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Crane Certification and Schools

Find out what you'll need to do to earn your crane operator certification. Get information on physical requirements, learn what a training program involves and explore career options.

What You Need to Know

As a crane operator, you will use machinery and cable equipment to transport materials and heavy objects. Because of the potentially dangerous nature of this job, certification is typically required by states and employers. The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is the primary body responsible for crane operator certification.

Before beginning a certification program, check to make sure that your state recognizes the NCCCO certification. Also, check for any additional requirements you may need to meet, including licensure.

Training Training program requirements include a physical exam; core and specialty examinations are also required; specialties include lattice boom crawler cranes and telescopic boom cranes; programs are found are colleges and universities
Certification Must meet certain requirements to apply for crane operator certification
Licensing Credentials from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) required in certain areas of the country for crane operators to be properly licensed

Source: NCCCO.org

What Can I Expect from a Training Program?

To get into a crane operator training program you'll be expected to meet certain physical requirements, which include getting a physical exam from your personal doctor. Regardless of your specialization, you will be required to complete a written core examination in crane operation. You can then choose one or more specialties, such as lattice boom crawler cranes and telescopic boom cranes. You must also pass a written exam and a practical exam in your specialty. Exams can be taken in any order but must all be taken and passed within 12 months of passing your first exam.

Where Can I Find These Programs?

You can find training programs for crane operator certification offered at various locations. Some colleges and universities offer a course in crane operation to prepare students to take the NCCCO certification exams. After completing the course, you will go on to take the NCCCO tests and earn your certification. The following schools offer crane certifications:

  • Ridgewater College (Willmar/Hutchinson, MN)
  • Vincennes University (IN)
  • Northwest Lineman College (Multiple locations)
  • Northwest Iowa Community College (Sheldon)
  • Idaho State University (Pocatello)

What Are Some Requirements for Certification?

NCCCO mandates that applicants to the crane operator certification programs must meet specific requirements. You must be at least 18 years old and meet all medical requirements. You must also pass a drug test and comply with the NCCCO code of ethics. The NCCCO also expects you to be trained and working in crane operation at the time you are seeking certification.

What Can I Do with Certification?

Certification alone may not be enough to begin work as a crane operator. According to the BLS, 17 states and seven major U.S. cities require crane operators to be licensed, which involves taking both a written and a skills test to prove competency. Be sure to check your state requirements before looking for a job. Once you have certification and meet all other requirements, you can legally work as a crane operator.

Keep in mind that certification is only valid for five years, so you must continuously re-certify within a year prior to the date your certification expires. To re-certify, you have to continue to meet all requirements previously stated and well as passing a re-certification written exam, which comprises both the core written exam and the specialty written exam.