Are crane operators required to be trained and certified?

Crane operators are an important position in many different industries. They are used in construction, warehousing, shipping, manufacturing, shop floors, and many other situations. This is why there is significant demand for good crane operators. In order to get a job in this position, it is a requirement to go through training and pass a certification exam. These requirements are put in place by OSHA as well as the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). Understanding the requirements is the first step for anyone looking to get a job in this industry.

Physical Exam

Crane operators need to be able to pass a physical exam in order to move forward with their training and written tests. The exam consists of a traditional medical exam to ensure the candidate doesn’t suffer from seizures or other conditions that may make it more likely that they could lose control of the crane. In addition, it will require the candidate to pass a drug test. This drug test can also be demanded at any time for crane operators, even after they attain their certification. The physical portion of the exam process needs to be repeated every three years.

Written Exam

The written exam is broken down into two parts. The first of which will test the candidates knowledge of how to run cranes. This will include things like how cranes work, hand signals, crane hazards, and much more. The second portion of the exam will test the individual’s knowledge on a specific type of crane. The type of crane would be the one where they are going to be doing most of their work. This is a more precise exam that asks a lot of specific questions to ensure they have the knowledge to safely operate that specific machine.

Crane operators can take multiple different specialty exams (the second part) in order to be certified on multiple different types of cranes. The more they pass, the more options they will have when looking for work, and the more cranes they can safely run.

Operational Exam

Finally, the crane operator must also take and pass an operational test that is conducted by a qualified trainer. During this portion of the test the operator will have to go through a number of common tasks on an actual crane in order to demonstrate their proficiency.


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