Becoming a forklift operator is both lucrative and rewarding; the occupation allows those who pursue it to make a real contribution at the work place, so there are many reasons why someone would want to become such an operator.
Before actually making the leap, it’s common for forklift aspirants to call various facilities and training program distributors in order to get more details like – how long does it take for me to become forklift certified? Are there any costs associated with the process? What exactly does the job entail?
Job Description Summary
As a forklift operator, you’ll be responsible for moving heavy materials from one place to another. More than likely, this will take place in venues such as construction sites, warehouses, and storage facilities. You’ll be exposed to potentially extreme environments and varying shift hours. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, becoming such an operator is considered a hazardous occupation.
Can You Make Good Money as a Forklift Driver?
Driver salaries are based on supply and demand, and according to data, the need for forklift operators continues to climb mainly because of the advent of ecommerce and distribution centers becoming more valuable across supply chains. Operator salaries fall in the range between 30k and almost 50k. On an hourly basis, that translates to $12 an hour for less experienced drivers, and $18 on the high end. Of course, the where you fall will depend on your location, the type of company offering the job, and the market demand in the area.
Activity Per Hour of Training
If you read over a forklift certification training synopsis, you’ll probably see the following points of emphasis:
- ‘X’ amount of classroom theory
- ‘X’ amount of hands-on training
- Fail Protection Training
- Vehicle Variety Training
- Aerial Work Platform Training
- Clamp Attachment Training
- WHMIS Certification
At this stage, it’s up to the aspiring operator to compare and contrast schools to see how they can get the best bang for their buck. Naturally, you want to join a program that’s as comprehensive as possible, covering different aspects of forklift operation so you don’t hit the metaphorical glass ceiling in the workplace. Keep in mind that reoccurring training protocols will be in place. Governmental rules and regulations dictate that an employer must keep employees, particularly those at the wheel of power equipment, up to date on the latest safety and operational standards.
Becoming certified online is another option, but it’s probably not the best because it’s more theoretical than practical. Although the method is preferable for those with limited schedules and an inability to travel to meet trainers face-to-face, in-person training is the more effective choice of the two. Aside from time in an actual classroom, subjects will be exposed to immediate testing and instructor evaluation. This is extremely valuable for on-the-job expertise, and it can get your foot in the door as far as job applications.
What Do I Need to Get Started as a Forklift Operator?
Education requirements take precedent as you must be 18 years or older and have at least a high-school diploma or GED equivalency when starting out. Working around hazardous chemicals may necessitate the need for additional certifications in addition to the forklift operator credential.
Before diving into what to expect from the interview process, it’s important to remember that classroom training and even hands-on experience aren’t enough to warrant calling one an expert. Pay close attention to safety training provided by parties like OSHA. Becoming a forklift driver come with great responsibility. Strict adherence and attention to detail on top of extensive behind-the-wheel hours are what make one a competent vehicle specialist.
Forklift Certification List
Here’s is a summary of the steps that need to be taken to secure certification:
- Figure out what type of forklift you want to operate
- Enroll in the appropriate certification course
- Attend the classroom lecture series
- Take and pass a written examination
- Gets hands-on training
- Pass the previous stage by way of evaluation
The Job Interview
The interview has two parts: the first part involves having a face-to-face meeting with a recruiter to go over your qualifications and career desires. The second part is where you’ll get the chance to showcase your skills in real time. This may include moving skids from one place to another, being tested about the controls, or maneuvering through narrow corridors to check your aptitude for awareness.
It’s safe to say that this interview process is quite different from other occupations. Once passed, it can feel like you overcame the trials of Hercules. The trick is to impress supervising managers with competence, attention, and motivation as opposed to credentials and words.
Overall Cost of Training
Cost shouldn’t stop you from chasing your dreams, but you should be aware that most forklift training programs have associated costs. The typical program will run somewhere between $100-$200, which is a small investment compared to the rewards on the other side.