Getting Mobile Crane Operator Certification

Getting Mobile Crane Operator Certification

Moving loads is the driving force of development behind machines. From simple levers and pulleys, technological advancements have made load-moving machines more powerful and specialized for the movement of different types of loads. One such amazing piece of equipment used all over the world is the mobile crane. They have a definite foothold in the heavy and construction industries but also find use in other sectors like agriculture and public and emergency services.

The versatility of these machines also introduces a hazard, especially those stemming from improper use. As such it became necessary to form regulatory bodies that would come up with guidelines, protocols, and requirements for the safe, proper, and qualified use of not only mobile cranes but all heavy machinery. One such body is OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). OSHA is the authority that sets the standards for mobile crane operator licensing and certification requirements.

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Types of Mobile Crane Operator Certification

The NCCCO offers three main types of certifications for mobile crane operators. They require the candidate to sit for both practical and written/computer-based tests to assess competence. They include

  • Lattice Boom Cranes
  • Lattice Boom Crawler Cranes
  • Lattice Boom Truck Cranes
  • Large Telescopic Boom Cranes -Swing Cab
  • Small Telescopic Boom Cranes -Fixed Cab

Regardless of the type of specialization the candidate wants to pursue, they must attempt and pass the Core Exam in crane operation, after which, they can specialize in any of those mentioned. Total Equipment Training is your best resource for mobile crane study guides. Call us today to answer your questions about preparing for the NCCCO specialty exams.

What Are the Mobile Crane Operator Education Requirements?

To get started in mobile crane operation, a crane operator only needs a high school diploma or GED certification.

Mobile crane operation requires a wide range of abilities to ensure they have adequate knowledge and verbal communication skills. You need to be able to read, write and have mathematical skills. Specific skills that aid mobile crane operators in their job also include physical strength and flexibility, good depth perception, hand-eye coordination, quick reaction and decision time.

The NCCCO (National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators) is the nationally accredited body that issues certificates for all types of crane operators. The requirements needed to begin classes on earning mobile crane operator certification include:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Compliance with NCCCO’s Substance Abuse Policy and Code of Ethics
  • Pass both written and practical examinations, with the practical taken within a year of passing the written exam.

NCCCO certification is valid for five years, after which it becomes necessary for mobile crane recertification. Depending on the crane-related experience gained – at least 1000 hours, it may not be necessary to re-sit the practical exam to recertify. Upon completion of certification or recertification, the candidate receives a laminated photo ID card as proof of their competencies.

Some mobile crane operators may further their education through a trade school, but that is not essential as part of a crane operator’s education requirements. Nevertheless, a one or two-year trade school will teach soon-to-be mobile crane operators the practical construction skills needed for the job as well as how to operate heavy machinery as a whole.

Mobile crane training is offered by several organizations, which can be reached through the employer, or personally by the mobile crane operator. Among these organizations, look for those that have experience in the heavy machinery industry, nationwide recognition, and that are OSHA-compliant such as TET.

Total Equipment Training provides access to NCCCO mobile crane study resources.

Mobile Crane Certification

Do Mobile Crane Operators Need Constant Education?

Yes, mobile crane operators require continued education. Hands-on equipment management and use may keep a mobile crane operator’s skills sharp, but that will not be enough to keep them aware of developments occurring in the industry. Also, focusing exclusively on the responsibilities minimizes the chances of interacting with other mobile crane operators, missing out on the chance to discuss different approaches to solving problems and get new perspectives on how they work.

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A good rule of thumb is operators should go through a refresher training course every other year. A refresher course will help keep your team on track with proper material handling, and changes to safety guidelines and protocol. Even the most experienced and seasoned crane operators should go through a continued education mobile crane training course every few years.

It is advisable that mobile crane operators get training at least once every year. Refresher courses are important, as they are one of the best platforms to be alerted to any changes in protocols or new safety measures being implemented.

Schedule an onsite mobile crane inspection.

Mobile Crane Certification Recommendations

Before a candidate can sit down for the mobile crane certification exam, there are a few recommended steps to make it easier to successfully pass the exam:

  • Enrolling in a trade school. This helps build a knowledge base of the industry and a chance to learn more specifically about mobile crane operation from the courses provided.
  • Complete a mobile crane operator training course. This is the most pivotal step in that the focus of learning is purely on mobile cranes and their safe and proper operation. Seek out reputable and recognized organizations such as Total Equipment Training for qualitative training materials from experienced and competent trainers.
  • Secure an apprenticeship from licensed crane operators in your area. Completed training provides an edge when looking for an apprenticeship opportunity. An apprenticeship gives a hands-on opportunity to engage with practical workplace challenges and learn from experienced professionals.

Taking the Mobile Crane Operator Exam

Once mobile crane operator training is complete, the candidate is now ready to take the examination. It comes in written and practical components. The written exam is held at official exam centers all over the country, (information that an employer or trainer can easily provide) and takes an hour to complete. The practical exam is carried out at a designated site with the examiner issuing instructions to assess the candidate’s skill.

Contact the expert heavy equipment trainers of Total Equipment Training today to answer your mobile crane operator questions!

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Passing the Mobile Crane Operator Test

After attaining passing grades, the candidate is issued with an NCCCO mobile crane operator certificate, validating their skills and officiating them as certified crane operators. If you or your heavy equipment company are preparing employees for NCCCO certification, Total Equipment Training provides numerous training resources and study guides. We also have experienced and qualified trainers that will travel to your onsite project. Call us to schedule your training: (610) 321-2679

Learn about Mobile Crane Inspections

Where Can I Find Mobile Crane Operator Study Guides?

When seeking heavy equipment study guides and mobile crane training resources, be sure to use a trustworthy business such as Total Equipment Training. There are a lot of unverified, outdated, and subpar sources that can hurt your chances of meeting current OSHA and NCCCO standards.

Total Equipment Training offers mobile crane training for

  • Classroom Training
  • Operations
  • Technical Knowledge
  • Load Charts
  • Practical Testing

Our crane training programs are specifically designed to meet your staff’s needs. One of the benefits of our mobile crane certification training is we will come to your business to conduct the lessons. If you are only certified in one aspect of mobile crane operations then it may be beneficial to pursue mobile crane continuing education.

Trust an experienced and reputable organization such as Total Equipment Training for credible NCCCO study materials. You can also contact our staff to answer your heavy equipment questions, schedule onsite training, and more!


Barb Fullman- CEO of Total Equipment Training
About the Author

As the owner of Total Equipment Training, Barb Fullman has been an active contributor to the heavy equipment training industry for over 23 years. Barb, a Penn State University graduate, is recognized as the highest ranking women-owned heavy equipment training business in the US. As a leading authority and provider of heavy equipment training, training manuals and tests based on OSHA Standards and Regulations, Total Equipment Trainings’ client list is composed of most of the Fortune 1000 companies focusing on energy, construction, heavy highway, and manufacturing.

Barb’s motto is “Stay safe, stay up to date”. She is committed to up-to-date & technically correct training, whether it is via in-person or through our library of online heavy equipment resources. With over 50 OSHA qualifying training topics to choose from with TET, the most popular heavy equipment training subjects are mobile cranes, NCCCO, all “dirt equipment”, rigging, crane inspections, and train-the-trainer.