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How do I get a Forklift Certification?

By Tess C. Taylor
Updated Feb 27, 2024
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Getting a forklift certification is often a general skill requirement for employees of warehouse, construction or industrial jobs. Getting certified to operate a forklift safely is similar to any other workplace training process – it must follow a certain method of education and testing. There are many ways to obtain forklift operator certification, either on your own or through your current employer.

Most companies who own and operate forklifts are required by local safety organizations to make sure all employees who will be driving a forklift be trained and certified. One such organization that requires forklift operators to be certified in the United States is called OSHA, or the Occupational Safety Health Administration. Failure to correctly train all forklift operators can result in stiff fines and penalties to employers.

If you work for a company that requires the use of forklifts, then you will most likely be put through a forklift training certification program taught by an on-site manager. The topics that will be taught may include a general understanding of the components of the forklift, the proper use of a forklift and safety tips. During the training, your comprehension of the training will be assessed and a performance test will be administered, at which point you will be awarded with a certification card.

In other cases, if you want to become certified as a forklift driver, you may be required to take a course at held at an industrial equipment or forklift certification training school. The course will consist of in-depth training on different types of forklifts, safety techniques and a written and driving test. Once the test is successfully completed, you will be presented with a forklift certification card.

Once the forklift certification is obtained, it is generally valid for two or three years, much like a license to drive. The forklift certification designation is portable, meaning it can be used for any work you perform on a forklift at any employer worksite. Depending on the type of work you do, this is considered a plus when searching for a forklift operator job.

Getting a forklift certification is an important requirement for many industrial type jobs. Failure to obtain forklift training and an operator certification can cause serious injury to you, other employees and the company property. Before operating a forklift, be sure to ask your immediate supervisor about getting certified as a forklift operator to avoid any costly mistakes.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By BigBloom — On Jul 27, 2010

@dbuckley212 - Operating large machinery such as this always carries great risk. It is necessary to regularly recharge the battery or fill the gas before every operation in order to ensure that the machine does not stall out in a dangerous position.

By dbuckley212 — On Jul 27, 2010

I work at large industrial bakery, and it is necessary to have multiple forklift operators for moving ingredients on and off of massive shelves. These forklift operators are always extremely cautious, since any small mistake in the movement of tons of corn could mean life and death for nearby pedestrians or for the operators themselves.

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