Forklift Driver: Job Description and Education Requirements

Forklift drivers transport large materials and goods from one location to another. A forklift driver usually loads these materials onto trucks or other large transportation. Job skills are learned through formal or informal training programs offered by the employer. This physically demanding career also has voluntary certification.

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Forklift Driver Job Description

Special industrial tractors and trucks are used by forklift drivers to move materials from one place to another. A forklift driver is expected to operate this vehicle at work-sites, construction sites, factories, storage yards and warehouses. These vehicles use hydraulic lifting mechanisms and can be dangerous if used improperly. Forklift driver must follow the proper safety procedures in order to minimize any danger to themselves or other workers.

Forklift drivers are expected to repeatedly perform physically demanding work. Safety devices like braces, hardhats and gloves are expected to be used. Some forklift drivers work outside in any climate or weather, while others work indoors.

The normal work routine for forklift drivers includes 8-hour shifts. However, the time these hours are can vary greatly. Some forklift drivers are expected to work nights or early mornings in order to get the materials moved on time. Extended hours can be required if delays occur.

Education Requirements

Employers prefer applicants with a GED or a high school diploma. Applicants need to be at least 18 years old and able to perform physical labor. The job skills for this career are learned at work. Some companies have a formal job training program. Other businesses use an informal process of pairing up a new worker with an experienced forklift driver or supervisor. Regardless of the type of training used, new forklift drivers are expected to learn quickly and ask any questions they may have.

Some states may have licensure requirements for working with forklifts. An employer assists with this if necessary. Additionally, voluntary certification is available at many professional organizations. These professional certifications require the completion of a class, passing a written examination and passing forklift operation test. If a forklift driver has to work with dangerous materials, then safety procedures and training requirements have to be completed through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (www.osha.gov).

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes forklift operators in the occupation of material moving machine operators. Jobs for industrial truck and tractor operators, including forklift operators, were expected to expand by 12% from 2010-2020, predicted the BLS. In 2012, the BLS revealed a median annual wage of $30,220 for industrial truck and tractor operators.

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  • School locations:
    • Montana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at The University of Montana include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Ground Transportation
        • Heavy Equipment Operation
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New Castle School of Trades include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Ground Transportation
        • Heavy Equipment Operation
        • Truck, Bus and Commercial Driver
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    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Transportation and Distribution
      • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Computer Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Materials Engineering
      • Math
      • Mechanical Engineering

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