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Many industrial and even commercial roles require the use of forklifts on a regular basis. From stocking shelves to picking orders from a warehouse environment, these machines can perform the job safer – and quicker – than human workers. But what does it take to become a forklift operator? What kind of certification is required, how long does it take and, perhaps more importantly, how much does it cost?

Is It Necessary?

Forklift certification isn’t a requirement to work in most factories or warehouses in the United States. Generally speaking, there are enough positions for general laborers that the average worker doesn’t need to pursue certification unless they choose to do so.

If the job description requires you to use a forklift, however, certification is required by OSHA. Not only does this ensure you know how to use such heavy industrial equipment effectively, it also shows you’re educated on the appropriate safety precautions associated with forklifts.

Where to Find Certification

Forklift operators have numerous avenues to pursue when trying to obtain certification. Your exact options may vary, depending on your location, but some common options include:

  • Employer-sponsored certification: Some companies provide forklift training and certification internally. This is often provided free of charge and conducted immediately after hiring.
  • Training or technical schools: Many communities offer training schools or technical institutions that offer a variety of extracurricular training, including forklift certification. These are often brief, group-based sessions.
  • Online certification: Given the prevalence of the internet today, it should come as no surprise that forklift certification is available online. While this training isn’t necessarily as comprehensive as classroom-based or employer-sponsored training, there are many different institutions that offer this service.

As mentioned, not all options are available in every area. Furthermore, some employers only accept certification from specific schools or institutions. If an employer decides that online training isn’t good enough for their company, for example, you might have to obtain your certification elsewhere.

How Long and How Much?

The regulations surrounding forklift certification might vary between institutions and even from state to state, but they generally include a formal, classroom-based study and a hands-on skills test. New forklift operators typically spend eight hours in the classroom, while returning forklift operators are only required to spend four.

Following completion of the classroom portion of their certification, all forklift operators must complete a four-hour course for low lifts or an eight-hour course for high lifts. Because online courses don’t always offer the hands-on portion of the exam, many professionals are left questioning the legitimacy of Internet-based certifications.

Most training courses cost around $40, though some schools might charge more to cover expenses during the hands-on skills test. Regardless, it’s a rather inexpensive and quick test.

Emphasizing Your Forklift Certification

Obtaining your forklift certification is only half the battle – now it’s time to show it off. Make sure to update your resume’s education section to reflect your newfound certification. You can also mention it in your cover letter and during the face-to-face interview, too – especially if you think it will help your chances of landing that new job.

Find Your Next Warehouse Job with Mega Force Staffing

Are you looking for your next warehouse job or forklift job? Contact Mega Force today to get started on working with a leading warehouse staffing agency in North Carolina.

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