Wondering how to become a crane operator? These sought-after positions are some of the hottest in the construction industry because once you’ve earned your certification you can land a well-paying job almost anywhere. Indeed, becoming a crane operator can dramatically increase your earning potential and open up a whole new world of job opportunities all across the country. These in-demand positions are everywhere—but, you have to be qualified. Where do you start?

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about how to become a crane operator.

Basic Requirements to Become a Certified Crane Operator

Physical Requirements for Earning Crane Operator Certification

Candidates who want to know how to become a crane operator must meet certain physical requirements defined by the ASME B30 standard:

  • 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/50 in the other (with or without corrective lenses).
  • Ability to distinguish colors.
  • Adequate hearing (with or without hearing aid).
  • Sufficient strength, endurance, coordination, and reaction time to meet operational demands.
  • Normal depth perception and field of vision.
  • No evidence of seizures or loss of physical control.

Compliance with ASME physical requirements may include holding a current Department of Transportation (DOT) Medical Examiner’s Certificate.

If you meet these qualifications, it’s time to take the next step in learning how to become a crane operator.

Mobile Crane Operator

Step 1:  Find an NCCCO Accredited Crane Training Program

The NCCCO is one of the largest crane operator certification programs in the country, qualifying candidates for well-paying jobs in the construction, transportation, and manufacturing industry. So if you want to know how to become a crane operator, finding an NCCCO accredited crane training program (like the ones offered by Nationwide Crane Training) is your first step.

Whether you choose to attend a crane training session at one of our four nationwide campuses or a remote crane training session at a work site or corporate location near you, you’ll receive the same NCCCO accredited training and instruction from expert instructors with Real World expertise.

Step 2:  Pass Your Written Examinations

To become a certified mobile crane operator you must pass at least two written examinations:  the Core exam and at least one of up to four Specialty exams:

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

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

Nationwide Crane Training guarantees all candidates who successfully pass through their training program will pass their written examinations.

Step 3:  Pass Practical Examinations

Candidates must also pass a Practical exam within twelve months of passing the written examination. Practical exams are offered in three specialties:

  • Lattice Boom Cranes (covering both LBC and LBT)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Swing Cab (TLL)
  • Telescopic Boom Cranes—Fixed Cab (TSS)

Practical exams consist of actually using Real World equipment to demonstrate proficiency and practical capability. Again, the practical exams can be completed at any of our four nationwide locations or at a job site of your choosing.

Tower Crane Operator

Step 1:  Find an NCCCO Accredited Crane Training Program

NCCCO accredited tower crane training programs will equip you with all the skills and knowledge you need to pass the written and practical NCCCO certification exams, letting you become a certified crane operator in very little time.

Step 2:  Pass the Tower Crane Written Exam

Unlike mobile crane certification, tower crane operators must only pass a single written exam. This Tower Crane operator exam consists of 55 multiple-choice questions, six of which are load chart questions. Candidates are allowed 60 minutes to complete the exam.

Step 3:  Pass the Tower Crane Practical

Tower Crane Practical Examinations allow the candidate to demonstrate familiarity and practical knowledge of crane operation. These exams may be taken on the following crane types:

  • Hammerhead
  • Luffer
  • Self-Erecting

Successful completion of this practical exam will result in NCCCO certification.

STC Operator

Step 1:  Find an NCCCO Accredited Service Truck Crane Training Program

Service Truck Cranes are the most common type of crane in the world. They’re in use across multiple industries from transportation and delivery to telecommunications and utility installation and maintenance. That means there is a high demand for skilled STC operators. However, all STC operators must be certified here in The United States. In fact, the NCCCO Service Truck Crane Operator certification (STC) is a subcategory of the CCO Telescopic Boom—Fixed Cab certification (TSS).

As an industry leader in crane training and NCCCO certification, Nationwide Crain Training’s STC program offers everything a new operator needs to go from complete novice to skilled operator in a matter of days. Our SCT training program is open to all would-be operators, including nationwide companies who need skilled operators for their fleets, as well as individual candidates who want to earn STC certification in order to open up job opportunities.

NCT has been on the cutting edge of Service Truck Crane certification since OSHA first put in for the requirement in 2010. NCT’s program meets or exceeds all of the NCCCO and OSHA regulations pertaining to the safe operation of Service Truck Cranes and is led by industry experts with years of experience in crane operation and training.

Step 2:  Pass Your Written Exams

To become an NCCCO certified STC operator, you must meet the minimum basic requirements in addition to passing a written exam.

The NCCCO STC written exams consists of four parts:

  • Site (17% of the test)
  • Operations (44% of the test)
  • Technical Knowledge (21% of the test)
  • Manufacturer’s Load Charts (17% of the test)

Some of the material and knowledge tested in these four parts of the STC written exam include:

  • Knowledge of signals (voice, hand, audible, and non-standard)
  • Knowledge of existing OSHA and ASME standards
  • Crane inspection
  • Proper use of safety devices
  • Safe use of various rigging devices
  • Understanding (And applying) manufacturers’ load charts for various crane configurations

When you enroll in an NCT STC training course, we’ll guarantee you’ll pass your STC written exam the first time or we’ll reimburse you for the cost of taking the exam again.

Step 3:  Pass the Practical Exam

As with all crane training programs, in order to earn NCCCO certification as a STC operator you must also pass a practical exam while under the instruction of a certified operator/examiner.

Successfully completing the Service Truck Crane Operator Practical Exam requires demonstrating operational proficiency with actual equipment. Candidates will be tested on five progressively more difficult tasks:

  1. Pre-Operational (Shift) Inspection
  2. Chain in Circle
  3. Test Weight in Pole Circle
  4. Zigzag Corridor (forward and reverse)
  5. Safe Shutdown and Securing Procedures

It’s important to note that the NCCCO has created an “Optimal Time” for tasks 2 through 4 that you must meet in order to avoid time-based penalties.

Successful completion of both the written and practical exams will result in the candidate earning NCCCO certification as a STC operator.