How Do I Receive Crane Operator Certification?

Dan Cavallari

The operation of a crane can be complex, especially since cranes can vary so significantly in design, size, and function. It is therefore necessary to earn a crane operator certification if you intend to become a crane operator. You can do this by enrolling in a training program that is approved by a local or regional governing body. You will need to do some research to figure out which governing body is applicable in your area, and then finding a training program that will give you the appropriate crane operator certification.

A loader crane is used to load materials on and off of a truck.
A loader crane is used to load materials on and off of a truck.

In the United States, for example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the governing body you should refer to. OSHA will then be likely to recommend the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), which will administer the testing for crane operator certification. You can research technical or vocational schools first, as these schools will often offer courses that will prepare you for the difficult certification exams. You may also want to get some experience operating other heavy machinery so you can become familiar with the processes and techniques to safely operate such machines. Your crane operator certification exam will include both a written exam and a practical test, during which you will need to safely and effectively operate maneuvers with a crane.

Because operating a crane can cause danger to nearby people and equipment, proper training and certification is crucial.
Because operating a crane can cause danger to nearby people and equipment, proper training and certification is crucial.

One way to get the crane operator certification training you need is to take a job with a construction company that will offer an apprenticeship. This type of training allows you to work part- or full-time while learning the skills you will need to become a crane operator. You will observe certified crane operators and learn from them through the duration of your apprenticeship, which can last anywhere from one to five years. The apprenticeship usually starts before you are certified and continues for a year or more after you earn crane operator certification.

While some companies may pay for you to get your crane operator certification, in other instances you may be responsible for paying any applicable fees or charges for training. Be sure to budget accordingly, and research training programs to find the one that will offer you the education you need at a price you can afford to pay. The certification exam may also cost money, and you may need to get re-certified every few years, so plan ahead and make sure you are fiscally prepared for such obligations.

A crane operator might load and unload cargo at a dock.
A crane operator might load and unload cargo at a dock.

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