Frequently Asked Questions

About the Class

1. What is the difference between crane school and an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships offered through trade unions take between 6400 to 8400 hours to complete, and they are designed to make an operator *qualified. The California Crane School test preparation program intended to give candidates everything they need to pass their Written Exams, and give them the opportunity to take the Practical Exams. The class gets operators *certified in the fastest, most efficient way possible. Taking the class won't make you a qualified crane operator, but it will put a certification card in your pocket. The rest is up to you.

2. What makes California Crane School different from the rest?

We don't just teach test preparation, we help candidates understand the principles of crane operation. This is what makes California Crane School so effective at getting candidates to meet OSHA's 29 CFR 1926 Subpart CC and ASME's B 30.5. California Crane School takes a motivational, fun approach to the crane operator certification process which results in some of the highest pass rates on Written Exams in the country. California Crane School has conducted hundreds of classes around the country with thousands of candidates passing their Written Exams the first time around. Anyone can teach a boring crane safety class, we get you to pass (safety included).

3. Will getting a crane operator certification help me get a job?

There are always employers looking for certified crane operators. Most of the time they won't even consider you unless you are a certified operator, because the last thing they want is to spend $1800 to send you to a crane school; get you certified; and have you leave to go work for another company. Typically they like to have you come to them already certified. Companies will then train you their way. There are a lot of job opportunities out there for certified operators, we get calls all the time.

4. I have never operated a crane before and I want to become a crane operator. Can you help me?

This class is not going to teach you everything you need to know about crane. At the same time, it is going to be really difficult for you to get a job without a certification (just like it would be hard to get a driving job without a driver's license). This class is designed for people who are already crane operators and need to pass the test. The good news is, the less a candidate knows about cranes the better they will do on the Written Exams. The reason for this is; candidates that have been operating cranes for years learned things a different way than the books want them to do it. This makes it more difficult for them to unlearn their old ways and learn to do it by the book. This is what they are tested on with the crane certification exams.

If you have never operated a crane before we probably could not turn you into an amazing crane operator in three days. However, if you want to get certified, you have come to the right place. If a candidate can add, subtract, and speaks English, we can easily get them through the Written Exams the first time. If the candidate speaks English as a second language, we can also make it happen as we have done for hundreds of English as second language candidates.

As far as the Practical Exams go, if a candidate knows how to stop the load or hook from swinging, with a few pointers they can typically pass the Practical Exams. If not, they need to get some time on a crane. If no cranes are available to the candidate, our cranes are available at a cost of $150 per hour with an instructor. We can typically get a candidate who has never been on a crane through the Practical Exam in less than 2 hours to pass the Practical Exams. Some candidates require more training, some require less.

5. Do I need a Driver's License to operate a crane?

You do not need a driver's license. If you have a DUI, that does not matter either in terms of taking the class and testing to get certified. Your employer might have a different perspective on it, but for the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operator exams, it doesn't matter. As for needing a driver's license to operate a crane -- if you were to drive an all terrain crane or boom truck down the road, that is something the department of motor vehicles would govern for the same reasons a driver's license is required to drive on the interstate. But on a job site if you're driving a rough terrain crane or a crawler crane on dirt then no, you do not need a driver's license.

6. What is all included in California Crane School's crane operator training & certification program?

California Crane School crane operator training & certification program includes a written preparation training class guaranteed to get candidates to pass the crane operator certification Written Exams and the opportunity for candidates to take their Practical Exams on each telescopic crane type (swing + fixed cab telescopic boom crane). The price also includes all the applicable written + practical testing fees to the testing company which total $225. We do not believe in misleading our customers with hidden fees. Price does not include any late or incomplete fees to the testing company.
Total crane operator training and certification package $1,795

7. Some companies have longer classes. If I am not an experienced crane operator, will I need a longer class?

California Crane School invented the three day crane operator certification program. From our hundreds of classes worth of experience we understand how long it takes for people to pass the Written Exams and take their Practical Exams. If a class is shorter it is usually not enough to get a candidate through the crane certification exams. If a class is longer this probably means they have time to get into war stories of how big the load was that you lifted, or how much boom you have operated with. As much as we would love to discuss these kinds of things in class we do not set aside time for it.
California Crane School guarantees you pass the Written Exams after our class or the next class with us is free.

8. When shopping for a crane operator certification-training company what should you ask them?

1) How many crane operator certification classes have you conducted?
2) How many of your candidates pass there crane operator certification Written Exams the first time?
3) How long is your crane-training course?
4) Which reputable companies have you conducted your crane operator training & certification classes for?
5) What do your customers say about you?
6) Can you guarantee the candidate will pass after your training class?

9. Does the crane school offer nighttime classes?

We do not have night classes, but we will soon be offering an e-learning class that will allow you to take the class at any time of day based on what is most convenient for you.

10. Is the certification you offer accepted by the unions?

Yes. The certification is issued through the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) which has certified over 90% of every certified crane operator in the United States. It is the same program that is offered by many labor unions around the country, and is by far the most popular certification program in the US.


1. What are the requirements to enroll?

To enroll in the class, you must meet all eligibility requirements set forth by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators.

These requirements include:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Meet Medical Requirements
  • Comply with NCCCO's Substance Abuse Policy
  • Pass Written Examinations (Core and at least one Specialty)
  • Pass Practical Examination(s)-Candidates must pass the Practical exam within twelve months of passing the written examination
  • Comply with the NCCCO Code of Ethics

2. Do you allow female candidates?

Of course! In fact, most of the time they do much better than the guys.

3. Do I need a diploma or degree to take the class?

The only prerequisites to taking the class are the eligibility requirements defined by NCCCO (the testing company).

4. Do I need to have my physical exam and drug test completed before taking the test?

You need to attest on your application that you have passed a drug test.

5. I have a DUI on my record, can I still come to your class and receive my certification?


6. Can I sign up for the class even if I don't meet the eligibility for class

Everybody meets the eligibility for the class. However, to meet the eligibility for the test is a different story. There are medical requirements, physical requirements, be 18 years of age, have to attest that you've passed a drug test.

Getting Signed Up

1. What are the requirements to enroll?

To enroll in the class, you must meet all eligibility requirements set forth by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators.

These requirements include:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Meet Medical Requirements
  • Comply with NCCCO's Substance Abuse Policy
  • Pass Written Examinations (Core and at least one Specialty)
  • Pass Practical Examination(s)-Candidates must pass the Practical exam within twelve months of passing the written examination
  • Comply with the NCCCO Code of Ethics

2. Do I need to buy books for the class?

You do not need to buy books for the class. We recommend the less that you study the better off you are going to be. NCCCO (the testing company) pulls information from ANSI, ASME, OSHA; IPT's Rigging Manual, the Mobile Crane Manual, Bob's Rigging Handbook -- a lot of different sources of information. Some of these references conflict with each other. All you need to do is come to the class. We will teach you everything you need to know to get certified. After the class.... we encourage you to further educate yourself, but prior to the class, it is probably just going to confuse you. For more information, check out our Study Materials page.

3. How often does California Crane School conduct classes?

Classes take place once a month in Houston, TX. We also conduct private classes throughout the month. For information on private classes call California Crane School at (888)-957-PASS (7277).

4. When will I know I am enrolled in the class session?

As soon as you are enrolled, we will send you an email.

5. Can I come over to the office to sign up?

No. That's what the website is for.

6. I don't know which crane I need to certify on. Can you tell me if I give you a make and model #?

When you call, tell our Test Coordinator the make and model of the crane and they will be able to let you know if it is a fixed cab or a swing cab crane. Crawler or truck crane. Lattice boom or telescopic boom, and so on.

7. Can I reserve a spot for class while I fill out my application?

We wait until your application is received, and payment is collected prior to your spot being available for the class.

8. Is there a fee to fill out the application?

There is a $295 non-refundable fee for paperwork administration.

9. Is there space available for next weeks' class?

Extra space is not guaranteed. If there is space available you can take the class. We will charge an extra $100 if we need to set up a CBT (Computer-Based Testing) session for you.

Paying for the Class

1. Are there any financial assistance / scholarships / discounts available?

We do not offer financial assistance or scholarships. However, if you are signing up three or more people at once, you will get a $100 discount per person, for a class.

2. Do you accept the GI Bill?

To accept the GI Bill, the government requires that schools be accredited as post-secondary education programs. In order to be accredited as a post secondary program we would be required to provide a job placement service and this is something we don't do. However, if you are looking for work, we always talk to different companies that are looking for employees.

3. Can you bill my company with an invoice?

Yes, call the crane school office for more info @ (888) 957-PASS (7277).

4. Is there a payment plan?


Before Class (Things to Know)

1. What do I bring to class?

Everything will be provided. However, when you go out into the field, you are required to have personal protection equipment such as a hard hat and work boots.

2. Is there a dress code?

Not in the classroom. Hard hat and work boots are required in the training yard.

3. Is eating and drinking allowed in class?


4. Are there breaks during class?

Yes. There are two 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day and a 30 minute lunch break.

5. Is a snack, coffee, or other refreshment provided for the classroom break?

We provide coffee and bottled water.

6. Is there time to go off campus for lunch?

Depending on what time you finish your in-class activities, you may have up to 45 - 60 minutes for lunch. At minimum you will be given a 30 minute lunch break.

Taking the Test(s)

1. Do I need to learn how to use a computer to take the Written Exam?

You do not need to know how to use a computer to take the Written Exam.

2. Can I take the test in my native language?

The test is offered in Spanish, however, we do not provide training in Spanish.

3. When must I be signed up for the testing?

to take the Written Exams or the NCCCO Testing Services Department will charge a $50 late fee (no proceeds from late or incomplete fees go to California Crane School). Candidates must be signed up for the Written Exams at least one week in advance or NCCCO's Testing Services Department will not allow them to test. Candidates wishing to take only the Practical Exam can call California Crane School at (888) 957-PASS (7277) and schedule this at any time. All crane certification paperwork including candidate's photo is done on site.

4. Who administers the tests?

An independent contractor hired by the NCCCO Testing Services Department administers the Written Exams, and an accredited practical examiner administers the Practical Exams.

5. What happens if the candidate fails? Does the candidate have to do everything over again?

No. For instance if a candidate fails one specialty Written Exam, the testing company charges the candidate $65 to retest. If the candidate fails any other specialty exams, the testing company charges $10 for each additional exam, and if the candidate fails the core test, the testing company charges $165. California Crane School does not charge for any candidates who come back for retesting to attend the class or to sit in on the Written Exam. If the candidate fails a Practical Exam, California Crane School charges $250 to retest; this price includes all testing fees charged by the NCCCO Testing Services Department.

6. If I fail my written test, how soon can I retest again?

You can retest the same day that you get your results from the previous test. If you'd like to attend one of our test sessions, you must sign up in advance. There is also the option to do Computer-Based Testing (CBT).

7. How many questions can I miss and still pass?

The Core Exam is a 90 question test. You need a 70% to pass which = must answer 54 questions correctly.| The Specialty Exam is a 26 question test that consists of multiple choice and load chart questions. The load chart questions are weighted heavier and count for more points than the multiple choice, so it is not possible to say how many you must have correct, but, it is a fact that you must have a score of 70% or higher to pass the Specialty portion of the Written Exams.

8. Can I use my notes during the test?


9. How long does it take to get the results of the tests?

The testing company typically takes 2 - 3 weeks to send candidates the results of their Written Exams and about 3 - 5 weeks to send candidates the results of their Practical Exams. If your results have not come in by that time you should call the NCCCO Testing Services Department at (727) 449-8525.

10. Do I need to have my physical exam and drug test completed before taking the test?

You must attest on your application that you have passed a drug test.

11. What kind of cranes do you use for the practical exams?

Since most of the Practical Exams require that a crane's boom length be set to 70% - 75% for testing, we use the smallest cranes possible to meet the requirement. It makes the test easier. All of our cranes are Cal-OSHA certified and are used only for practical testing.

12. If I sign up for two cranes, do I need to do my Practical Exams for both on the same day?

Students that require testing on both fixed-cab and swing-cab crane types, must complete their Practical testing for both cranes during the same class session. If the student decides they are not ready to test, and would rather be tested on one of the crane types later, a $100 fee will be charged. Note: students have 12 months from the date they pass their Written Exam to pass their Practical Exams and have all tests count toward the same certification.

13. What if I fail the practical on the crane type I need for work? Can I retake it?

Candidates that sign-up to test on both the fixed-cab and swing-cab cranes often want to be tested on the crane type they use for work first, because it's more important that they pass that practical.

The examiner is not allowed to tell a candidate what their score is. However, he will show a video before the practical exam(s) that describes how much time is given to pass each task. Most candidates know right away whether they passed a practical or not.

It is possible for a candidate to retest on the same crane after a failed attempt, but a $75 fee is applied.

For example:

  • Bob signs up for both fixed/swing
  • Bob operates a swing-cab crane at work, so...
  • Bob chooses to test on the swing-cab first
  • Bob thinks he failed the swing-cab practical
  • Bob wants to try again
  • Bob can retest on the swing-cab crane but he will be charged $75 (and forfeit his opportunity to test on the fixed-cab crane).

General Policies

1. I lost my card, how can I receive a new certification card?

You may request a replacement card using the NCCCO Certification Card Online Order Form or by contacting NCCCO's Testing Services Department. Please be aware that there is a $25 administrative fee for replacement of Certification Cards.

2. What is your cancellation/rescheduling policy?

Our $295 deposit is non-refundable. If you need to reschedule, please contact our office at 888-967-7277.

3. Can I change what I signed up for after class has started?

No. After the class has started students may not change the package they have selected.

4. Do you share my personal information with third party company?

We do not share your information with any other companies other than NCCCO (the certification company).

5. Can I audit/visit the school for one day?


6. Do you also train for heavy equipment?

No we do not. We only do cranes; that's our specialty

7. I never received my results or my card, who do I contact to get a status regarding my results?

You will need to contact the NCCCO Testing Services Department to report that you have not received your certification card and/or test results (Jaclyn Horrocks: 727-449-8525 ext. 450).