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Crane at Work

CIC Mobile Crane Exam Prep

CIC does not endorse any training process or company, nor do we provide a course of study that leads to certification. We do recommend that candidates attend a quality training program that will help them acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for crane operators to earn CIC certification. The information on this page may be helpful as candidates prepare for mobile crane operator certification exams.

Exams are scored on a simple percentage passing of all questions. The breakdown of domains is as follows:

General Knowledge Exam

  • Site Evaluation and Crane Setup: 25%

  • Technical Information: 25%

  • Load Charts: 25%

  • Crane Operation: 25%

Practical Exam

  • Challenge One: Accuracy & Depth Perception: 30%

  • Challenge Two: Hand Signals: 16%

  • Challenge Three: Ability to Control Load: 50%

  • Challenge Four: Securing the Crane: 4%

Supplemental Exam

  • Site Evaluation and Crane Setup: 5%

  • Technical Information: 15%

  • Load Charts: 40%

  • Crane Operation: 25%

The exam outline is also available as a printable PDF: CIC Mobile Crane Operator Exam Outline

Note that while exams are divided into domains, the exams are scored as a whole from start to finish. Future item development efforts with respect to the examinations could result in slight variations in these percentages.


The General Knowledge Exam is 50 questions and lasts 90 minutes. It includes information that applies to all/most crane types; the Type & Capacity Supplement(s) will only contain information about that particular crane type and have 30 to 50 questions and a time limit of 60 to 90 minutes depending on the supplement.

Site Evaluation and Crane Setup

  • Roles and responsibilities of all persons involved with the lift

  • Factors that impact the lift such as tail swing, load path, and clearances

  • Impact of various weather conditions

  • How to deal with unstable ground and setup on soft surfaces

  • Hazards such as overhead obstructions, power lines, and underground utilities

  • ASME standards and OSHA regulations

  • Requirements of crane setup such as radius, clearances, crane dimensions, and load dimensions

  • Crane setup procedures such as use of outriggers, lifting on rubber, and leveling the crane

  • Site requirements for blocking

Technical Information
  • Crane inspection procedures

  • Crane components including

    • Engine, air, electrical and hydraulic systems

    • Chassis and running gear components

    • Outriggers and counterweights

    • Boom components

    • Hoisting systems

    • Operating controls

    • Operational aids

  • Basic load rigging procedures

  • Knowledge of sling and hardware capacity

  • Impact of deformities in slings and hardware

Load Charts
  • Using and interpreting capacity charts

  • Arithmetic skills without the use of calculators

  • Determining lifting capacity, including

    • Configuration of crane mounting

    • Areas of operation for different types of mobile cranes

    • Boom length and boom angle

    • Load radius

    • Gross capacity and net capacity

    • Capacity deductions

    • Parts of line

  • Conditions that reduce capacities, including

    • Crane not to specification

    • Crane condition

    • Crane level

    • Wind

    • Side loading

    • Increase in load radius

    • Dynamic loading

    • Shock loading

    • Eccentric reeving

    • Duty cycle operations

Click here to view load charts

Crane Operation
  • How to enter and exit the cab of the crane safely

  • Procedures for setup and usage of operational aids

  • Hand signals or voice signals used to direct crane operator

  • Handling loads out of operator’s sight (operating in the blind)

  • How to handle loads submerged in water

  • How to move loads from an elevated position

  • Duty cycle considerations (e.g., steel erection, concrete bucket operations)

  • Traveling the crane

  • Heavy lift operations, procedures, and types of heavy lift attachments

  • Attachments for luffing jibs

  • Hoisting procedures and personnel hoisting equipment

  • Procedures for securing the crane under standard or emergency conditions

Additional resources candidates may find helpful:

Books and Manuals

Mobile Cranes, by James Headley (Crane Institute of America Publishing & Products, LLC)
Rigging, by James Headley (Cranes Institute of America Publishing & Products, LLC)
Mobile Crane Manual (Infrastructure Health & Safety Association)
Hoisting and Rigging Safety Manual (Infrastructure Health & Safety Association)
IT Crane and Rigging, by Ronald Garby (IPT Publishing and Training, Ltd)

Regulations and Standards

B30.5 – MOBILE AND LOCOMOTIVE CRANES. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
B30.9 – SLINGS. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
B30.10 – HOOKS. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
B30.23 – PERSONNEL LIFTING SYSTEMS. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
B30.26 – RIGGING HARDWARE. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
PART 1926 SUBPART CC – CRANES AND DERRICKS IN CONSTRUCTION. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). U.S. Department of Labor
PART 1910.180 – CRAWLER LOCOMOTIVE AND TRUCK CRANES. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). U.S. Department of Labor

Resource Contacts

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
800-843-2763 (US/Canada)
001-800-843-2763 (Mexico)
973-882-1167 (outside North America)

Crane Institute of America Publishing & Products, LLC

Infrastructure Health & Safety Association

IPT Publishing and Training, Ltd.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration
800-321-OSHA (6742)

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