCO-certified?

All certified load handling equipment operators are not necessarily CCO-certified. Only CCO can provide the widely adopted and recognized CCO certification. While there are other companies that seek to certify load handling equipment operators, only one organization—the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (CCO)—provides CCO certification. For more than 28 years, successful completion of CCO certification requirements has informed the world that a load handling equipment operator is certified to the high standards of CCO. Both “NCCCO” and “CCO” are federally registered trademarks owned by CCO and used in connection with education testing and certification.

How does the work of CCO relate to ASME/ANSI B30 standards?

CCO certification programs are specifically built around the ASME/ANSI B30 standards and OSHA regulations. OSHA has officially recognized CCO programs as meeting its requirements for load handling equipment operator qualification and will accept CCO certification as proof of training. The presence of CCO-certified professionals on site also positions employers well to qualify for OSHA’s “focused inspection.”

Who is involved in the development of CCO certification programs?

CCO programs are industry-driven programs, with those working in and around equipment playing a central role; other stakeholders such as owners, manufacturers, operating engineers, and related trades have also participated in developing these programs. Subject matter experts who volunteer their time and expertise for the development and maintenance of CCO programs come from construction, steel erection, petrochemicals, energy, and general industry backgrounds, as well as training, manufacturing, insurance, OSHA, and the IUOE.

How is the content of the tests determined?

Subject matter experts from all sectors of the industry determine what skills are required for each certification designation to perform their duties safely. Comprehensive reviews of the work performed by various types of operators, signalpersons, riggers, crane inspectors, and lift directors (i.e., “job analyses”) are conducted, and the results validated by several hundred experts across the country. Examination questions are all based on the specific knowledge that those in the field considered critical to safe operation. To ensure fairness and reliability, professional standards of test development have been developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Most CCO written and practical examinations are accredited by the  ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB).

Is CCO certification mandatory?

NCCCO was initially developed in 1995 as a voluntary certification program. Since then, several states and cities initiated their own credentialing requirements that adopt CCO certification. However, in 2010, Federal OSHA published new construction regulations requiring load handling equipment operator certification/qualification nationwide. This deadline for load handling equipment operators to be certified was subsequently extended several times until it finally took effect on November 10, 2018. Although the rule does provide options, third-party certification, such as that provided by NCCCO, is likely to be the most cost-effective and accessible method used to meet the new requirements. Additionally, many employers had already made CCO certification mandatory for employment.

How does certification benefit employers and those who work in and around load handling equipment?

Because of the sound methodology employed at all stages of program development, employers can be assured that individuals carrying CCO certification cards have demonstrated they possess the necessary fundamental knowledge and skills, without relying on subjective recommendations or judgment. In turn, those who earn the distinction of the CCO credential can take satisfaction that their skills have been recognized by an independent, accredited, professional authority.

Several states and cities have licensing requirements. How is CCO certification different?

Licensing by itself does not necessarily ensure an individual possesses necessary skills and knowledge. Some state and city programs do not any testing, for example. CCO certification functions as a positive supplement to current licensing programs and is increasingly being adopted or recognized by others, either in place of or as a prerequisite to obtaining a license. All states that have developed licensing programs since CCO was established have adopted or recognized CCO certification.

Can CCO certification be withdrawn?

Yes, CCO certification can be withdrawn, upon direction of the Ethics and Discipline Committee, for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Certification period exceeded without renewal.

  • Falsification by candidate of any information on documents submitted to CCO or its agent.

  • Evidence of non-compliance with CCO’s substance abuse policy.

  • Evidence of culpability in an accident during the certification period.
  • Evidence of non-compliance with the Code of Ethics.

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