The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) developed and manages certification for crane operators. Each state has individual laws, but most require certification through the NCCCO. In order to become certified, you must pass a two-part exam, consisting of a written and a practical portion. These two portions are administered independently and you pay testing fees for each of them separately.
The mobile crane written exam is $165 for the core exam and an additional $10 for each specialty you wish to be certified in. The tower and overhead crane exams are $165 each, or $50 each if you are also taking the mobile crane exam. If you fail a specialty section of the exam, but pass the core, retesting is discounted to $65 for the first specialty and $10 dollars for each additional specialty.
The practical portion of the exam costs $60 for one mobile crane type and $10 for each additional mobile crane type. The tower and overhead crane exams cost $60, with a $10 discount if the candidate is taking more than one crane type exam. The practical exam must be completed within 12 months of the written exam.
Training is not required by the NCCCO to become certified. However, it is recommended that you receive some training before attempting to operate a crane for the first time. Additionally, a course may help you to pass the written portion of the exam. Training schools offer full courses for prices ranging from $1,200 to $1,800 (as of August 2011), depending on the length of the course. These schools may also offer additional practice time on their cranes, with an instructor, at a rate of about $100 an hour.
Some training courses may include the NCCCO testing fees in their price. Additionally, many courses may have a guarantee, saving you from retesting fees should you fail your exam the first time. If you already work in the construction industry, you may be able to get your training or exam fees paid through your employer.