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How to Get a Job as a Forklift Driver

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Some people would have you believe that there is no future for people who want to work as machine or forklift operators. That's definitely not the case, though.

The availability of machine operator jobs in the United States is expected to increase over the next few years. If you start working toward your certification now, you'll be well on your way to landing a stable job.

If you're interested in becoming a forklift driver, keeping reading to learn all the steps you need to take to be successful in your new career.

What Does a Forklift Driver Do?

Before you decide that you want to drive a forklift for a living, it's important to understand what the job entails.

As a driver, you will most likely work in a warehouse or on a construction site. Your job will be to use a forklift to move heavy objects. You may also have to perform other tasks like recording shipment notes and tracking inventory.

Because you're working with heavy objects and machinery, there are some hazards that come with driving a forklift, although there are plenty of safety guidelines in place to prevent workplace injuries. It's also fairly common for drivers to work overnight or extended hours.

On average, drivers earn approximately $33,000 annually.

Career Requirements

In order to work as a forklift driver, you will need to receive some postsecondary training and obtain a special certification.

This training will teach you the skills you need to use a forklift, forklift accessories, and other machines. You'll also learn more about the safety requirements you'll need to abide.

Becoming a Certified Forklift Driver

If you're ready to take the plunge and become a certified driver, you'll need to follow these steps:

1. Complete Your Online Training and Forklift Test

The first part of your certification takes place online, so it's easy to complete on your own time. The course lasts for one week and concludes with a brief test. You are free to look up and correct answers during the test if you make mistakes.

This course costs between $60 and $80.

2. Receive Hands-on Training

Once you pass the online test, you'll need to go through some practical, hands-on training.

This portion must be completed in person.

During the training, you will receive live demonstrations on how to use the forklift. You'll also get to practice with a trainer's supervision.

3. Pass Your Evaluation

Following your hands-on training, you'll be evaluated by a trainer.

If you prove that you can successfully operate a forklift on your own, you will be considered a certified forklift driver!

You'll also have your training evaluated every three years.

Bonus Steps

Once you've gotten certified, you can take these other steps to make yourself more marketable.

Work on Your Physical Strength

As a forklift driver, you'll regularly be required to lift and pull around 50 pounds of weight.

Keeping up your physical strength and stamina is essential, especially for times when you need to work long hours.

Develop Strong Communication Skills

An ability to communicate with others, both verbally and in writing, will help you stand out as you're applying for jobs. Any kind of communications or customer service experience will be beneficial, but you can also study these subjects on your own at home.

How to Find a Job as a Forklift Driver

It can be frustrating to submit application after application after you've finished your certification course. To help expedite the process and find a job sooner, make sure you're also keeping these tips in mind.


The old adage, "it's not what you know that matters, but who you know," isn't totally wrong.

In fact, up to 85 percent of all job openings are filled through networking!

This means, if you want to get hired as a forklift driver, your best option is to find ways to connect with people already working in the industry.

Is there anyone you went to school with who works in a warehouse or in construction? If so, try reaching out to them to see if they can put in a good word for you or know of any places that are hiring.

Start as a Part-time Employee

You may also want to consider starting work as a part-time employee in a warehouse or on a construction site.

You won't earn as much, but it can be a good way to get your foot in the door. Many bosses would rather promote a part-time employee to a full-time position than hire a brand new employee.

This will also help you get on-the-job experience. Even if you don't continue to work with one particular business, you'll at least be more hireable when you start applying to new companies.

Contact HR Departments Directly

If you're interested in working for a particular business, don't be afraid to contact their HR department directly and ask about vacancies.

Call or email to find out if they're hiring. Even if they're not right when you're looking, you may be able to send an application in any way. Then, you'll be at the top of their list when they are looking for forklift drivers.

Work with a Recruiting Agency

A recruiting agency is a great option for finding a job, especially if you don't know anyone in the industry. Some of the main benefits a recruiter can provide include:

  • Increase your chances of getting a callback
  • Help with handling nerves before a job interview
  • Immediate feedback on how interviews went
  • Access to unpublished openings

This last benefit is one of the best that comes with working with a recruiter. Lots of job openings aren't even listed on traditional job boards. If you really want to get hired, a recruiter will help make that happen.

Need Help Landing a Job?

Now that you know how to become a forklift driver, it's time to start pursuing your certification.

If you need a little extra help landing a job as a driver after your certification is complete, feel free to contact us at SCOPE Recruiting.

Whether you want to craft the perfect resume or are having trouble making contact with potential employers, we're here to help.

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