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What is Crane Operator Certification?
Crane Operator Certification is the process used to evaluate a crane operator's knowledge and skills with crane operations, procedures, safety, and government regulations. The OECP certification process is nationally accredited and Fed OSHA recognized. It consists of written and practical (hands-on) examinations.

What specific crane types do the certifications apply to?
OECP issues certifications to IUOE members for the following crane types:

Boom Truck Crane: A commercial truck mounted crane, consisting of a rotating structure (center post or turntable); a boom operating with positive swing action; and one or more operating stations mounted on a frame attached to a commercial truck chassis. The boom truck crane usually will retain a payload hauling capability. Example cranes are depicted in ASME B30.5-2011; Section 5-0.2.1; Figures 5-0.2.1-1, 5-0.2.1-2, and 5-0.2.1-10.

Lattice Boom Crane: Any crane with a lattice main boom of variable lengths, attachments, configuration, and capacities using hydraulic or friction hoists mounted on a truck carrier (other than described in boom truck) or having crawler treads/tracks for travel that is capable of hoisting, lowering, luffing, and swinging at various radii. Example cranes are depicted in ASME B03.5-2011; Section 5-0.2.1; Figure 5-0.2.1-3.

Overhead Crane: A crane used in construction that has a top-running, single girder or multiple-girder bridge, with one or more top-running trolley hoists used for vertical lifting and lowering of freely suspended, unguided loads, either cab or pendant operated as referenced in §29 CFR 1926.1438. Example cranes are depicted in ASME B30.2-2011; Section 2-0.2; Figures 2-0.2-1 thru 2-0.2-5.

Telescopic Boom Crane: Covers all hydraulic cranes, either large (over 75 tons), medium (22 – 75 tons), small (under 22 tons, other than a boom truck crane) fixed or swing cab, mounted on a truck, crawler, all terrain, or rough terrain carrier equipped with a telescopic variable length boom, and attachments, that is capable of hoisting, lowering, luffing, and swinging at various radii. Example cranes are depicted in ASME B30.5-2011; Section 5-0.2.1; Figures 5-0.2.1-4, 5-0.2.1-7, 5-0.2.1-9, and

Tower Crane: A crane equipped with a vertical mast that supports a superstructure (rotating section)--typically with a jib, counter jib and operator’s station mounted to it--powered by an electric or internal combustion engine that can vary operating radii by means of a traversing trolley, luffing boom, or a combination of the two. The crane may be mounted on a fixed base as freestanding, guy supported, braced or assembled inside a structure. The crane may also be mounted on a traveling base by means of bogies and tracks to allow travel within a jobsite. Example cranes are depicted in ASME B30.3–2009; Section 3-0.2.2; Figures 3- thru 3- This certification is also applicable for those tower cranes commonly referred to as portable, self-erecting.

Who administers this certification program?
A joint labor/management program has been formed for the members of the IUOE to create, implement, and manage a nationally accredited crane operator certification. The program is called the Operating Engineers Certification Program (OECP).

Who administers the written and practical examinations?
An OECP Examiner, Practical Examination Coordinator, and/or Qualified Proctor is responsible for administering the written or practical examinations which is free from conflict of interest, influence, corruption, and favoritism.

Why do I need a certification?
Each IUOE Local Union is different in that the requirement for certification that may arise from one or more sources. For example, many states (e.g., California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, etc.) now require crane operators to be certified from an accredited organization. In other cases, the requirement is stated in the labor agreements the Local Union has signed with their signatory contractors, while in many areas, insurance providers are now requiring their policy holders to certify their operators. Additionally, in 2010, new federal regulations were enacted requiring mandatory crane operator certification in all states commencing November, 2017.

What if my contractor/employer does not recognize my OECP certification?
Inform your employer that your certification is a nationally accredited, Fed/OSHA accepted crane operator certification, and that the OECP is compliance with 29 CFR 1926.1427[b], the federal regulations that cover crane operator certification. You should immediately contact the OECP if this happens.

Can any IUOE member obtain this certification?
Yes. The certification process is ONLY open to members of the IUOE, in good standing, who meet the eligibility requirements as explained in the Crane Operator Candidate Manual. It will require knowledge and skills of crane operations to successfully complete the process.

I have a city license, e.g., a Chicago City Crane License. Do I still need to get the OECP certification?
A city license has absolutely nothing to do with this or any other nationally accredited crane operator certification. A city or state can require any licensing regulation within their jurisdiction.

How can I prepare for the written examination?
Your experience in operating cranes will be your best preparation; however, one of the main goals of this certification is to promote training through IUOE Local Union training sites. Read the Crane Operator Candidate Manual. It contains sample questions and a list of references used in examination development that can help your preparation. Additional resources, information, and instruction are available at your IUOE Local Union’s training site.

Is there a “Grandfathering” process if I have been operating cranes for a certain amount of time?
No. There is no “Grandfathering” process for the initial certification. However, recertification is available to those who meet the eligibility requirements in the Crane Operator Candidate Manual, and who possess a current nationally accredited certification equivalent for the crane type that they are certified for.

How long is this certification valid?
The certification card is valid for five (5) years.

How do I recertify when the card is due to expire?
Information for recertification can be found in appropriate sections of the Crane Operator Candidate Manual. Contact the OECP certification office for an Application for Recertification, or you may obtain more information at

What does recertification entail?
Recertification requires passing the 50 question written examination(s) for the crane type(s) (mobile, overhead, or tower cranes) in which you wish to recertify. Operators with at least 1,000 hours of documented experience (seat time) safely operating the specific type of crane for which recertification is sought--during the immediately preceding certification period--are initially exempt from having to take the practical examination(s) to obtain recertification.

How long does recertification take?
If the practical examination(s) has been waived, recertification should not take more than a few hours of your time (outside of filling out forms, obtaining required documents, etc.). If practical examinations are required, plan on spending at least one full day at the practical examination site.

Note: It is recommended you commence the recertification process at least six (6) months prior to the expiration date on your certification card to ensure your certifications do not expire due to unforeseen delays. Even though the actual process is relatively short, you still have to work around scheduled examination dates and availabilities.

Where will the written examinations and practical examinations be administered?
The OECP administers examinations in all geographical areas covered by the IUOE. The location(s) of the examinations vary and are based on each Local Union's schedule. A candidate who meets the eligibility requirements and registers as indicated in the Crane Operator Candidate Manual may attend a scheduled examination at any scheduled examination venue.

I am currently on the out of work list. How will I be able to find a crane to complete the practical test?
IUOE Local Union training sites, or signatory contractors, will provide the cranes and facilities for the practical examinations.

What will I need when I attend the written examination?
At the examination, you will be provided with everything you need to take the test(s), e.g., test booklets, load charts, pencils, and scratch paper.

What type of crane study/resource information do I need to know to pass the written examinations?
The written examinations cover all aspects of craning operations including current state and federal regulations, jobsite conditions, setup, safety, maintenance, rigging, and crane load chart calculations. See the Written Examinations Outline, Sample Questions, and Written Examination References sections of the Crane Operator Candidate Manual for a more complete list. If you require resource (study) material or information regarding training/refresher classes, please contact your IUOE Local Union’s training site. The OECP does not supply study materials nor conduct training for the certification examinations.

What are the required written examinations?
You must pass the mobile crane written examination to obtain nationally accredited certification in boom truck cranes, lattice boom cranes, and/ or telescopic boom cranes. Overhead crane candidates must pass the overhead crane written examination. Tower crane candidates must pass the tower crane written examination. You must then complete the practical examination (hands-on) for each crane type (boom truck crane, lattice boom crane, telescopic boom crane, overhead crane, and tower crane) in which you wish to become certified.

What does the practical examination entail?
All candidates will be required to perform a series of maneuvers that will test their ability to perform the basic functions of operating a crane. These will include placing a specified test weight onto specified targets, controlling swing and drift, performing multifunction lifts by guiding a load through a pre-set obstacle course, and following hand signals. See the Practical Examinations Outline section of the Crane Operator Candidate Manual for a more complete list.

Can I use a calculator for the examinations?
No. Electronic calculators and other types of personal digital assistant devices that have input/memory ability are not allowed during OECP examinations.

After completing the examinations, can I see and discuss the actual questions that I answered incorrectly?
No. The written examinations are knowledge/skill assessment instruments used to evaluate an operator's existing knowledge. They must be administered securely using standardized procedures. Any discussion of the actual questions would compromise and invalidate the examinations.

Will the written examinations be scored at the time that I take them?
For paper and pencil testing you will typically receive your written examination scores by USPS mail within ten (10) working days after completing the examinations. Examination score results are never given over the phone.

Computer Based testing (CBT) will indicate whether you “Passed” or “Failed” upon completion of that examination. Additionally, you will be sent a letter explaining your test results within ten (10) working days.

Note: Scores can also be electronically e-mailed with the signed permission of the candidate.

If I do not feel that my score was correct, can I request a rescore?
Yes. You must first submit a written request to the OECP Certification Director within 30 days of your examination date. See page 9 (Rescoring Requests) in the Crane Operator Candidate Manual for more information.

What information regarding my participation in the program will the OECP release to employers and others?
The OECP will release information regarding certification status to any employer, government agency, person, or entity that submits a written request or registers electronically with “Ask OECP” on the OECP website. Released information will be limited to the individual’s name, IUOE registration number, and current certification status. No information concerning the written or practical examination scores, results of substance abuse tests, information contained on the medical evaluation form and/or any other personal data will be released without prior written authorization from the individual or the individual’s legal representative.