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Career as Crane Operator

Aug 17, 2007
The use of cranes and other industrial equipment has increased phenomenally in the last few decades, creating more job opportunities for professional crane operators. For ensuring the safety of crane operators, the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) has made significant changes in existing regulations related to the training and qualification of crane operators. As per new regulations, it has become compulsory for crane operators to acquire the requisite certification before working in any industry that requires cranes. The NCCCO currently conducts certification programs for mobile crane operators, tower crane operators, and overhead crane operators.

Mobile crane operator

For becoming a mobile crane operator, you need to be at least 18 years of age, should meet physical requirements, and pass written and practical examinations. The certification program offered by NCCCO is for trained crane operators who are currently working in industries in the capacity of operators, maintenance staff, inspection staff, or training personnel. You must meet the ASME B30.5 physical requirements all throughout the certification program. The main theory examination consists of ninety multiple choice questions, which you will have to complete in ninety minutes. The remaining specialty examinations usually have 26 multiple choice questions that need to be completed in 55 minutes. The core examination is compulsory for all candidates whereas any one from the 4-specialty examination can be taken as per the candidates choice. The 4 specialty examinations are Lattice Boom Crawler Cranes (LBC), Lattice Boom Truck Cranes (LBT), Large Telescopic Boom Cranes (TLL) (Swing Cab), Small Telescopic Boom Cranes (TSS) (Fixed Cab). Lattice Boom Cranes, Large Telescopic Boom Cranes (Swing Cab), Small Telescopic Boom Cranes (Fixed Cab).

Tower crane operator

The basic eligibility criterion for a tower crane operator is the same as that of a mobile crane operator. The main theory examination consists of fifty multiple-choice questions, which you will be required to finish in one hour. The practical examination will test your skills in operating three types of cranes namely, Hammerhead, Luffer, and Self-erecting. You will not be required to give the practical examination if you have at least 1000 hours of crane related experience.

Overhead crane operator

The eligibility criterion for an overhead crane operator is no different from that for a mobile or tower crane operator. You will be required to pass the main examination, which typically consists of 60 multiple choice questions that need to be completed in one hour. The practical examination will test your skills in operating cranes such as Cab Operated and Pendant/Remote Control.

In any of these certification programs, you are allowed to select the date for taking your practical and written examination. You also need to confirm to the substance abuse policy of NCCCO that disallows candidates from using any substance that could impair the ability to operate cranes in a safe manner. The term substance may include drugs, look alike drugs, controlled substances, designer drugs, narcotics, anti depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. This policy will not apply on you if such substances have been prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner.

As a crane operator, you can get employment in any of the manufacturing industries where heavy goods and equipment need to be moved from one place to another. Job opportunities for crane operators exist at shipyards, ports, and railroad yards where large containers are loaded and unloaded. Companies that are into construction, energy, petrochemical and paper also employ crane operators.
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