Ever wondered what it takes to drive a forklift?

Forklift operators work everywhere, from warehouses and factories to big box stores, from construction sites to boat terminals and airports. Driving a forklift is usually an entry-level position that can lead to jobs with higher responsibility and pay.

Unlike a car, you don’t need a license to operate one, but you must be at least 18 years old. You also will need training and a certification from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

What Skills are Helpful to be a Forklift Operator?

A forklift driver is responsible for the safe operation of heavy machinery for their own protection, the protection of their co-workers, and the products they are moving. They need to know how to control and maneuver the machine, how to balance and lift the load and manage ramps and rough terrain.

Other helpful skills include:

  • Patience to load and secure items safely.
  • Awareness of the environment to avoid mishaps.
  • Basic math skills to keep track of inventory and materials.
  • Physical strength to perform heavy manual lifting.
  • Teamwork to help a larger crew complete a job.
  • It also doesn’t hurt to be a little tech-savvy. More industries are using computerized inventory tracking and warehouse management software, making technology an increasingly important part of everyone’s job.

How to Become a Certified Forklift Driver

A web search can find dozens of places offering forklift certification near you or online. Registration cost often is minimal. Companies are required by law to operate under OSHA guidelines, so make sure the certification course is OSHA-approved. Some in-person courses also offer hands-on training for inexperienced drivers.

How to Gain Experience as a Forklift Driver

Getting a forklift driver certification is fairly easy. Getting a job as an operator may be a little harder. That’s because some companies prefer you to have hands-on experience.

The National Forklift Foundation notes that many types of equipment are covered under forklift certification, and the employer is responsible for making sure operators are trained on the different brands and models of forklifts used by that company.

Many companies are willing to train new employees. If the company you want to work for doesn’t offer hands-on training, consider taking another entry-level position. In a few months, after you’ve learned more about company operations, they may be more willing to provide training. In the meantime, earn your certification to show that you are interested and proactive about your career.

Want to Give Your Career a Lift?

Pro Resources Staffing can link you with dozens of companies in Central and Northern Indiana that need forklift operators right now!