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Crane Operators – Certification and License – Whats The Difference?

There are many states that require the certification of crane operators before they can commence work. Most states also require crane operators, particularly mobile crane operators, to have a license. The question is, what is the difference between them and do I need both?

One of the easiest ways to describe this difference is by looking at the terminology. A certificate, or certification identifies a skill level. If you are certified to operate a crane then the implication is that you have a minimum set of crane operation skills.

A license on the other hand is really just a granting of permission to do something. For example, you could have a firearms license. This does not mean you are skilled in the use, it just means you are permitted to own one. The same can be said for a crane operators license. This gives you permission to drive on the road for example, but does not indicate any specific skills in the operation.

Don’t get me wrong here. You will still have to sit a test, both written and practical, before being granted a license to drive a crane. This test however is related more to driving than to actually operating the crane.

Do you need both? This depends on what state you are operating in. Most states require a special license to drive the crane on the road, even if is just a CDL. Many states also require certification before you operate the crane. It is possible to have one person drive a crane to a location and for a second person to actually operate the crane. This is rather counterproductive and costly so almost all employers would prefer someone who was capable, licensed and certified to both tasks.

At ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Schools we can provide all the training necessary to pass both the written and practical assessments to become a certified crane operator. In fact, we are ourselves are certified to conduct those assessments once you have completed your training. If you require a CDL to drive a crane on the open roads, we can also provide that training as well. That’s the complete package that would ensure you were capable, licensed and certified as a mobile crane operator.

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