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How to Become a Licensed Crane Operator in California

Heavy machinery smoothens and eases many of the construction tasks. However, the operator is required to have complete training and a license to work in construction and general industries in California. Being licensed adds weight to your resume and enhances the safety of operators and other people present on the site. In 2007, OSHA, California introduced new regulatory laws for crane operators’ licensing. Gaining knowledge about licensing regulations is imperative to operating a crane service in California.

Here is everything you need to know about becoming a licensed crane operator in California


  1. The tests must be given to accredited crane operators testing organizations like the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) or Crane Institute Certification (CIC).
  2. You may be exempted from certification law if the crane capacity you operate is 2000 lbs or less. However, training is recommended.
  3. The certification is valid only for 5 years. The operator should apply for a retest 12 months before the expiration date of their current license.

Eligibility Criteria-

  1. You must be 18 years of age minimum.
  2. You must have a current DOT physical examination card. If not, you will need to have a physical examination performed.
  3. You must comply with NCCCO’s substance abuse policies.
  4. You must be able to read English upto eighth grade to understand the operator’s manual and loading charts.
  5. You must be able to do essential mathematics operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You must also know times tables upto 9. A calculator is not allowed during the written exam.
  6. You must pass both the practical and the written exam.


  • License: The license for crane operation can be obtained from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Application: You need to submit an application to the Cranes Unit with the following details-
    • The locations where the applicant wishes to operate a crane
    • Statement of type of work the applicant wishes to perform
    • A resume of the applicant specifying their details like full name, mailing address, contact number, relevant certifications and licenses the applicant holds, complete educational history, complete employment history with employers’ details, and three personal and three business references.
    • Periodic and annual inspections are documented as per T8CCR5031 ( c)(4).
  • Fees: The application should be complete with appropriate fees-
    • Application fee: $250
    • Test fees: $190 each for general knowledge, bridge and gantry crane, mobile crane test, and tower crane test.
    • License renewal: $75
    • Credentials transfer fee: $50
    • Replacement or lost credentials fee: $20
  • Processing: The Crane Unit will notify the applicant within 30 business days about the approval, denial, or deficiencies of the application.
    • In case of approval: The Crane Unit will notify the applicant about the approval and give details about the written exam.
    • In case of denial: The applicant will be notified of denial with reasons.
  • Examinations: You will give a written and a practical exam according to the type of industry you wish to work in. If you clear the examination, you will get the license within 60 days. In case of failure, you will be notified of a retest.

About Skyline Crane Rental

Skyline Crane Rental provides custom crane rental solutions for construction sites, movie shoots, and theme park attractions. Call us today at (818) 400-2783 or reach us through our website https://skylinecranere.wpengine.com/service/ for more details.

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