How to become an overhead crane operatorBecoming an overhead crane operator does take time and effort; it involves completing the training program and undergoing a certification process.

With good reason, OSHA has stated in its latest regulation 29 CFR 1910.179 that only designated personnel shall be permitted to operate the crane. Such regulation is in place to prevent industrial accidents leading to damages and worker injuries.
If you are interested in becoming an overhead crane operator because of the job and financial satisfaction, one of the things to take note of is the education you need.

Although some of the operators I know completed college, still you need to have at least a high school education to get into the game.

You may also have heard that experience in other jobs will help you in this profession, you’re right. If you’ve been a machine operator, or an operator of other types of crane, or a rigger, the role could catapult you into becoming an overhead crane operator because the nature of the job is somehow related.

Now to detail everything you need to know, we made this article to guide you through the process.

Please read on...

We’ll Start with the Requirements You Need to be an Overhead Crane Operator

  • You need to pass the NCCCO certification tests. The tests are comprised of written test and practical examination. What that means is that you need to be prepared in order to ace or at least pass both tests. To know more about getting certified by NCCCO, please see below.

  • Undergoing an overhead crane training program will definitely give you an edge in passing the tests and getting certified. If you are looking for a training provider or company where you can enroll in, please see the list below. If you are just a beginner or a seasoned operator, taking the course will give a boost in passing the tests.

  • Your age is definitely an important thing to consider in the aspect of applying for a job and getting certified by the NCCCO. If you are above 18 that would not be a problem.

  • You will be definitely be undergoing a substance abuse test either in the early phase of the job application process and in the submission of NCCCO certification requirements.

  • You need to be in good physical and health conditions as the overhead crane operation is physically demanding. You may be required to get a doctor certificate that meets the DOT requirement in this matter. 

You May Be Asking If You Need to Be Certified?

It is indeed important to get certified in the operation of overhead crane. Doing so, you comply with the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.179 (b)(8), stating that only designated personnel shall be permitted to operate a crane and ASME B30.2.

Having the certification means you are at a better position to negotiate your salary with the employer; they know you have what it takes to be an operator and they are willing to give you top dollar for that.

Having the certification can differentiate you from the candidates when applying for a job. It shows that you have the competitive advantage and professional credibility to perform the tasks.

If you are having second thought of pursuing this goal for whatever reason, I am telling you, don’t give up. You only need a push and little motivation to attain a certification in this field.

Please do take time and exert some effort, you’ll see at the end of the day, you are on your route of pursuing a better career as an overhead crane operator.

To guide you through the process of taking the NCCCO written and practical certification exams, please read below.

Taking the NCCCO Certification Examinations

The Written Exam

The written test consists of 60 multiple choice questions and you will be allocated an hour to answer all the questionnaires. You can take the written test either in paper-and-pencil or computer-based test. The choice is yours.

To make an arrangement for paper-and-pencil, coordinate with the test site coordinator. To know more about on how to apply for a paper-and-pencil test, follow this link.

On the exam day, you need to bring valid government-issued identification, the admission letter that will be issued to you, two #s pencils, and good preparation.

If you opt to take the computer-based test, please be informed that you still have find a testing facility and take the exam there. To know more about the application of the computer-based test, please follow this page

The only advantage of taking the exam using the computer-based method is that the release of the result is much quicker, at the end of the day, you can know the result.

If you failed the NCCCO written test, you can still retake it. 

The Practical Exam

Passing the written test is one part of the puzzle, the much bigger part is passing the practical exam. In this part, you have to demonstrate your proficiency in the operation of the overhead crane.

You will be tested either in a cab-operated or pendant-remote-controlled overhead crane.

In order for you to get fully certified by NCCCO, you have to pass both the written and practical examinations. Once successful, the certification that will be issued to you is valid for five (5) years after which renewal/recertification is needed.

Taking the Overhead Crane Training Helps You Passing the Tests

To ensure that you have the knowledge and practical skill in operating the overhead crane, it would be beneficial to take a training course. If you are looking for a training company, please see the below list.

The course length is only 2-3 days, to gain additional skills in operation, practical and hands-on can be extended stretching the course to 4-5 days. If you are a business owner and wish to conduct the training onsite, the cost is more expensive.

The onsite training is the best way in providing education to the workers. Not only it eliminates work interruption but the course curriculum can be altered to match up with the present workplace condition, type of equipment on-site and behavior of the operators.

The training course you will be picking must be specific to the type and/or capacity of the crane you will be operating and the application at hand, in this case, an overhead crane.

The training cost usually in the range of $300 - $1,000 per student depending on how comprehensive is the program and the integrity of the training company.

Upon course completion, you will be familiar with the actual operation, proper maintenance and inspection, equipment operation risks and hazards, approaches of keeping load secure while moving it, different components of the overhead crane and its functions, working load limits and rigging, hand signaling for safe operation, legal responsibilities, current industry standards and regulations and other aspects that may be deemed necessary.

At the end of the course, you and every student will be given a certificate of training completion, proving that you’ve undergone training and completed the course. You may also be issued with an operator card.

Training Providers or Companies Where You Can Enroll

  • Leavitt Cranes
    30691 Simpson Road, Abbotsford BC V2T 6C7, Ph: (604) 607-6366
    55 Technology Way SE, Calgary, Alberta T3S 0B5, Tool Free: 1-844-66-CRANE, (1-844-662-7263)
    1140 Thorne Road, Tacoma, WA 98421, Tool Free: 1-844-66-CRANE, (1-844-662-7263)
    3610 Cedardale Road-Suite D, Mount Vernon, WA 98274,

  • Crane Tech LLC
    1215 Millennium Parkway, Brandon, FL 33511
    1-800-290-0007; provides onsite training

  • Industrial Training International, Inc.
    9428 Old Pacific Hwy, Woodland, WA 98674
    (800) 727 - 6355, (780) 490 - 6611; has various training locations in other states

  • Crane 1 Services
    1027 Byers Rd., Miamisburg, OH 45342
    24-Hour Emergency Phone: 855-24CRANE

  • Omega Safety Training, Inc.
    4654 Hwy 6 N #207, Houston, TX 77084
    (281) 979-4849

  • Mussel Crane Mfg.
    620B Wellington Ave, Chilliwack, BC V2P 6J1,
    Telephone: 604-792-5023 Ext. 102

  • Infrastructure Health & Safety Association
    21 Voyager Court South, Etobicoke, ON M9W 5M7
    Tel: 416-674-2726; Toll Free: 1-800-263-5024

  • Mazzella Companies
    21000 Aerospace Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio 44142
    Phone: 440.239.7000 | Fax: 440.239.7010

  • Crane Inspection and Certification Bureau
    11112 Boggy Creek Drive, Orlando, Florida 32824
    Phone: 866.746.3529

  • Becket Training & Consulting, Inc.
    6628 Pleasant Pines Ct., Wilmington, NC 28403
    610-299-5534 and 910-620-2087

  • Bullivant Health & Safety
    158 S Service Road, Stoney Creek, ON L8E 3H6
    Ph: 289-797-1605

  • NATT Safety Services
    1725 St-Laurent Blvd, Unit 220, Ottawa, ON
    1.888.294.1943

  • Davis Training Inc.
    410 Ormont Dr, North York, ON M9L 1N9
    416.743.8638

  • Total Equipment Training
    (610) 321-2679

  • Accredited Safety Solutions Inc.
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    317-625-2131

To Make a Conclusion

If you’re wondering how to become an overhead crane operator, one of the sought-after trade in the industry nowadays, all what you need to do are take the training and be prepared for the NCCCO tests, schedule your written exam, and take the practical test. That’s the process takes in order for you to get certified by NCCCO.

Becoming certified can dramatically increase your potential and marketability especially now that employers are seeking for the right individual to fulfill the vacant positions. This is now the time to act and realize your dream.

The certification opens up employment opportunities and boosts your earning potential.

To leave an inspiring word: you can reach your goal and the nice thing is that you have the right attitude in pursuing it.