Forklift Operator Jobs

Unlocking Potential: Becoming a Forklift Operator

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Forklift Operator Jobs

Forklift operators perform some of the most important duties in a variety of workplaces, such as warehouses and loading docks. A warehouse forklift operator needs to possess certain skills to succeed at the job, such as strong spatial awareness, the ability to operate heavy machinery, and good attention to detail. However, this is not necessarily an exhaustive forklift operator skills list, and it’s very important to undergo the necessary training and certifications before becoming a forklift operator.

The job of a forklift operator is fairly straightforward in most situations. Let’s go over some of the most common responsibilities you might find in a forklift operator job description:

  • Loading and unloading items
  • Transporting items around the facility
  • Checking, maintaining, and organizing inventory according to a system
  • Packaging items and preparing them for shipping
  • Using a pick sheet to pick the correct items from inventory and assemble an order
  • Weighing items and recording measurements
  • Checking incoming items for damage and quality consistency while unloading them
  • Following essential forklift operator safety responsibilities
  • Completing any required ongoing training materials and recertification courses
  • Performing basic maintenance on forklifts or other equipment used
  • Assisting with stock rotation

These are just a few examples of some of the most common duties of forklift operators. Different organizations will have their own tailored set of expectations for forklift drivers that are specifically suited to the organization’s needs and established procedures.

Forklift operator jobs are applicable to many kinds of business, which makes forklift operator qualifications a relatively versatile set of skills. Most forklift operator jobs occur at warehouses, storage facilities, supply yards, construction sites, and similar work sites, often in manufacturing, construction, or logistics industries. However, many companies in a wide variety of industries could potentially need employees who are certified, forklift operators. Any kind of business that frequently moves, loads, or unloads heavy goods and materials of any kind could improve productivity by using forklifts.

When you decide you want to pursue a job as a forklift operator, you’ll need to undertake a bit more preparation than simply Googling “high-paying forklift jobs near me.” Becoming a forklift operator does not require extensive education, but you must possess certain certifications before being hired as a forklift operator. In particular, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all forklift operators in the United States become certified before they begin work, under the authority of the United States Department of Labor. You may be able to find forklift jobs with no experience required, but it will be impossible to find a legitimate forklift job that does not require OSHA-compliant safety training.

The main purpose of requiring that forklift operators be properly certified is to ensure the safety of employees. When forklift operators are adequately trained and certified, it greatly reduces the risk of an accident causing serious injury or death. Forklift operation safety best practices are very important because most forklift operator work environments involve dangerous machinery and the transportation of heavy items simply by nature. Poorly trained employees can create dangerous situations for everyone present, so it’s in the best interests of every business and every prospective forklift operator to prioritize the correct certifications.

The specific type of forklift operator certification you need depends on the exact type of forklift you will be responsible for operating. It’s important to verify with your employer that you know which type of forklift certification you need to receive. There are six typical kinds of forklift certifications that correspond to different classes of forklifts:

  • Class 1 – electric motor rider trucks* that are battery operated and used primarily in warehouses or other indoor facilities.
  • Class 2 – electric motor narrow aisle forklifts* that are very similar to class 1 forklifts but are designed for very narrow spaces and can be used for more specialized tasks.
  • Class 3 – electric motor hand trucks* that are very similar to class 1 forklifts but are operated by hand, not ridden.
  • Class 4 – internal combustion engine forklifts with solid or cushion tires* that consume gasoline and primarily serve outdoor purposes. 
  • Class 5 – internal combustion engine trucks with pneumatic tires that function like class 4 forklifts but are suitable for less even ground.
  • Class 6 – Rough terrain forklifts that have tires like the ones found on tractors and are suitable for very rough terrain.

Forklift Operator Certification

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Forklift Jobs

Forklift drivers may work in a variety of environments and handle a range of situations depending on the specific organization they’re working for. As an example, one of the most typical tasks involved with forklift jobs is loading inventory on and off of shipping pallets and transporting those shipping pallets into, out of, or around a warehouse. In this scenario, the forklift operator would likely be responsible for tasks such as loading items on and off the pallet, securing items on the pallet, operating the forklift to transport items to the correct location, correctly sorting inventory, and more. 

The basic skills required for a forklift operator job are the same or similar across many different forklift driver positions. The forklift certification you earn will teach you the skills you need to operate a forklift at any job (provided you’re operating the same class of forklift that you’ve been certified to use). However, forklift operator jobs also often require specific knowledge of the specific employer’s facilities and procedures. Some employers may provide or require forklift operator training to account for this fact. For example, learning the layout of the particular warehouse you’re working in or the specific safety policies of the organization you’re working for can help you perform your job more productively and safely even if those courses may not be required by OSHA.

What We Bring To The Table

Many kinds of businesses need to hire forklift operators. In some industries, forklift operators are essential to nearly every aspect of an organization’s operations. However, even industries that may not traditionally be associated with forklift operator jobs could still need forklift operators at various points along the supply chain. One of the best ways to connect with companies that are currently searching for certified forklift operators is to use a professional recruiting and staffing firm. Many companies looking to fill roles like forklift operators use this type of service to locate promising candidates. 

One common way for people to find forklift operator jobs is to search for local employers that might be hiring. Simply Googling: “forklift operator jobs near me,” “opening for forklift operator near me,” “machine operator jobs near me,” “forklift jobs near me no experience,” or similar location-based phrases can be a good place to start your search.

Whether you’re looking for temporary work or considering serious career moves, a job placement agency can help you find the best opportunities for work. NCW prioritizes the following principles while working with job seekers:


During NCW’s recruitment process, it’s our goal to ensure job seekers are treated like people, not cogs in a machine. Looking for a new job can be stressful, and we want the candidates we work with to feel confident that we have their best interests in mind. That’s why our recruiters make efforts to build meaningful relationships with candidates.


To further reinforce the idea that we have the best intentions for all our prospective job candidates at NCW, we also seek to maintain complete transparency throughout the whole process. You can trust our recruiters to be totally forthright with vital details like the duration of a job, the expected start date, and salary information. At NCW, we put relationships before resumes.


In keeping with the theme of building trust, NCW also prioritizes communication. We can handle the whole process of matching candidates with job openings and communicating the necessary information to both the candidate and the hiring business. We take careful measures to ensure expectations are communicated clearly to everyone so no one is making decisions with anything less than a full view of the situation. 

Forklift Operator Jobs Near Me

Forklift Operator Salary

The amount of money you can expect to make as a forklift operator depends somewhat on the company you work for. There is quite a range of possible salaries you might be offered. Most estimates of forklift operator salary per hour are in the upper teens or lower twenties. For example, Indeed reports an average forklift operator salary of $17.56 per hour as of November 2022, while Glassdoor reports a typical hourly wage of between $19 and $23 per hour at most companies, or a median $39,639 base pay per year.

The typical forklift operator’s salary in the USA is affected by many different factors, such as the highest level of education the applicant has completed, the types of certifications they hold, the number of years of experience they have as a forklift driver, and the number of relevant skills they possess. Each of these factors (and possibly others) will likely influence the amount of money a forklift operator is able to make. For example, a forklift driver who is already certified and has several years of experience working as a forklift driver may be offered a higher starting salary than a forklift driver who has no prior training or experience. Finding forklift operator jobs with no experience is certainly still possible, but it may not be as easy.

All businesses are required to comply with OSHA regulations, which means you won’t be able to get a job as a forklift operator without first becoming appropriately certified. An OSHA-certified forklift operator salary is the only kind of forklift operator salary because operating a forklift without a certification that satisfies OSHA’s requirements is against the law.

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