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What It Takes To Get Crane-Certified


February 7, 2023

Requirements for CCO Mobile Crane Operator certification include the following:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Comply with NCCCO’s Substance Abuse Policy
  • Pass Written Examinations (Core and at least one Specialty)
  • Pass Practical Examination(s)—Candidates must pass the Practical
    exam within twelve months of passing the written examination
  • Comply with the NCCCO Code of Ethics

The Mobile Crane Operator Written Examinations consist of a Core Examination in crane operation and up to four crane Specialty Examinations. Certification requires competency in both the Core and one or more Specialty designation(s).

The Core Examination has 90 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are allowed 90 minutes to complete the Core Examination. Each Specialty Examinations consists of 26 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are allowed 60 minutes to complete each Specialty Examination.

All candidates are required to take the Core Examination, regardless of the Specialty(s) in which they wish to be certified.

The NCCCO Written Specialty Examinations are:

  • Lattice Boom Crawler Cranes (LBC)
  • Lattice Boom Truck Cranes (LBT)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Swing Cab (TLL)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Fixed Cab (TSS)

Candidates must register for the Core and at least one of the Specialty Examinations. Candidates meeting the eligibility requirements may take the Written and Practical Examinations in any order.


The Mobile Crane Operator Practical Examinations demonstrate crane operation proficiency and are available in multiple categories, below are the most common crane types:

  • Lattice Boom Cranes (LBC)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Swing Cab (TLL)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Fixed Cab (TSS)

A candidate must pass the Written Core and at least one Specialty Examination as well as the corresponding Practical Exam(s) to be certified for a five-year period.


Candidates must pass Written Exams (Core + Specialty) and a Practical Exam in the designation(s) for which they seek certification. Candidates may take their Written and Practical Exams in any order.

Candidates have 12 months after they pass their first exam (Written or Practical) to pass the corresponding Written or Practical Exam(s) in the same designation(s). For example, a candidate passing the Written Exams (Core + Specialty) in the Telescopic Boom Cranes—Swing Cab (TLL) designation in January 2015 has until the end of January 2016 to pass the Telescopic Boom Cranes-Swing Cab (TLL) Practical Exam.

Any tests passed within a 12-month period count towards certification. For example, a candidate who passes the Written Core Exam in January 2015 and the Practical Exam in June 2015 but does not pass the corresponding Written Specialty Exam until February 2016 will then be required to retake (and pass) the Written Core Exam. The Practical Exam would count toward
certification until the end of June 2016.


The following policies apply to all CCO certification programs:

  • NCCCO Code of Ethics
  • Disciplinary Policy
  • Substance Abuse Policy
  • Testing Accommodations Policy
  • Change of Address Policy
  • Appeals Policy and Procedures
  • Information Release Policy
  • Administrative Complaints Policy