How Much Money Does a Forklift Operator Make?

Finding and applying for a new job can feel overwhelming and at times challenging. Entry-level jobs tend to be lower paying due to less specialization and experience. That’s why it can be beneficial to pursue more niche opportunities within a specific industry where there tends to be higher salaries.

One area of specialization that sees an increase in base salary relative to entry-level roles is as a forklift operator. Relative to other warehouse worker positions, forklift operator roles tend to be higher paid. Learn more about what a forklift operator job description looks like and the difference in salary not only compared to other jobs, but across the country.

What Does a Forklift Operator Do?

As a forklift operator, one of the main parts of the job is the safe and secure use of the forklift machinery. This can be used in a variety of situations depending on the industry and type of company an operator works for, but will include being able to pack, secure, navigate, drive and maintain a forklift. Other common responsibilities included in forklift operator roles are:

  • Stacking and managing pallets
  • Moving goods around a warehouse or other location
  • Ensuring a clean workplace to prevent potential injuries or accidents
  • Checking and maintaining the forklift machinery
  • Providing status reports on product updates
  • Training new forklift operators
  • Monitoring goods and reporting any damages
  • Attending company meetings

How Much Does a Forklift Operator Earn?

Additional training and specialization is almost always going to increase your value and salary potential. This is no different when it comes to a forklift certification. Forklift operator salaries average $36,823 per year compared to $31,024 for normal warehouse worker positions or $33,486 for material handlers.

Not only that, but Indeed currently shows 21,689 forklift operator job openings compared to just 13,902 warehouse worker openings available. That means that not only are forklift operator jobs better paid, but there are also quite a few openings. Some of the cities with higher than average forklift operator salaries are:

  • Phoenix, AZ – $40,639
  • Atlanta, GA – $40,424
  • Dallas, TX – $38,641

Find out how your city compares to the national average forklift operator salary.

How to Get Your Forklift Certification Before Applying to Jobs

Being proactive and completing your forklift certification before applying to jobs will not only result in a higher salary, but it also has a number of other benefits, too. Fortunately, there are a variety of forklift training options available to you. Most classes are both online and in-person, but there are also entirely in-person options available.

In-person classes tend to cost between $150-$200, while online classes like Liftoff Certifications cost as low as $59. The hybrid online and in-person model tends to work best for most operators’ schedules. This allows them to complete the coursework online when it’s convenient for them, and then complete the hands-on portion of the course on the machines they’ll be working on with either their current or future employer.

Get Started Earning More Money as a Forklift Operator Today

At Liftoff Certifications, we understand that additional training and education can play a huge role in a job seeker’s salary potential and effectiveness on the job. That’s why we want to make it as easy as possible for operators to register and complete their OSHA-approved training with us. Our 4.98 star rating is a testament to the satisfaction of many job seekers, employees and employers who have trusted Liftoff Certifications as their provider of choice.

Get Forklift and MEWP Certified Today with Liftoff Certifications

Liftoff Certifications offers some of the industry’s most affordable Forklift and MEWP (Boom & Scissor Lift) Operator Certification and Recertification courses and is the gold standard for online OSHA forklift certifications and OSHA MEWP certifications.

If you are ready to give an online forklift certification or recertification a try, get signed up today for our Recertification Course or Certification Course.

For our MEWP (Boom & Scissor Lift) training, get signed up today for our Recertification Course or Certification Course.

We’ve got you covered with a 100% money back guarantee and we guarantee national acceptance of our OSHA certification.

  • Comprehensive online course that’s easy to read

  • Nationally accepted OSHA certification

  • Customer service available via chat to answer questions at any time

  • Money back guarantee in the event something were to happen

  • Mobile, tablet, and desktop accessible classes.

Forklift Operator Certification


The Forklift Operator Certification teaches first time operators safety and training to be OSHA compliant.

Forklift Operator Recertification


The Forklift Operator Recertification offers an OSHA compliant refresher for those operators already certified.

MEWP Operator Certification


The Aerial & Scissor Lift Certification teaches first time operators safety and training to be OSHA compliant.

MEWP Operator Recertification


The Aerial & Scissor Lift Recertification offers an OSHA compliant refresher for those operators already certified.