Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles. See here to read about Alexa’s first week of class (CICB’s MCOT program).

This week, I had the experience of attempting to become CCO certified by taking CICB’s CCO Mobile Crane Operator Training Course. Since I was new to mobile crane operation, I took CICB’s Mobile Crane Operator Training (MCOT) course last week, which can serve as the introductory version of the CCO class.

Although the courses are similar, the main difference between the MCOT and CCO courses is you will receive a certification by passing the CCO written and practical exams. This certification is like a driver’s license – you can take it anywhere and have the ability to operate a crane.

Class is from 8:00am-5:00pm, with a 90-minute lunch built in. You have the ability to practice on the cranes during lunch.

CCO DAY ONE – The first step to become CCO certified

The first day is essentially the entire MCOT course compiled into a one-day review. We discussed several types of cranes and their components, and it was fast paced. If you are taking both the MCOT and CCO Prep classes, I highly recommend taking the courses back-to-back.

I knew that the course would advance throughout the week, so the review was a great way to begin the week and prepare for the course.

CCO DAY TWO- Mobile Crane Load Charts

The second day began with hands-on-experience operating the different cranes. My goal here was to see what it would take to become CCO certified. However, I did not actually operate the crawler crane, although I did stand by the operator’s side as I took photos. The levers appeared more sensitive than the swing cab, and this is the largest crane at CICB.

A crawler crane operator practices for his CCO Certification exam

After an hour on the cranes, we came back inside and began class for the day. The material covered was also similar to the previous week’s MCOT course. I once again enjoyed having the review and felt like an expert in the material.

For the second half of the day, we broke into separate load chart groups. In the class, there were three different certification categories: swing cab, fixed cab, and lattice boom cranes.

Some students were only taking one specialty exam, and others were taking two or three. Kenny went over the load charts for each of the separate categories of cranes. This allowed one-on-one time with each group to explain the intricacies of the individual load chart.

CCO DAY THREE – Load Charts are essential if you want to become CCO certified

Load charts carried over into day three. Yesterday, we discussed the components of each load chart. Today, we practiced the calculations. For the first half of class, we independently solved load chart practice questions. Kenny visited each student and cleared up any confusion.

Pictured: Load chart worksheets are used to practice for the CCO written exam

I learn best when I attempt to solve a problem on my own and can later ask questions. This strategy made me a pro with load charts. Again, I had practice with load charts in the MCOT course, so this was not my first time with the material.

During the second half of the day, we took a break from load charts and covered both rigging and electrical hazards.

CCO DAY FOUR- Practicing for the CCO Certification Exam

This last day was significantly different than the other instructional days – more than half of the day, we worked independently. Kenny administered practical exams for those who were looking to truly become CCO certified and while we were waiting for our turn, we continued to practice with load charts. By the end of the time frame, I was an expert with load charts, and felt ready to take the exam.

During the last few hours of class, we had a rigging lesson. We discussed the basics of rigging in the classroom (you are not required to set up a rig for the Mobile Crane exam, however, you are required to know the types of hitches and slings).

After we finished our rigging lesson, we ended the day by taking a practice written test. This practice test had 150 multiple choice questions, and we were advised that if we could pass that test, we should feel confident to take the CCO exam.

A student is pictured taking a practice test before the CCO exam

CCO DAY FIVE- The Actual CCO Certification Exam

I arrived to CICB at 7:45am, ready to take the CCO written assessment. The exam is proctored by an individual that does not work at CICB, since this is a national certification. The procedures are similar to any other type of standard exam.

You will be given a bubble sheet that must be filled in with a #2 pencil. In addition, you are not allowed to bring anything into the classroom other than your driver’s license, and you must follow the given instructions clearly.

All in all, I am thankful for taking both the MCOT and CCO classes. Even if I had previous experience with a crane, I do not think I would pass the CCO exam without the preparation course, for the test uses certain verbiage that may not be used in the workplace.

I highly recommend becoming a certified operator, no matter how new or experienced you are with cranes.

For those working in construction, it is now mandatory to hold a nationally accredited certification. It’s our recommendation that these mobile crane operators become CCO certified.

But even those in General Industry will find the certification beneficial. The information learned in the certification process will ultimately help prevent accidents.


In addition, having the certification on your resume makes you stand out, which will help you secure a job.

CICB offers several different types of Mobile Crane CCO Preparation Courses. These include a 3-day fast track for CCO refreshers. For companies looking to certify their operators, we can also customize a course to fit your needs.

For any questions, please contact us at (800) 327-1386.

Could you pass the CCO Test? Try now!