How a Forklift Certification Can Get You More Money

If you work in a warehouse, you have probably noticed a high demand for forklift operators. Forklifts are an integral part of nearly every warehouse operation.

The law requires forklift operators to be trained and certified. Getting certified is a reasonably simple process that does not require much time or money. Certified forklift operators are among the highest-paid workers on the warehouse floor, and they are always in demand. If you plan to stay in warehouse work, getting a forklift operator’s license is a simple step that puts you on the path to a more lucrative career.

Forklift Certification Requirements

Forklift operation is governed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Unskilled forklift operation could cause workplace injuries, so OSHA regulations require anyone operating a forklift to get a certification.

Some forklift dealers provide certification to their customer’s employees and other businesses provide forklift training and certification. A warehouse employer often has a training program that they use, or they could provide the training in-house.

According to OSHA regulations, at least some of the training must be conducted on-site at the facility where the trainee will be operating the forklift. At the end of the course, the trainer conducts a skills test before certifying the trainee as a forklift operator.

Forklift Certification is Transferable

OSHA regulations require an employer to evaluate a certified forklift operator every three years. The recertification could be specific to the machines the employer currently uses if they are different from the equipment the operator used when obtaining their earlier certification.

A certified forklift operator could change employers and work on different machines if their three-year certification is valid. However, an operator must receive a refresher course if they will be working with different machines at the new employer.

An operator also must receive refresher training and reevaluation if they are involved in a forklift accident or near-miss, were observed operating unsafely, or received an evaluation that indicated unsafe forklift operation.

Forklift Operators Earn High Wages

If complying with these requirements seems like a lot of trouble, the benefits are worth it. Training can be completed in several days, in most cases. Because forklift operators are in such high demand, many warehouses will pay for their workers to get a forklift operator’s certificate.

The rewards of obtaining certification are obvious: higher wages. According to, the average warehouse worker salary in the US is $16.00 per hour. A certified forklift operator in the US earns an average hourly wage of $19.00 per hour, according to the same source. These are nationwide averages that might vary by local area. Including overtime, some certified forklift operators could earn up to $25.00 per hour.

Certified Forklift Operators in High Demand for Flex Jobs

Another great reason to get a forklift certification is the availability of flex work. Many warehouses are turning to the gig economy to fill their need for a flexible workforce in peak periods.

Forklift operators who want to pick up some extra shifts in addition to their regular job, or who prefer a flexible schedule, could use a platform like HapiGig to find employers who need their skills on a temporary basis. There is always a need for people qualified to operate these essential machines.