Certifications Compared

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There’s a lot of overlap. Ultimately, we might reorganize the two and recombine in different ways?



One of the most important factors to consider when becoming certified to operate a mobile telescopic crane is who to earn your certificate through. These days, there are several choices available including: NCCCO, CIC, NCCER and OECP. But how do you narrow it down to just one?


To begin, let’s look at the different programs and make some comparisons:


National Commision for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO):

Through American Crane School:

Time: 3 days

Cost (full program): $1995

Availability: Los Angeles and Sacramento CA; Dallas and Houston TX

Guarantee? Yes: if you don’t pass your writtens come back to class for free.

Recognized: globally


Crane Institute Certification (CIC):

Through Crane Institute of America

Time: 4 days

Cost (full program): $995

Availability: Orlando FL

Guarantee? No.

Recognized: Mainly in the State of Florida


National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER):

Through Crane Industry Services

Time: 4 days

Cost (full program): $2045

Locations: Carrollton, GA

Guarantee? No.

Recognized: Nationally


Operating Engineers Certification Program (OECP):


Time: 8400 hours (apprenticeship)

Cost (full program): union pays for it

Locations: Through your local union

Guarantee? No.

Recognized: Nationally


A couple differences are noticeable right away. For example, if you are not currently working for a union and don’t plan to, an OECP apprenticeship is not available to you. Also noteworthy, many of the classes open to the public are 4 days long. While prices vary depending on the school and who issues the certification, one thing is for sure: your certification card is only worth the paper it’s printed on if you take it somewhere and it is not accepted.


That is one of the biggest advantages of having an NCCCO certification because it is recognized and respected around the world. You know before even applying for the job that your card will be deemed sufficient to begin working.


The bottomline is, mobile crane operators are often required to travel for work. If you are in the business of going where the work takes you, then it’s that much more important to be certified through an organization whose card is recognized everywhere you go.


Additionally, very few schools outside of American Crane School guarantee their results; an important concern when you’re spending days away from the job and hundreds of dollars to take a class. You want to know that you will pass! ACS is able to make this guarantee by allowing students who fail their written tests to come back to the class for free until they pass.




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