NCCCO vs. NCCER certification

Both NCCCO (CCO for short) and NCCER are nationally accredited certifications that meet OSHA’s requirement. From a compliance standpoint, there is no difference. However, their test categories and test procedures are different. Here is a summary of the differences:




The practical exam emphasizes speed as well as accuracy and load control. Typically you must be a very experienced, high production operator to pass it.

The practical exam gives you a more generous time limit, so it is easier to pass.

The written exams use just one load chart per exam category, so many operators consider them easier to pass.

NCCER assumes that during the life of your career as an operator, you will probably run many different cranes, so they use more load charts on their written exams, which may make them more challenging for some candidates.

Exam categories include:

·       Fixed cab small telescoping boom (TSS)

·       Swing cab large telescoping boom (TLL)

·       Articulating boom

·       Service mechanic truck

·       Lattice boom

Exam categories include:

·       Boom truck (articulating or straight boom)

·       Industrial (e.g. carrydeck)

·       Large telescoping boom

·       Lattice boom

You must take a written and practical exam in every category you need.

If you take the large telescoping boom written exam, it covers you for industrial and boom truck in most cases (although to be safe you may want to take two practicals).

You cannot bring your own crane to an exam, unless you are hosting your own onsite, in which case you must register a test site in advance and submit load charts for your crane in order to get a custom-designed course from CCO. Only the registered crane(s) can be used, at the registered location, and we need at least four week’s lead time to get it set up.

For public classes you can bring your own crane, or you can test in the rental we have available, or in some cases we may send the practical examiner to your site to test on your crane.   We have complete flexibility on test cranes, timing and location compared to CCO.

There is add-on pricing for each additional exam you need

For public classes, one price covers you for everything

If you have 1000 hours of seat time, you can skip the practical exam for your 5-year recert

You have to take both written and practical on your recert

CCO has been around longer and has greater name recognition.

NCCER is lesser known in the crane industry, although they offer training and certification in about 70 trades and are well-known in the construction world in general.