National Commission for the
Certification of Crane Operators
Committed to Quality, Integrity, and Fairness in Testing since 1995


CCO Certification Development

CCO currently administers certification programs for operators of mobile cranesservice truck cranes, tower cranes, overhead cranes, articulating cranes, digger derricks, dedicated pile drivers, drill rigs, concrete pumps, and telehandlers, in addition to non-operator certifications for signalpersons, riggers, crane inspectors, and lift directors.

For a complete description of the examinations and application process, download the Candidate Handbook for the programs you are interested in. If you are interested in hosting CCO written exams, download the Written Examination Test Site Coordinator Handbook. If you are interested in hosting CCO practical exams, download the Practical Examination Test Site Coordinator Handbook for the corresponding program(s).

To ensure CCO examinations are psychometrically sound, fair, and effective measurements of a candidate’s knowledge and skills, CCO teams its exam-development expertise with the expertise of its subject matter experts. This combination of load handling equipment knowledge and psychometric expertise, supplemented with input from OSHA and ANSI/ASME committees, is unprecedented in this industry.

The first step in the development of a fair and objective examination for load handling equipment operators was a “job analysis” study. The team of load handling equipment experts that CCO assembled initially identified the knowledge necessary for safe equipment operations. A survey was then given to several hundred load handling equipment operators, who validated that the knowledge recommended by the experts was vital to safe operations. The test “blueprints” or content specifications generated from the validation study were used to begin the item (question) writing process for each certification program.

All exam items have been developed by experts with knowledge and expertise in the area of load handling equipment operation, and all are reviewed at least four times before they are “field-tested” in an actual test administration: (a) items are first reviewed by equipment operation subject-matter experts for content relevance, competency level, and importance; (b) CCO reviews each item for psychometric quality; (c) CCO editorial staff reviews each item for grammar, spelling, and usage; and (d) additional panels of load handling equipment experts review and validate all items prior to final approval.

Development of the written certification examinations involves panels of load handling equipment operation content experts who work with CCO staff to write and review all questions used in the examinations. Each examination contains a unique combination of items from the item bank; items are selected for the examination on the basis of the content areas as defined by the test blueprints. The content areas have been developed through the original role delineation and serve to guarantee each test is consistent in difficulty and question content. Each of the written exams are based on the operator validation study conducted by CCO.

The CCO practical examinations were developed as fair and objective assessment of the essential skills lifting personnel need to safely perform lifting activities. They were developed by experts from all aspects of the load handling equipment industry—operators, training directors, managers, supervisors, manufacturers—representing many thousands of hours of lifting experience.

Minimum passing scores are determined following test construction. Each stage of this rigorous examination development process follows the standards established by the American Educational Research Association as outlined in its Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. These procedures are recognized by professional test developers nationwide in all professional disciplines. Their use by CCO ensures that only fair and reliable competency-based certification examinations are used in the assessment of operator competency.

In concert with its Task Forces and Exam Management Committees, CCO also designed the Practical Exam Proctor Credential Program whereby it trains and accredits CCO-certified individuals to administer CCO practical examinations.