The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is a recognized authority in the United States for certifying crane operators. To maintain a high level of safety and competence in the workplace, the NCCCO requires certified crane operators to recertify every five years.

Here are some steps to follow for NCCCO recertification:

  • Planning Ahead: It's crucial to start your recertification process well ahead of time—typically a few months in advance. This gives you ample time to prepare for the written and practical examinations. If your recertification is not completed by your expiration date, there's a 12-month grace period before you are required to retake the full certification exams, but you are not certified during that period. However, if you recertify up to 12 months before your expiration date, the time will be added to your new certificate expiration date, so you won't lose any time.

  • Staying Updated: The certification process may undergo changes over time, so you must stay informed about these changes. The NCCCO website is the most accurate source for this information. You can also subscribe to their newsletters or follow their social media accounts for updates.
  • Recertification Examinations: The recertification exam is divided into a written and a practical test:

    • The written test focuses on several topics such as equipment operation, safety procedures, setup and dismantling, lifting concepts, and more. The format of the test could include multiple-choice questions, true/false questions, etc. The exam's details, including its format and content outline, are usually available in the candidate handbook or on the NCCCO website.

    • The practical test will assess your ability to operate a crane in a variety of real-life scenarios. You'll be asked to perform specific tasks that will test your operational and safety skills.


  • Medical Evaluation: NCCCO requires all crane operators to be physically fit, as the job can be physically demanding. This includes having good vision, proper depth perception, adequate hearing, and sufficient strength and agility to operate a crane safely. The medical evaluation usually includes a physical exam and may include vision and hearing tests as well.

  • Certification Maintenance: As a certified crane operator, you must uphold NCCCO's professional and ethical standards. This includes having a good safety record, which is crucial in maintaining your certification. If you have any safety incidents or violations, they must be reported to the NCCCO, which could affect your recertification.

  • Application for Recertification: You'll need to submit an application for recertification, which includes your personal information, professional experience, and a record of any continued education or training you've completed since your last certification. Be sure to complete the application accurately and honestly, as false information can result in the denial of your recertification.

  • Training Courses: To help you prepare for your recertification exam, consider enrolling in a training course. These courses, offered by various organizations, are designed to refresh your knowledge and skills in crane operation. They typically cover the materials you'll find on the written and practical exams and can be a great way to ensure you're prepared for the recertification process.

Recertification as a crane operator involves a serious commitment to your profession. It requires staying informed about changes in the field, maintaining your physical fitness and professional conduct, preparing for and passing recertification exams, and consistently learning and developing your skills. With diligent preparation and a proactive approach, you can successfully achieve NCCCO recertification and continue your career as a safe and skilled crane operator.



Understanding the Need for Recertification

A. Explanation of why recertification is important

How Can You Recertify as NCCCO certified Crane OperatorRecertification is a crucial process for maintaining the integrity and safety standards in industries that rely on heavy machinery operations like cranes. When a crane operator is NCCCO certified, it signifies that they have achieved a certain level of knowledge and skill necessary to safely operate cranes, a potential source of workplace hazards.

However, as with any profession, skills, and knowledge can fade over time, especially without regular practice. Additionally, changes may occur in best practices, safety regulations, technology, and types of machinery. Recertification ensures that crane operators maintain their skills and stay updated on these changes.

Moreover, crane operator recertification is a testament to the operator's commitment to continuous learning and adherence to the highest safety standards. It also helps in career advancement as many employers prioritize operators who are up-to-date with their certifications.



B. Discuss the time frame for recertification

The NCCCO requires crane operators to recertify every five years. This time frame was established to ensure that operators are regularly demonstrating their competency and staying up-to-date with industry changes.

To facilitate this, operators can apply for recertification up to one year before their certification's expiration date. Importantly, if recertified during this one-year period, no time is lost from the five-year certification validity; the new expiration date will still be five years from the previous expiration date.

If an operator's certification lapses (that is, they did not complete the recertification process by their expiration date), there is a 12-month grace period. During this time, operators may not operate cranes as they are not certified. If recertification is not completed within this grace period, operators will be required to start the certification process from the beginning, including retaking the full certification exams.

In essence, understanding the importance of recertification and the timeline involved is crucial for continuous, safe operation and career growth in the crane operation industry.



What You Should Accomplish

The NCCCO requires recertification candidates to complete all the recertification requirements during the 12 months leading up to their certification's expiration date. This means if your certification expires on a given date, you should aim to fulfill all the necessary requirements within the year before that date.

These requirements generally include:

  • Recertification Examination: This consists of both written and practical examinations. Candidates must successfully pass these to show they have maintained their knowledge and skills over the previous certification period.

  • Continued Regular Practice:  It's important to have been regularly practicing as a crane operator during the certification period. This is to ensure your skills haven't lapsed due to non-practice.

  • Medical Evaluation: Candidates must also continue to meet the physical requirements for crane operation, necessitating a medical evaluation.

  • Compliance with NCCCO's Code of Ethics: Candidates must adhere to the NCCCO's ethical standards, including maintaining a safe work record.

  • Application for Recertification: After meeting these requirements, you can submit an application for recertification to the NCCCO, usually along with a fee.

Completing these requirements during the 12 months prior to your certification's expiration date helps ensure a seamless transition from one certification period to the next. This also allows you to continue operating without interruption, as there should be no period where you are not certified to operate a crane.

Preparing for Recertification

A. The Importance of Planning Ahead

Planning ahead for your recertification process is essential to ensure a smooth transition from one certification period to the next. Beginning the process 12 months prior to your certification expiration date gives you ample time to prepare for and pass your exams, complete your medical evaluation, and gather the necessary documentation for your application. Furthermore, starting early helps to prevent any last-minute rushing that could result in mistakes or missed deadlines. It also provides a buffer in case there are any unexpected issues or delays, such as needing to retake an exam or waiting for a medical appointment.

B. Staying Updated on Changes in Certification Requirements

Certification requirements may evolve over time to reflect industry advancements, updated safety protocols, or changes in regulations. Thus, it's crucial to stay informed about these changes as they could affect your recertification process. Regularly check the NCCCO's official website, subscribe to their newsletters, or join relevant professional networks to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest information. Knowledge of these changes will allow you to better plan your recertification process and ensure your training and studies align with the current requirements.

C. Tips for Preparing for the Recertification Exams

Preparing for the recertification exams requires a comprehensive review of all the materials covered in the original certification. Here are some tips to help:

  • Review the Candidate Handbook: This is a vital resource provided by the NCCCO that outlines what the recertification exams cover.

  • Regular Practice: Practical skills are best kept sharp through regular practice. If possible, make sure you're regularly operating a crane in the lead-up to your recertification.

  • Training Courses: Consider enrolling in a refresher course or training program designed to prepare you for the NCCCO recertification exams. This can be particularly helpful if you find you're struggling with certain concepts or if there have been significant changes since your last certification.

  • Study Group or Mentorship: Join a study group or find a mentor who is also experienced in crane operation. This allows you to share knowledge, discuss concepts, and prepare for the exams together.

  • Mock Exams: Mock exams are a great way to practice for the written test and gauge your preparedness. They can highlight areas where you may need to focus your study efforts.



Components of the Recertification Exam

A. Detailed Look at the Written Exam

The written examination is an important part of the recertification process. It's designed to assess a candidate's knowledge of various aspects of crane operation and safety. The written exam often includes sections on:

  • Operational characteristics and limitations of the crane.
  • Safe operating procedures and practices.
  • Knowledge of load dynamics and crane configurations.
  • Setup and dismantling procedures.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Understanding of relevant regulations and standards.

The exam format is usually comprised of multiple-choice questions. Candidates are expected to study the relevant materials in preparation for the exam. The NCCCO provides a candidate handbook that includes all necessary information about the written exam, including its content and the reference materials to study.

B. Detailed Look at the Practical Exam

The practical examination is designed to evaluate the candidate's ability to safely operate a crane. It often involves operating a crane under typical field conditions and may include tasks such as:

  • Proper equipment inspection.
  • Safe maneuvering of the crane.
  • Accurate positioning of loads.
  • Response to emergency or unusual situations.

In the practical examination, candidates are assessed based on their performance in executing these tasks. The examiner will look for a demonstration of proper operation, adherence to safety guidelines, and response to potential emergency scenarios.

C. Importance of Refreshing Your Skills and Knowledge

As technology evolves and safety regulations and best practices change, it's essential for crane operators to keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date. Recertification is an excellent opportunity to refresh and upgrade your skills and knowledge.

Even if you use your crane operation skills regularly, it's possible to develop bad habits or become complacent about certain safety protocols. The recertification process ensures you are reminded of the correct procedures and that your skills remain at a high standard. Studying for the written exam refreshes your theoretical knowledge, and practicing for the practical exam ensures that your operational skills remain sharp.

In essence, both the written and practical recertification exams are designed to ensure that crane operators remain competent and aware of current industry standards and safety procedures, contributing to a safer and more efficient working environment.



The Role of Medical Evaluation in Recertification

A. Explanation of why Physical Fitness is Crucial

Physical fitness plays a significant role in the profession of crane operation. The work is physically demanding, and operators are often required to work in challenging conditions. A crane operator needs good vision, proper depth perception, and adequate hearing to operate a crane safely. In addition, crane operators often need to perform manual labor related to the operation and maintenance of the crane, requiring a certain level of strength, agility, and endurance.

Furthermore, the ability to withstand long periods of concentration, possibly in adverse weather conditions, requires a good general level of health and fitness. Therefore, to ensure the safety of both the operator and those working around them, it's crucial that a crane operator is physically fit and healthy.

B. Breakdown of what the Medical Evaluation Entails

As part of the NCCCO recertification process, candidates are required to undergo a medical evaluation. This evaluation is designed to ensure that the crane operator has the physical capability to operate a crane safely. The medical evaluation generally includes the following:

  • Physical Examination: A general health checkup to assess the overall health condition of the operator. This may include checking vital signs, cardiovascular health, and general physical condition.

  • Vision Test: A vision test is performed to ensure that the operator has a satisfactory vision. This includes tests for both distant and near vision, as well as testing for color perception and depth perception.

  • Hearing Test: A hearing test is conducted to ensure that the operator's hearing is within acceptable levels. The ability to hear is critical for a crane operator, who must be able to listen to signals and warnings.

  • Musculoskeletal Evaluation:  This involves assessing the strength, flexibility, and coordination of the operator. It can help identify any potential issues that could affect the operator's ability to perform their duties.

  • Mental Health Evaluation:  Some evaluations may include an assessment of the operator's mental health, as good mental health can affect concentration, decision-making abilities, and overall job performance.

The specifics of the medical evaluation can vary depending on the guidelines set by the NCCCO and the judgment of the medical professional conducting the examination. Always refer to the latest guidelines from the NCCCO for the most accurate information. If any health issues are identified during the medical evaluation, they must be addressed and corrected before the operator can be recertified.



Upholding the NCCCO's Code of Ethics and Certification Maintenance

A. Explanation of the Code of Ethics and its Importance

The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has established a Code of Ethics that provides guidelines for professional conduct and practices for all certified operators. It serves as a framework to ensure safety, professionalism, and integrity within the profession. The Code of Ethics includes commitments such as:

  • Safeguarding the public and the workplace to the best of their ability.
  • Operating equipment in a responsible and professional manner.
  • Complying with all relevant laws, regulations, and safety procedures.
  • Continually enhancing their knowledge and skills.
  • Maintaining a professional demeanor and respecting the rights of others.

Adherence to this code is of utmost importance as it upholds the integrity of the certification and promotes high standards within the industry. Violating the Code of Ethics could lead to disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of certification.

B. Discuss the Role of a Safe Work Record in Maintaining Certification

Maintaining a safe work record is crucial for any crane operator, not just for NCCCO certification, but also for the safety of the operator and their colleagues. Accidents and safety violations can lead to injuries, damages, delays in project timelines, and can have legal implications.

For NCCCO recertification, a clean safety record serves as evidence of the operator's commitment to safe practices and adherence to the Code of Ethics. Furthermore, employers often look at an operator's safety record when making hiring decisions. A good safety record can therefore boost an operator's employability and career progression.

When applying for recertification, operators may need to provide documentation of their safety records. It's important to keep a record of any safety training, inspections, and incident reports. Proactive safety measures and continuous learning to prevent accidents are also highly valued in maintaining a clean record.



The Process of Applying for Recertification

A. Step-by-step Guide Through the Application Process

Applying for recertification can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Check Your Certification Status: Ensure you are within the 12 months before your certification expiration date. If your certification has expired, check if you are within the grace period.

  2. Prepare for Exams: Review your knowledge of crane operation and study the relevant materials for the written and practical exams. You may want to take a training course or join a study group.

  3. Schedule Your Exams: You can schedule your written and practical exams through an NCCCO-accredited test site. Make sure to do this well in advance of your certification's expiration date.

  4. Pass Your Exams: Take and pass your written and practical exams. If you do not pass on your first attempt, you can retake the exam.

  5. Complete Medical Evaluation: Undergo a medical evaluation by a licensed physician to certify your physical fitness for crane operation.

  6. Compile Your Application:  Gather all necessary documentation including your exam results, medical evaluation, proof of compliance with the NCCCO's Code of Ethics, and proof of a safe work record.

  7. Submit Your Application: Complete the NCCCO recertification application form and submit it along with the necessary documentation and payment for the recertification fee. This can often be done online through the NCCCO's website.

  8. Receive Confirmation: After submitting your application, you should receive confirmation of your recertification from NCCCO. This can take a few weeks, so make sure you leave enough time before your certification expires.

B. Discussing the Importance of Honesty and Accuracy in the Application Process

Honesty and accuracy are vital in the recertification application process. Providing false or inaccurate information can result in your application being denied or your certification being revoked.

This includes being truthful about your work history, safety record, medical status, and any incidents or disciplinary actions related to your work as a crane operator. It also means accurately reporting your scores from the written and practical exams.

In addition, it's important to complete all sections of the application thoroughly and accurately. Missing or inaccurate information can delay the processing of your application, potentially leading to a lapse in certification.

Honesty and accuracy not only uphold the integrity of the NCCCO certification process but also reflect on your professionalism and integrity as a certified crane operator. They are essential to maintaining trust and safety in the industry.



In Conclusion

Recertifying as an NCCCO-certified crane operator is a crucial process that validates the knowledge, skill set, and dedication of professionals in this field. The recertification journey, from understanding its importance, thorough preparation, and undertaking the exams, to maintaining a safe work record, is all about commitment to safety and adherence to industry standards. By being proactive, staying updated on changes in certification requirements, and maintaining good physical condition, crane operators can successfully navigate the recertification process. It's also essential to uphold the NCCCO's Code of Ethics and maintain honesty and accuracy throughout the recertification application process.

While the journey to recertification can seem daunting, it serves to uphold the integrity of the profession and ensure the safety of all involved. After all, the overarching goal of recertification is to maintain a workforce of highly skilled and competent crane operators, capable of promoting safety and efficiency on every worksite.

Remember to plan ahead, keep practicing, and remain dedicated to your professional growth. As an NCCCO-certified crane operator, you are a vital part of the industry, and your commitment to continual learning and adherence to safety standards benefits not just you, but everyone in the field.

With the recertification tips provided in this article, you are well-equipped to navigate your recertification journey successfully. By staying informed, prepared, and diligent, you can renew your NCCCO certification and continue to excel in your crane operating career.

Get Your Forklift Certificate Today

Crane Training FAQ