Being a crane operator is one of the trades that get better pay. It only requires weeks of training to become one. That’s why more and more trade people are going into this profession.
If you are in WV or just planning to go to this state to work as a crane operator, keep in mind that West Virginia is one of the states that require crane operators to be licensed and prior to licensing by the state, you should have a CCO certification.
A law is enacted back in September 2001, after the date that said date, no operators shall work in WV without proper certification, otherwise, the worker himself and even his employer could get penalized.
If you are one of the individuals who want to get licensed so that you can legally work in this state, we have this article prepared for you. Read on.
How to Become a Crane Operator
- Decide if this profession is the one you want to pursue – before choosing a career it is important to know what interests you. If you choose a job that isn’t aligned with your interest it would be hard to produce a good result. If you like to work with cranes or other heavy equipment and outdoors in any weather conditions possible, then there’s a good chance this job is right for you.
- Attend the crane training course specific to the type of equipment you intend to operate – You can enroll in a class offered by a crane training school, see list of schools below. The school offers a training program designed to help in attaining a level of certification. The curriculum is also designed to help out you pass the NCCCO written test which is required in the application of WV state-issued crane operator license.
- Take the NCCCO written test – In order to become CCO certified, you need to pass the NCCCO written exam. To accomplish this, the school where you intend to take the training from will assist you on this. Even the most seasoned crane operators will have a better chance of passing the written test through the course being offered by a training school. The written examination consists of a core examination, in addition to the four Crane Specialty examinations. You are required to take the Core examination regardless of the Specialty (lattice boom crawler crane, lattice boom truck crane, large telescopic boom crane with swing cab and small telescopic boom crane with fixed car) in which you want to be certified.
- Take the NCCCO Practical Examination – you can take this practical exam before the written test if you want to. It doesn’t matter which one you want to take first. If you do not take the practical exam within 12 months after passing the written test, you must retake and pass the written test. The curriculum of the training school, where you are planning to take the training, should include a preparatory class in assisting you to pass this practice exam.
- Apply for West Virginia State crane operator certification – to legally work in this state, you need to apply for state-issued license/certification. The requirements you need to have are your CCO certification (copy of written test and practical exam results), a copy of your NCCCO certification operator card, a recent physical exam, and the corresponding application fee of $75 (check or MO), and the application form which you can download from here. There are two certification classes you can apply for, it is either Class A or Class B. To know the difference, see below specific guidelines.
- Submit those certification requirements to the West Virginia Division of Labor - after you’ve submitted the necessary requirements. You can fax the requirements to this number (304) 558-5174. Your operator card will be printed and will be mailed to you 10 days after submission.
Crane Operator Schools in West Virginia
If you are looking for a school where you can take the crane training from, there are just a few of them in West Virginia, here they are:
- Crane Edge, LLC.
2115 US Route 60 East, Milton, WV 25541
Ph: (304) 390-5730; Fax: (304) 390-5732, Alt: AFTER HRS (304) 562-2249
Offers program in compliance with the NCCCO certification; training can be conducted at the client’s site or at their facility
- All Purpose Crane Training
Phone: (888) 501-1355; Email:
Trainers are certified operators on many types of cranes; training can be done at the client’s premise or at theirs
- Crane Institute of America
Call us at 800-832-2726 or
They provide mobile crane certification; the areas they service include WV and surrounding states
- Crane 1
11301 B. MacCorkle Ave., Charleston, WV 25315
Tel: 304.949.1201; Fax: 304.949.1205
Training covers workplace-specific matters, types of cranes being operated on the workplace and loads being handled, and operators' job responsibilities; training is in compliance with the new requirements of ANSI B30.2-2016; section 2-3.1.
- Swope Construction Company
1325 Bluefield Ave., Bluefield, WV 24701
304.325.8146 (Office); 304.327.9444 (Fax); Email:
Crane training course is available year-round; available courses are refresher class, 40-hour preparatory course for NCCCO test
- International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 132
Apprenticeship Training School, 3377 Medina Rd, Ravenswood, WV 26164-5264
Telephone: (304) 343-7731; Toll Free: 1-888-440-9899; Facsimile: (304) 342-8286
Some Specific Guidelines on Crane Certification by WV State
- To work in this state, you still need to get hold of CCO operator certification; this is now a legal requirement after the bill has been enacted.
- West Virginia ruled that only accreditation of a certification body by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) can be accepted, NCCCO is accredited by ANSI.
- Following the passage of the bill, the significant change is the lowering of the maximum rated capacity. If you are a crane operator working in construction and operating a crane with a maximum rated capacity of two thousand (2,000) pounds, you are now required to have a state-issued license. Click here to know how to apply.
- The exemptions from licensing are: you may not be required to obtain certification if you are a member of the Department of Defense or Armed Forces of the United States or an employee of the United States, who is engaged in such work for that government unit; if you will work in the agricultural sector; if you will operate a crane in an emergency situation; if you are taking the training under the supervision of a trainer or if you are an apprentice taking such program; for more info, see this page.
- There are two certifications/licenses you can apply for. Class A certification is for operators who have achieved a passing score of 70 on the NCCCO written exam and are governed by the OSHA 29 C.F.R §1926.1400, Subpart CC; while Class B certification is when operators have achieved lesser score but not less than 60 are not governed by the said OSHA provision.
- You must carry proof of certification by the state at all times when operating a crane.
- In a circumstance when your license or certification has been revoked by the state, you can reapply a year after the date of revocation.
- An individual, who is required to have certification and operates a crane without proper license/certification, may be penalized to pay not less than $50 nor more than $500 for each cited violation if found guilty of a misdemeanor.
- The employer who knowingly employs crane operators without proper certification may be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each cited violation if found guilty of a misdemeanor.
Crane Licensing Requirement That You Need to Have/Be
- You must be at least 18 years old or above
- You must obtain a CCO certification
- You must pass the written exam and hands-on demonstration test
- You have a physician’s certificate (original or photocopied) attesting to the fact physically able to drive a commercial motor vehicle
- Payment for the license application fee, $75 check, or money order
How to Apply to Be a Crane Operator Apprentice
If you want to be a crane operator apprentice, the IUOE local 132 in Charleston, West Virginia offers such a program. Taking the apprenticeship program is a great way to acquire practical experience in the operation of cranes. Some say it is an opportunity to learn the trade while earning a living.
You will be paid to do OJT work which you could be assigned anywhere in the state, hence you must be able to travel and willing to work throughout the state.
The length of an apprenticeship program is three (3) years. The apprenticeship program is comprised of 3,000 hours of practical work. You need to complete 1,000 hours of work each year to be able to advance to the next year.
If you want to take this route, the requirements you need to be/have:
- Applicant must be 18 years old
- Must have high school diploma or GED certification
- Transcripts of school record
- Must be physically fit to perform the job
- The applicant must pass a test given by the WV Employment Security Office
- Must have a permanent residency state status or be a resident of West Virginia at least 1 year prior to submitting the application
- Must have a state-issued driver’s license
- Copy of birth certificate
- Must pass a substance abuse test
If you have interest in becoming an apprentice, you may contact Allen M. Nelson of IUOE Local 132 at 1-304-273-4852 (phone) or 1-800-376-4852 (toll).
The apprenticeship vacancy typically happens every two or three years, so better to contact them first to check for apprentice openings.
Salary of Crane Operators in West Virginia
All comes down to this - the salary you could make as a crane operator working in West Virginia. In this state, the average salary of a Crane/Tower Operator is $43,561 according to the latest October 29, 2021 report of Salary.com. The annual salary is between $35,031 and $53,108 depending on some factors.
The factors that affect the salary are the city/town where you will work, the length of experience you have as a crane operator, the certification you obtained doing this profession, and additional relevant skills you can bring to the job.
Contacting the Relevant Authorities
West Virginia Division of Labor
State Capitol Complex - Building 6, Room B-749 Charleston, WV 25305
Telephone: (304) 558-7890 Facsimile: (304) 558-5174
WV DOL Licensing
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, State Capitol Complex - Building 3, Room 200
Charleston, WV 25305
Email Address -
National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO)
2750 Prosperity Avenue, Suite 505, Fairfax, VA 22031 U.S.A.
Phone: 703-560-2391; 703-560-2392 (fax); Phone #: (727) 449-8525
To Make a Conclusion
Being a crane operator is a rewarding career. Aside from the good pay, you can receive, you can also expect a good outlook. According to US BLS, there will be an 8% average growth for the year 2014 to 2024. You can be employed in construction, the sector badly in need of talents like you.
It only takes several weeks to take the training to become a crane operator. Though West Virginia has a separate licensing requirements, you can easily attain this and legally work in this state.
Towns and Cities of WV
Keyser, New Martinsville, Charles Town, Richwood, McMechen, Belington, Harrisville, St. Marys, Romney, Star City, Stonewood, Logan, Ronceverte, Shepherdstown, Montgomery, Nutter Fort, Salem, New Haven, Mullens, Chesapeake, West Liberty, Glenville, Glen Dale, Eleanor, Rainelle, Marmet, Parsons, Terra Alta, Ceredo, Benwood, Mount Hope, Wayne,Grafton, Ranson, Point Pleasant, Weston, Westover, Barboursville, Ravenswood, Lewisburg, Summersville, Ripley, Kenova, Charleston, Fairmont, Beckley, Martinsburg, Clarksburg, South Charleston, St. Albans, Vienna, Bluefield, Moundsville, Bridgeport, Dunbar, Oak Hill, Nitro, Elkins, Princeton, Hurricane, Buckhannon, Williamson, Pleasant Valley, Madison, Moorefield, Bethlehem, Petersburg, White Sulphur Springs, Milton, Welch, Spencer, Winfield, Shinnston, Mannington, Huntington, Parkersburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Weirton, Mabscott, Ansted, Sistersville, Oceana, Sophia, Barrackville, Belle, Chapmanville, Buffalo, Clendenin, Alderson, Pennsboro, Hamlin, New Cumberland