Editor’s Note – Alexa has recently joined CICB’s marketing team and decided to take our MCOT class to experience life from a student’s perspective. She may not really want to become a crane operator, but she did great.

This past week, I had the pleasure of taking CICB’s Mobile Crane Operator Training Course (MCOT).

This course is recommended for anyone who wants to become a crane operator, and it is often paired with the NCCCO Mobile Crane Operator prep course.

On the fifth day of this class, a written and practical examination is given, and those who pass will receive a certificate through CICB.

This certificate is accepted at the employer’s discretion; for a transferable, national certification (such as that required by OSHA for anyone working in construction), it is recommended to also take the one-week CCO prep class and examinations..

The MCOT course lasts five days, and class is from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Each day included classroom/written information and hands-on practice.

CICB has several instructors, and Kenny taught my course. He was knowledgeable and was able to answer every individual’s questions.

DAY ONE – Beginning the Journey to Becoming a Crane Operator

I was quite nervous to begin this course. I had absolutely zero experience with cranes prior to walking through the door.

My nerves slowly disappeared as soon as I took a seat.

A detailed handbook was waiting for me on the desk, so I did not have to worry about jotting down every bit of information.

In addition, I was provided with a signalperson cheat-sheet, a keychain, and a pen/highlighter.

This photo shows the CICB MCOT handbook, as well as the other items given during the course.

Class began with discussing the basics of cranes.

We learned what goes into operating a crane, as well as how to prevent accidents and injuries.

I am a visual learner, so I greatly appreciated Kenny incorporating videos and props into his lesson.

We were also given a 10-minute break every hour, so I did not feel overwhelmed with information and enjoyed having a short brain-break.

About halfway through the day, we spent an hour and a half out of the classroom and on the crane. Kenny remained patient with me, no matter how many times I accidentally swung the crane in the wrong direction.

Operating a crane is much more difficult than I expected, but I am thankful for the lengthy hands-on time that is built into this class.

Practice makes perfect, after all, especially for anyone who wants to become a crane operator.

The final portion of the class was similar to the beginning- we went through two chapters in our book while periodically watching videos to enhance the lesson.

At the end of each chapter, we took a short quiz to test our knowledge on what we learned.

I especially enjoyed this feature, as it gave me the ability to pin-point which material I needed to review after class.

I finished day one feeling much more at ease than I originally felt before class began.

DAY TWO – Becoming a Crane Operator Seems a Little More Realistic

I came to class on day two with a significantly calmer mindset than I did on day one.

Kenny started class by reviewing the material from yesterday, to ensure no material was forgotten overnight.

After the review, we learned more information about safety, such as how to avoid tipping a crane over (which is apparently easier to do than you would think).

The lesson was in the same format as yesterday: we learned the material, discussed the information in-depth by analyzing photos, and then took a short quiz to test what we learned.

Once we checked our answers to the quiz, we put on our hard hats and headed out to the crane.

Today, we were introduced to the swing-cab crane, which is much larger than the fixed-cab crane.

Daniel, another instructor at CICB, monitored the fixed-cab crane while Kenny focused on the swing cab.

This doubled the student-instructor ratio, giving everyone more crane time. I had an “aha!” moment today and felt more confident and in control of the crane by the end of the lesson.

In this photo, Kenny is explaining the swing cab controls to two students.

The last half of class consisted of load charts. Although only simple math is needed for this calculation, there are several steps involved in the process.

Kenny ensured we mastered each step before adding another, which I appreciated, as someone who is not the best at math.

The amount of time dedicated to this lesson gave myself and other students (who truly wanted to become a crane operator) the practice we needed, and left us feeling confident by the end of class.

DAY THREE – Lightning Strikes!

At the beginning of class, we reviewed yesterday’s load charts and learned a new set.

After spending around two hours practicing, we had more time to practice on the fixed-cab crane.

I fully understood the controls today. Although I was continuing to work more slowly than I wanted (it was exciting to see the difference between day one and three.

My best piece of advice for those taking this course and who want to become a crane operator is not to give up.

I spent the first two days feeling discouraged and thought I would not be able to master the different controls, but yesterday’s “aha!” moment put me in a great position today.

In this photo, a student is practicing on the fixed-cab crane.

After coming back from our lunch break, we learned about wires and inspections.

I enjoyed the break from mathematics during these lessons.

Afterwards, we were going to practice on the cranes, but could not due to lightning. It is imperative to follow safe practices, so we headed inside and were introduced to rigging.

After the lightning cleared, we spent the last few minutes of class on both the cranes.

DAY FOUR – Rigging is Essential if You Want to Become a Crane Operator

Today was the day that everything fell into place.

The first two hours of class were spent on the cranes, and I had time to experience both the fixed-cab and swing-cab cranes.

Aside from the size, the biggest difference I noticed between the two is that the swing cab does not stop moving just because your hand is off the joystick. If the crane is swinging, so is the operator in the cab.

After practicing for the exam, Kenny told us his honest opinion of how we performed, and if we needed more practice.

Knowing exactly where I stood was helpful to me, and greatly reduced my worries about the practical exam.

Afterwards, we went through three more chapters: communications, critical lifts, and rigging.

Communications and critical lifts were quick and straightforward. Rigging, on the other hand, took us around three hours to cover.

The information discussed was basic- we did not learn nor will we be required to set up a rig.

We did learn the basic types of hitches; however, CICB’s varied rigging courses – which last from 2 -5 days – are much more comprehensive.

Many of those in the cab began their careers as riggers, and these classes would be a great complement to those considering a career in this field.

The class ended immediately after the rigging portion. I could not believe how quickly the week went.

Although we covered a lot of material, I did not feel that my brain was overloaded. We took breaks throughout the day and slowed down during the more information-dense lessons.

DAY FIVE – Time for the Tests

On test day, CICB allows you time to practice and review before their assessment.

The written test was administered first, and the tests were scored immediately after.

We even had time to discuss questions we missed and were still confused on. This ensured we left feeling fully successful and knowledgeable.

After the written portion was complete, we moved onto the practical. The practical includes demonstrating the ability to operate both the fixed cab and swing cab cranes.

Once again, as soon as you climbed out of the cab, you were given your score for the exam.

In this photo, Kenny is giving instructions to a student in the swing-cab crane.

I Might Want to Become a Crane Operator!

This week was packed with information about mobile cranes, rigging, and communications.

I highly recommend this training course for anyone who is new to the lifting industry and interested in learning about cranes.

This class was a great pace for me, as I was brand-new to cranes prior to taking this course.

Although there was a lot of material covered, it was administered at a slower pace, allowing students to feel comfortable and not overloaded with information.

If I had experience with mobile cranes and would not consider myself a trainee, I would recommend researching the other courses that CICB offers.

There are courses for rigging, inspections, CCO prep classes, and much more.

In certain circumstances, CICB will even customize a class to meet your needs.

See here for Alexa’s report on her second class – the CCO prep training.

See how much you know – take a practice test