Do I Need a Degree or Certification to Work in a Warehouse?

People without a post-high school degree might find it challenging to find an entry-level position that offers more than the minimum wage. Such individuals could consider working in a warehouse, which combines relatively high pay with ease of entry.

Although a person could make a substantial income working in a warehouse without any further education or certifications, someone who plans to stay in warehousing could enhance their career options by seeking certification in specific aspects of the industry.

Forklift Operators License

Anyone who plans to work in a warehouse, even for a short period, should consider getting a forklift operator’s license. A forklift operator is typically one of the highest-paid non-management employees in a warehouse.

Federal law requires certification for forklift operators. The certification course usually takes no more than a few days, and the worker could do much of it online, though the skills test must be conducted in person. Some specialized forklifts, such as aerial forklifts, require additional training.

Certifications to Advance Your Career

Even without a college degree, if warehouse work is for you, it could be worthwhile to obtain certification in various aspects of the industry. These certifications could demonstrate that you are willing to invest in improving your skills and bringing added value to your employer. Certification could eventually lead to a position of greater responsibility.

Various logistics industry trade associations offer certifications, and many offer online training through the association websites or local community colleges. Many employers will sponsor certification for interested employees, or provide tuition and examination fee reimbursement.

Logistics, Distribution, and Warehousing Certification

This certification is typically open to high school graduates, although some programs may not require a high school diploma. This is an excellent certification for workers early in their warehousing careers who want to learn more about the industry. This general certification provides an overview of warehouse operations and prepares people for a wide range of warehouse jobs, from customer service to machinery maintenance.

Production and Inventory Management Certification

The American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) offers this certificate. The training is open to people with at least three years of experience in the industry, or a college degree or its equivalent. This credential provides individuals with expertise in supply chain issues including production planning, materials management, scheduling, and inventory management systems.

Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOP-P)

The training for this credential emphasizes understanding best practices and performance metrics and optimizing personnel. Holders of this certification show that they are committed to improving the performance of employees and systems within the warehouse.

Vendor-Specific Trainings

Warehouses are becoming more and more automized, and warehouse management technology is developing at a rapid pace. Warehouse workers with an interest in technology could take advantage of the specialized training that many warehouse management system vendors offer.

Although not all vendors offer certifications, most will provide a certificate of completion or some other proof of advanced training in the system. Demonstrated competence in working with one or more warehouse management systems could open up significant opportunities for a warehouse worker.

Certifications Could Enhance Your Value

People without higher education or specialized training could make a living at warehouse work, especially if they have a forklift operator’s license. However, people who hope to assume greater responsibility or take a management role might find that obtaining one or more certifications is helpful. Employers are often eager to support employees who wish to advance their skills through certification.

Platforms like HapiGig offer opportunities for certified workers to increase their income and visibility through temporary assignments with other employers. Warehouse workers who hold one or more certifications are in high demand. As full-time employees or as gig workers, certified warehouse professionals could find lucrative positions in almost any aspect of the warehousing industry.