Quick Facts About Being A Forklift Operator

September 17, 2013


If you’re considering starting a career as a forklift operator, then you’re probably anxious to get a little more information about this industry. Here are some things that will be informative to you if you are entering this field for the first time, and which will also be a good refresher course for you if you’re a veteran.


What Can I Expect to Earn?


The average wage for an operator is about $15/hour. However, it’s important for you to understand that this is an average. The exact wage will vary, depending on where you live, the specific job you’re taking, and how much experience you have.

Some entry positions may start at about $9.50/hour. After you’ve become an experienced driver, you could earn up to $18-$20/hour, depending on where you live and what you’re doing.


Is It Easy To Drive a Forklift?


The vehicle can easily be operated, but don’t let this answer fool you. There are a lot of things that you need to be aware of in order to safely operate the truck. For instance, you need to be very familiar with the weight capacity of the specific equipment you’ll be using. Otherwise, you risk over-stacking the fork and causing your vehicle to topple over. So, in this sense, there is a lot to learn outside of just how to use it.


What Are the Qualifications?


You need to be at least 18 years or older, and you have to get your forklift certification, as mandated by OSHA. You may also need to get an additional certification, depending on your work site and the kinds of materials you will be transporting.


Where Can I Get a Job?


There are a wide variety of different places where you could end up working. These vehicles are used in retail, warehouses, railway yards, container terminals, construction sites – you name it. You may be working indoors, outdoors, or both. Your job may require that you’re using the truck for 40 hours a week, or it may just be part of your job description, and you’ll spend the majority of your time doing other things. It really just depends on where you end up.


What Else Do I Need To Know?

You should also know that once you get your safety renewed certification, you’ll need to have it renewed every three years. The test itself is not difficult to pass, but it’s important that you take it seriously, and truly learn the best safety practices. This job is considered hazardous, and it’s not hard to see why. Those forks can pack a lot of punch if used improperly. In addition, there is an average of one fatality every three days throughout the nation. So, just remember that although this can be a versatile and exciting career for you, you should take the training process very seriously, and be committed to safety at all times.


Feel free to browse through our site for more information and resources. We have a quiz you can take, a current listing of job opportunities, and we offer an online certification course for just $38.