According to one report, more than 1.5 million employees work as forklift operators in the United States. If your job requires you to move goods around a warehouse or another industrial site, it’s important to make sure you’ve completed the requisite training and received your forklift certification.
If you’re fully trained in the mechanics of forklift operations, then you can do your part to minimize accidents as well as prevent financial losses from damaged goods. Today, we’re taking a look at how the certification process works and how to get started.
What Is a Forklift Certification?
A forklift certification is a credential that you’ll receive after you complete a certified training program in forklift safety and operations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) requires any forklift operator at any U.S. worksite to hold a valid license.
Before a worker can earn this license, they will need to complete an OSHA forklift certification training program. This program covers various safety topics relating to forklift operation, including:
- Types of forklift accidents and how to prevent them
- Proper forklift maintenance procedures
- Common forklift operating hazards
This program is designed to ensure all employees have the skills, knowledge, and aptitude required to operate a forklift without risking bodily injury or damage to company property.
Who Should Get a Forklift Certification?
Both experienced and new forklift operators should pursue a forklift certification. These programs are in place to protect businesses, employees, and anyone else who may be near this machinery.
If you plan to pursue a career that will require you to operate a forklift, you can complete your training and obtain your certification now to help your resume stand out to prospective employers.
Even beyond the forklift operation realm, there are careers that benefit from and require this degree of knowledge. These include:
- Machine operator
- Material handler
- Warehouse associate
- Order selector
- Truck driver
- Maintenance technician
- Delivery driver
Completing the certification process can open new doors and allow you to take your career to new heights.
What Is the Process to Get Forklift Certified?
There are five steps to take once you’re ready to begin this process. Let’s take a look at how to get forklift certified.
1. Find a Forklift Certification That Fits Your Needs
First, find a forklift certification that’s valid, viable, and OSHA-approved. Not all certification courses are made equal, so it’s important to read the fine print.
For instance, some are more specialized than others, while some will only cover a limited number of forklift classes, or types. At Liftoff Certifications, our forklift certification course covers all seven forklift classes, including:
- Class 1: Electric Motor Rider Trucks
- Class 2: Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks
- Class 3: Electric Motor Hand Trucks or Hand/Rider Trucks
- Class 4: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Solid/Cushion Tires)
- Class 5: Internal Combustion Engine Trucks (Pneumatic Tires)
- Class 6: Electric and Internal Combustion Engine Tractors
- Class 7: Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks
You can read more about each class in greater detail on this page.
Most certification courses (including ours) are valid for three years. If possible, look for a comprehensive course that covers all seven courses rather than one that focuses on one specific class of forklift truck. At the minimum, the course should at least cover the forklift classes you’ll interact with in your job.
2. Understand What’s Involved in the Certification
Traditionally, forklift operators were required to attend in-person classes to complete their forklift certification. With the rise of online learning, your options are a little more flexible.
Now, you can get certified in a number of ways, including:
- In-person: 6-8 hours in-person training
- Online: 1-2 hours of online training with brief practical evaluation on your own machines
When weighing your options, consider the convenience of online courses. These usually take less time to complete, and you’re able to log in from the comfort of your own home. The forklift courses offered through Liftoff Certifications can be completed in one to two hours, though you’re free to go at your own pace.
3. Complete the Course
Once you’ve signed up for your course, the next step is to complete the training and exam. If you choose an in-person class, then you will have a schedule that dictates when and where to appear on campus for each training session.
If you’re taking the course online or completing a hybrid model, then you will follow the certification provider’s schedule. If you decide to complete your certification through Liftoff, you can start our online course at any time, from any device.
Our OSHA-compliant Forklift Operator Safety and Training Certification course includes the following components:
- 10 sections covering 35 topics
- Section quizzes
- More than 30 safety tips
- A final exam with unlimited retakes
The material covered in our course follows OSHA Standards (29 CFR § 1910.178) as well as CSA B335-15 (Safety Standards for Lift Trucks).
4. Pass Your Final Exam
After you’ve completed all of the requisite training sessions, it’s time to test your knowledge! While there are in-person testing centers available, most exams are available in an online format.
We offer a final quiz at the end of our training, and you can retake it as many times as necessary.
5. Complete Practical Evaluation
After you complete our OSHA-compliant, online training course and pass the final quiz, you’ll be able to download and print your forklift certification immediately. You can also update your resume with your new credentials!
Once you’re hired, your new employer will want to test your knowledge again before allowing you to operate a forklift. They’ll perform a brief, hands-on training on the equipment you’ll be operating, following the OSHA Forklift Evaluation Checklist.
If you’re already employed, your employer will provide the hands-on training after you provide evidence of your new certification.