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Where Do You Begin Getting Forklift Operating Experience?

You’ve been searching for a job, and you’ve noticed lots of ads for forklift operators. That sounds interesting. But, most of the positions require experience. So, how do you learn to drive a forklift?  

Step #1 – Meet the Requirements

  • You must be 18 years old;  
  • You will probably need a high school diploma or GED;  
  • You should be able to lift at least 50 lbs.   

Step #2 – Find an Industry-Related Job

  • Apply for an entry-level position in a warehouse or construction site;  
  • If you are having trouble finding work, call a local staffing agency and ask for help;  
  • Once you are employed, let your supervisor know you are interested in forklift training.    

Step #3 – Get Certified

  • Take the six-hour forklift training course either online or in a classroom;  
  • Receive a passing grade on the written test;  
  • Complete hands-on training with a certified instructor;  
  • Earn a satisfactory rating on your driving evaluation 

Top Dos and Don’ts for Forklift Training

  • DO make sure your program is OSHA certified;  
  • DO train on the type of forklift (counterbalance, order picker) you would like to drive;  
  • DO try to complete training through your employer. Some companies will cover the cost;  
  • DON’T forget to renew your certification every three years;  
  • DON’T sign up for an online-only course! To be OSHA certified, you MUST receive hands-on as well as classroom training.  

Interesting Facts About Forklift Operators

  • Training usually costs $100-$200 (plus supplies) and takes a few days;  
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for industrial truck and tractor operators was $34,750 in 2018. Experience and multiple certifications lead to higher pay;   
  • Forklift drivers also may need to know how to operate cargo handling equipment, how to track inventory using computer software and how to make small engine repairs;   
  • Overnight shifts and extended hours are standard for forklift operators;  
  • A regular driver’s license is NOT required to operate a forklift;  

Would You Like to Become a Forklift Operator, but You Don’t Know Where to Start?

Halpin Staffing Services finds work for warehouse, construction, and light industrial employees. We can help you find a position with a company that is looking for forklift drivers and willing to train. Learn more about working with us today!    

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