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How to Become a Forklift Operator (And Start a Great Career!)

May 18, 2021 | Career Blog

A forklift operator is generally responsible for moving large items around warehouses, factories, construction sites, and storage yards. Though it’s a great opportunity for people with little job experience, it does require some training and certification so you can safely operate the forklift.

Once you complete the pre-qualifications, you’ll be all set to apply for open forklift operator positions near you! Here are the main things you need to help you land a job as a forklift operator, which could quite possibly be the start of a great career.

Forklift Job Qualifications

If you’re new to the manufacturing industry and have never operated a forklift before, that’s okay. Anyone can get the certification, and with the right skills and OSHA training, you’ll be able to dive in and start applying for jobs immediately.


Aside from the certification, employers will be looking at the skills you include on your resume to determine whether or not you’re a good fit for the role. The main skills that hiring managers will be looking for in forklift operator candidates are:

  • Ability to quickly learn new equipment and machinery
  • Knowledge in automated and computerized processes
  • Safety awareness and reliability
  • Math skills up to at least an 8th-grade level

OSHA Training & Getting Certified

Definite requirements for forklift operator positions are being 18 years of age or older, having a high school diploma, and receiving OSHA-approved training and certification.

To do so:

  • Check online for a list of OSHA training websites and services.
  • Complete the training and short test online.
  • Pass an evaluation by a forklift trainer to receive your certification.
  • Undergo evaluation every three years to remain certified and ensure your training is up to date.

Job Duties

To be successful at any position, you not only have to convince your boss you’re the right fit, but you also need to believe in yourself. Make sure you read the job description thoroughly before committing to the position so you can feel good about the path that you’re on.

A forklift operator’s typical job duties are:

  • Load and unload materials using the forklift.
  • Identify and report damages to the machinery or materials.
  • Determine repair needs.
  • Report any shortages or quality deficiencies to the manager.
  • Track and log work activity.
  • Remain in compliance with all company policies and guidelines.
  • Do your part to maintain a safe and productive environment.

Getting the Job

Having your certification is just the first step, actually applying to jobs is a whole other ballgame. What to include in your application and resume, how you interview, and where you apply will determine how likely you are to get the job. It’s also important that you know for yourself why exactly you want this job and where you see yourself going with it.

Why Become A Forklift Operator?

What’s the appeal of working as a forklift operator? Quite a few things, actually! You may be drawn to this type of work because you know you’ll be good at it, but there are more things than that make it worthwhile, for example:

  • You don’t need a college degree to get a forklift job and enjoy a nice salary.
  • Many sectors of the industry rely on forklifts for daily operations, so there are always jobs available.
  • Your forklift certification is valid nationally, so you can get a job with it anywhere in the country.
  • It’s hard to get bored, as you’re often changing locations and project types.
  • The skills you acquire on the job can be used in many ways, providing you with opportunities to continue to grow in your career.

How to Become A Forklift Operator

  • Get training and certification.
  • Receive and print out your forklift operator card.
  • Explore opportunities to shadow, intern, or train with a local company to get some experience under your belt (not required but certainly helpful).
  • Update your resume to include the skills you possess that make you a good fit for a forklift job.
  • Search “forklift jobs near me” for appealing openings in your area.
  • Partner up with a staffing agency that specializes in the warehouse & manufacturing industry.

Staffing Agencies Can Help You Start Your Career

If you are certain that the manufacturing industry is the right path for you, Allegiance Staffing can help you find work! Since employees don’t have to pay a cent to receive a staffing agency’s help, starting your job-finding efforts here is the ideal way to go.

As a staffing agency that specializing in warehouse jobs, we will help you begin your career by:

  • Assessing your skills, experience, and potential
  • Evaluating and assisting with compiling your resume
  • Providing you with interview coaching and industry-specific information
  • Continuing to provide you with new job opportunities in your field

Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you become a forklift operator!