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Do You Need a Driver’s License to Drive a Forklift?

April 25, 2022 | Career Blog

One of the most interesting aspects of working in the warehouse is operating a forklift. Moving a vehicle around to pick up boxes, move goods from one place to another, or maneuver warehouse pallets can be exciting work.

Performing this activity requires specific training to ensure that you have the necessary skills and ability to operate in a safe manner. You want to protect yourself and your co-workers while utilizing a forklift in confined spaces.

This often leads to questions about being licensed to drive a forklift. Specifically, do you need a driver’s license to drive a forklift? Let’s examine this important distinction so that you can pursue a forklift job.

5 Things to Know About Forklift Licenses and Certification

The most important distinction to know is that there is a difference between a typical driver’s license issued by your state to operate a motor vehicle and a license (or certification) to operate a forklift.

1. Can I Operate a Forklift Without A License?

You must have a forklift-specific license or certification to operate a forklift. However, you can operate a forklift without a typical state-issued driver’s license. OSHA does not mandate that forklift operators also have their driver’s license.

Having a driver’s license is certainly helpful, as it proves that you understand how to maneuver a vehicle. For example, you have a basic feel for how to accelerate, brake, and steer using a wheel.

A required forklift-specific license or certification proves that you are trained on this specific type of motorized vehicle. (OSHA uses the label Powered Industrial Trucks.) A prospective employer will want to see that you have this training, or they might provide you with this training upon hiring.

2. What Do You Need For a Forklift License?

To obtain a forklift license or certification, you will need to complete a forklift training course. Your employer might provide this for you as part of your onboarding, or they might expect you to already have this training before hiring.

Regardless, you will need to complete an OSHA-compliant Forklift Training and Certification course in order to operate a forklift. Many vendors offer forklift training – both in-person and online, we recommend in-person training because of the hands-on nature of operating a forklift. However, you can still receive certification through an online option.

3. How Much is Forklift Certification?

Each vendor has its own pricing. Depending on how extensive the training is, you can find an online certification class for as low as $38 up to the $100 price range. Comparatively, in-person training is typically hundreds of dollars to ensure that you have a working knowledge of forklift safety and operation.

Most training courses will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction material
  • OSHA safety requirements
  • Various forklift classes
  • Forklift components and attachments
  • Load balancing and load handling
  • Performing an inspection
  • Operating the forklift

4. How Long Does It Take to Get Forklift Certified?

An online forklift training course is typically one hour in length. If you grasp the material and pass the exam, then you should be able to receive a forklift certification on the same day that you take the course.

Meanwhile, an in-person certification course is typically one day in length. You will learn forklift concepts, review safety guidelines, and operate an actual forklift to become proficient in how to maneuver the vehicle.

5. Forklift Certification and Job Placement

Once you become certified and licensed to operate a forklift, you instantly become marketable to your current employer or a future employer. Your level of marketability will differ depending on how much training you received.

Some employers will want to know whether you received certification through an online course or if you went through a hands-on training environment. So, the more training you have under your belt, the more likely you will be placed in a higher-paying job. Keep that in mind when determining which type of training to pursue.

Find Forklift Jobs Through Allegiance Staffing

Whether you need a forklift license or already have certification to operate a forklift, we can help you find a good job in the warehouse.

As one of the leading staffing agencies in the U.S., we work with top companies to place talent just like you in the right type of job that fits your skills and experience. Right now, you can take a look at our Jobs Board to find jobs in the warehouse.

If you don’t see a forklift job near you, then reach out to our team today. We can help find you a forklift operator job with a high-quality employer near you. We’re here to help!