CIC, NCCCO, NCCER, or OECP
When it comes to crane operator certification,
there are so many options that it can be confusing at first when trying to
decide which certifier to go with. We’re here to not only help you understand
the differences between these programs, but to also explain why we think one in
particular is the best choice.
Before we get into who they are and how
they’re different, it’s important to note that there are several factors that
must be taken into consideration when choosing which certifier is right for
you. Questions you should ask yourself are:
What crane types do they offer?
How long is the certification
What is the average cost?
How long will it take to get
Where is the certification
Does it satisfy the City / State
requirements in my region?
What % of the industry uses it?
A quick scan of what’s available will reveal
that there are four major crane certifiers in the United States. They include:
CIC, NCCCO, NCCER and OECP. Although each has gone through their own rigorous
process of gaining accreditation, and proving that they are reliable in OSHA’s
view, each one is unique.
Crane Institute Certification (CIC) offers a variety of crane operator certification classes including
telescopic, lattice and tower. Certifications are valid for 5 years. They
provide classes all over the country and the average cost varies depending on
the type of crane and what the student is looking to do. Typically their
classes take approximately three days to complete and the resulting certification
is recognized nationwide. However, there are some areas (for ex. West Virginia)
that CIC is not accepted as a valid form of crane operator certification.
Recently, CIC lost their accreditation and they are currently in the process of
trying to get it back. In the meantime, they are not certifying any operators.
National Commission for the Certification
of Crane Operators (NCCCO) offers classes everywhere
in the United States and has classes for every crane type: telescopic, lattice,
tower, articulating, digger derrick, gantry, service trucks and more.
Certifications are valid for 5 years and operators must begin the
recertification process in their fourth year. The good news is, recert
candidates that can attest to having 1000+ hours of crane-related experience
during those 5 years, can skip their practical exams. NCCCO classes range
anywhere from 3 days to a month depending on which crane school you attend, and
their certifications are recognized not just in the U.S., but globally.
National Center for Construction Education
& Research (NCCER) offers preparatory classes for
both mobile and tower cranes. Their offerings are more limited when it comes to
the crane world because they are a training provider that covers a wide range
of heavy equipment used in the construction industry. Like the others, their
certification is good for 5 years but is delivered across a 3-tiered program
offering that includes level 1 (167.5 hrs), level 2 (145 hrs) and level 3 (145
hrs). As a result, their training takes longer to complete. NCCER
certifications are recognized across the country but they, like CIC, are not
accepted in the state of West Virginia where an NCCCO certification is
Operating Engineers Certification Program
(OECP) has a crane class that they offer to the
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE). Essentially, this program is
only available to engineering apprentices and journeymen and is a requirement
for the OECP Examination. Although their
certifications are also good for 5 years, it is a somewhat restrictive path to
take toward getting certified, as you must be a union worker to participate and
apprenticeships take anywhere from 2 to 5 years, and operators are required to
put in at least 2000 hours annually during that time.
As mentioned earlier, here at California /
American Crane School, we do have a preference: NCCCO. This is due to many
factors, the most important of which being that NCCCO has certified the vast
majority of mobile crane operators in this country. They are the most recognized and respected
certifier, and we feel that having an NCCCO card in your pocket gives you the
best opportunities when entering the workforce.