How to become forklift certifiedIf you want to be a qualified operating a powered industrial truck such as a forklift, the first thing to do is to have the certification.

Now, the question that you may have in your mind…how to become forklift certified? This is one of the common questions we heard from an individual who is seeking such a qualification.

Becoming forklift certified in 2023 involves completing a training program and passing a certification exam. The training program typically covers the proper operation and maintenance of the forklift, as well as safety procedures and regulations.

After completing the training, individuals must pass a written and practical exam to demonstrate their proficiency and understanding of the material. Forklift certification is often required by employers and is necessary for individuals seeking work as a forklift operator.

It is important to ensure the certification program and exam are recognized by the relevant authorities and industry organizations.

If you want learn the overall process, let’s dive in. Read on…

Two Ways to Take the Forklift Training

Forklift safety training is a vital part of doing business or getting employed. If you are an individual or company in need of such training, there are two ways you can choose to receive it:

Actual or In-Person

The most effective mean of training delivery is through attending it in person. You can get forklift training at a school or private company near you. An individual or employer can register for a schedule, complete the classroom lecture, perform the practice test, and get evaluated by the instructor. This method usually lasts for a day or 2 and depending on the type and extent of the course.
(We aimed at giving you the best help you can get. In this website, we have prepared the directory of training schools in every state/area, just select your location and check the list of schools where you can attend a forklift certification course.)

Online Certification

The second option is the online certification, it is another alternative to take the forklift training. This type of method simulates the classroom lecture, formal education, and evaluation of the course. However, this does not provide the students with the hands-on demonstration or actual operation of the forklift. Take this course now at the convenience of your home. 

Online training is the most convenient way of getting trained. If you don’t want to send your workers to school, you can have them take the online certification course instead. There are a number of schools that provide such training, find one by asking your colleagues.

Getting Certified Online is Convenient and Fast
If you want to take online training, here is a provider of such a course.
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Here's a Video That Explains Everything You Need To Undergo Forklift Certification


Before you go on, I would like to invite you to spend a little time reading these important articles, CHECK IT OUT:



If you are an Employer, here are some advices for your, READ these:

Where to Get Certified

Here are the ways you can be certified. First, you can opt to take the forklift training from a private school by enrolling in a course. Second, the certification can be also taken through company sponsorship, if you’re presently employed, it is your company’s responsibility to provide such education. Lastly, you may find some community colleges in your area conducting free training once in a while.

If you are an individual without prior experience, the best choice for you is to take the course from the training school. If you are experienced and would like to get a skill upgrade, you can also take the training from the school.
If you are an employer or manager who wants to provide training to workers, you can hire an outside consultant from the training school to conduct the training on-site. This is an ideal way to deliver the course.

Choose the State Where You Want to Take the Forklift Certification

Alabama Hawaii Massachusetts New Mexico South Dakota
Alaska Idaho Michigan New York Tennessee
Arizona Illinois Minnesota North Carolina Texas
Arkansas Indiana Mississippi North Dakota Utah
California Iowa Missouri Ohio Vermont
Colorado Kansas Montana Oklahoma Virginia
Connecticut Kentucky Nebraska Oregon Washington
Delaware Louisiana Nevada Pennsylvania West Virginia
Florida Maine New Hampshire Rhode Island Wisconsin
Georgia Maryland New Jersey South Carolina Wyoming


If your state has its own State Plan, the forklift certification requirement may be different from that of OSHA, check with your state to determine the specifics and requirements.

Steps You Need to Take When Applying for a Forklift Certification 

To begin the process of certification, follow these six simple steps:


Step 1: Assess Yourself What Forklift You Want to Get Trained On

If you are a beginner you may be wondering why self-assessment is important. At this stage, you must choose what type of forklift truck you want to operate as OSHA says that the training course should be matched to the type of truck (and by “type,” OSHA is referring to the differences - a sit-down rider truck vs. a stand-up truck, or an order-picker vs. a counterbalance.)

After you have thoroughly assessed yourself and prepared what you need, find a training school where you want to take the course. On this website, you will also find a directory of training schools, just click the location/country where you are.

If you are currently employed, your employer must provide you with the training you need. It is the company's obligation to supply that for you.

Step 2: Enroll in a Forklift Certification Course

The role of the forklift training school is to impart the knowledge based on the OSHA standard.

You have to two (2) options to attend the course – either online or in-person.

If you choose to take the first one, you may find a private training institution on the internet that conduct online certification. We discourage you not to go this route. This training method does not comply with the OSHA regulation, therefore, you cannot be assured of that you can become forklift certified.

The best option of taking the forklift training is in-person. It only takes a day or two to complete the course.

Step 3: Attend the Classroom Lectures

This part of the course usually lasts for six (6) hours and the topics to be discussed focus mostly on OSHA regulations, general safety and health, forklift safe driving, and many other specialized subjects. At this part, trainees will learn helpful techniques in preventing workplace accidents that could lead to lost time injury (LTI), property damage, and injury.

Step 4: Pass the Written Examination

At the end of the 6-hour classroom lectures, trainees will be given a questionnaire to answer. Usually, the passing grade is 75% but it may differ depending on the training standard of the school.

The written test shall ensure that students have received enough knowledge from the lectures.

Step 5: Perform Hand-On Forklift Operation

When you completed the classroom lectures and passed the test, you're now ready to receive the hands-on training.

During the practical training, the trainer will demonstrate the actual forklift operation and the student will do the exercises. The purpose is to do the job in a safe and efficient approach.

The trainer will assign you to accomplish sets of duties which include pre-operational inspection, loading, lifting of materials at the elevated platform and more complex tasks such as maneuvering in tight spaces, lifting of heavy load, traveling on an incline and many others.

The practical training should not be taken lightly. This is where the trainer will rate your performance. Make him happy with your performance then you will be assured of passing the course.

Step 6: Evaluation

The trainer will make a performance evaluation based on the skill you exhibited driving the forklift.

When you completed the classroom lecture, passed the written test, and received a satisfactory rating during the hands-on driving. The trainer can now certify you.

You will receive your certification and/or forklift license card that you can present when applying for a job or when asked by your supervisor.

The certification expires every three years. You need to take the refresher training for its renewal.


Cost of Forklift Certification

The very first thing that may pop up on your mind is how much does forklift training cost. Let’s face it if you want to get quality training you need to spend some amount.

The cost of the training course is somewhere around $150 to $200 which is a small amount to pay considering the quality education you can obtain. The forklift training lasts for a day or two.  It requires some time to spend as well.

If you're presently employed, your employer is the one who will shoulder the cost. The training can be conducted onsite which is the ideal way of delivering it to the workers.

(You can refer to this forklift certification cost article when you want to know how much does it cost to enroll for the training)

The benefits of having a forklift certification are as follows:  it makes you more attractive to get accepted for a job, long-term employment with your current employer and promotion for a higher position. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t have to take the forklift training.

(For the list of schools where you can take the training, just select your state or territory, there, we’ve prepared a directory of training schools you can enroll at)

How to Get Forklift Certification for Free

If you’re still out of luck and you cannot afford to pay for school tuition, getting free training is the best way to go. There are several ways on how to get forklift certification for free.

  • Find a community college near you, they usually conduct scheduled training in forklift operation, they sometimes give the training at no cost for local residents. For you to make sure you get an available slot, register in advance. To take advantage of this, you also need to know the requirements so that you can be prepared.

  • There are free online training such as this resource also. But please be reminded that online training can only provide the classroom part of the course, you still need to perform forklift operation and get evaluated with your performance to be fully certified.

  • If you’re presently employed and forklift operation is not inline of your work, show your determination to become an asset of the company by asking your supervisor if they could send you to the school to take a forklift training course. Your request will be more likely to consider because they know they need employees who can do a sort of thing.

  •  Avail the government-funded training. This may not be commonly available in the US but in the UK and Australia, such benefits are accessible. You still have to submit requirements in order to get qualified. Grants and sponsorship are the ones available for individuals in the US.

If You've Been Trained a Few Years Ago, Is Your Forklift Certification Valid?

The simple answer is no. If you had taken the training more than 3 years ago, then you have to undergo the training again. The course curriculum must match the type of forklift you want be certified on.

For worker who only use the forklift on occasional basis, they still have to be trained and certified in its operation. Everyone who uses the forklift must be properly trained.

If you haven’t had the training for quite a while now and you’re presently employed, you may ask your employer to provide you the training. It is the responsibility of the employer to keep their workers educated especially in the aspect of safety.

There are also some circumstances where you need to take the training even the three-year requirement has not lapsed yet. Retraining is done in these situations:

When to Take Retraining

OSHA required the employer to conduct retraining in order to correct any issues regarding safety and stay compliant with the law. There are many instances when the employer must provide retraining course, here are some:

  • When the three-year period is lapsing. Before that period, you are required to renew your certificate. To do this, you must take the refresher course.
  • When operators are not abiding the safety rules of the company. When they are exhibiting a bad attitude operating the truck.
  • If the operator has been observed unruly and practicing unsafe operation 
  • When the operator is rated to have a poor performance during the training 
  • If the operator is assigned to drive other types of truck he is not familiar with 
  • If there are changes in the workplace setting 
  • If the operator is involved in an incident such as near misses and property damage 
  • If there’s a new truck introduced in the workplace



Are You Now Ready to Take the Forklift Certification Course?

I suppose you’re preparing to get certified that’s why you’re learning how to do it. If that’s the case, we have a guide and tutorials on this website. Whether you’re an employer or an individual, we can help you on your journey.

You will find also in this website the directory of the training schools in every state so that you would not have a hard time finding one near your location – a convenient way to get trained in no time.

We also have the FAQ section where we answer your questions and issues related to forklift certification.

Please do keep in mind that we don’t provide training rather we give help you on how to become certified by providing you resources.

Spend a Little Time to Get a Forklift License

A worker who operates a forklift but without proper certification is making a big mistake. He is endangering himself and others. This is the reason why OSHA is very strict about their rules.

OSHA inspectors could pay a visit to the workplace. Both workers and employers could be cited for a violation if they are not compliant.

Get the training in the soonest possible time. Spend some time and money to take the training.

If you are an individual looking for a job, you could get hired easily if you have the certificate. The employer prefers those candidates who have the proper training.

On the other hand, if you’re a company, you could recoup your investment by having the workers certified because they will become more productive and efficient in doing their jobs.

If You're an Employer, You Can Do This 

If you’re a business owner who is managing large or even small number of operators, why don’t you conduct an in-house training? This type of training is used by a wide range of companies to accommodate their need to supply their operators with proper training. It can save you a lot of money and time. In addition, you avoid the risk of getting cited with violation by OSHA.

By implementing an in-house training program for operators, you can appoint someone from the workers who is knowledgeable and experienced to deliver such training.

You will need forklift training materials in video and PowerPoint formats and certification cards. You can buy this from Amazon: 


OSHA Compliant Forklift Operator COMPLETE Training Kit + Train the Trainer BUNDLE! Certificates Of Completion, Operator Cards, Student Hand Outs, Hands On Evaluation Checklist, & More!



What Would Be the Fines If You Caught Without Certification

Fines and penalties can be imposed, the employer could be fined up to $250,000 for not certifying their workers. The penalties depend on the gravity of the violation, in some cases, imprisonment can happen if the violation is found to be severe.

It is an absolute necessity to have the workers certified in accordance with OSHA to avoid such penalties and be productive at work. At the end of the day, it is the workers themselves and the employer will benefit from the training – it is a win-win solution.



Maintaining Forklift Certification

Maintaining forklift certification involves regular recertification and staying informed about changes and advancements in the industry. Recertification is necessary to keep the certification valid and to demonstrate that the operator remains knowledgeable and competent in the safe operation of a forklift. The frequency of recertification may vary depending on the certification program, type of forklift, and local regulations.

In addition to recertification, forklift operators should stay informed about industry changes and advancements. This may involve attending continuing education courses, reading industry publications, and participating in professional organizations. Keeping up-to-date with industry developments helps ensure safe and effective operation of forklifts, and can also be beneficial for individuals seeking employment or advancement in the field.

A. Recertification Requirements:

Forklift certification is typically valid for a limited period of time, after which individuals must complete the certification process again to maintain their certification. The frequency of recertification varies depending on the certification program, the type of forklift, and local regulations. It is important to stay aware of the recertification requirements for your particular certification, as well as any changes or updates to those requirements.

B. Keeping up-to-date with Industry Changes and Advancements:

In addition to maintaining certification through recertification, it is important for forklift operators to stay informed about changes and advancements in the industry. This can include updates to regulations, new technologies or techniques, and changes in best practices for operating and maintaining forklifts. Keeping up-to-date with these changes can help ensure the safe and effective operation of forklifts and can also be beneficial for individuals seeking employment or advancement in the field.

To Make the Final Word

We now know the importance of forklift certification. It is required because a worker who operates a forklift without prior training becomes an immediate danger to others in the workplace.

If the company neglects the provision of training to the workers, the employer may face hefty fines and cited serious violations by OSHA. An individual who does not have a forklift license may have a difficult time getting accepted for the job.

The price of the training is just a small investment to pay but it could deliver a very big impact on your career or organization. Whatever your reason for taking the forklift training, always keep in mind to strive for the quality training, not the cost it entails.

We conclude this, we have provided the details and step-by-step instruction you need to follow on how to become forklift certified. I am ending this article by wishing you good luck with your career!

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