How to Become a Forklift Operator?

Are you thinking of becoming a Forklift Operator or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Forklift Operator, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Forklift Operator job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Forklift Operator

If you're considering starting your Forklift Operator career path, it's important to note the skills, qualifications, and time it takes to become a professional Forklift Operator and how to advance your career path. Below are the steps generally required to begin and advance your Forklift Operator career.

Earn a Degree

To begin your Forklift Operator career path, a GED / High School Degree in engineering or a related field is usually necessary in order to remain a competitive option for employers. Focus on industry-specific skill development during your education in order to be properly equipped when applying for entry-level positions and entering the job force. A Forklift Operator internship may be required to earn your GED / High School Degree and acquire necessary on-the-job skills before entering the workforce.

What skills do you need to be a Forklift Operator?

  • English Language
  • Load Unload
  • Strong WORK Ethic
  • Attention To Detail
  • Urgency
  • Written Communication
  • Fork Lift
  • Excellent Communication
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Forklift Operator in the United States.

Choose a Specialty in Your Field

As an Forklift Operator, you may be required to choose a specialty within your field. Determine which part of the Forklift Operator field you feel strongest in, and continue taking active steps toward growing in your chosen Forklift Operator specialty.

Get an Entry-Level Position as a Forklift Operator

Once you've acquired a GED / High School Degree in engineering or a related field, you'll typically begin your career as an entry-level Forklift Operator. In general, you can become a Forklift Operator after completing your 12 year GED / High School Degree in a related discipline. Depending on the type of Forklift Operator role you’re pursuing, you may want to explore certification in certified forklift operator.

Advance in Your Forklift Operator Career

Following entry-level, there are several Forklift Operator career path levels to advance into. It can take 2 years as an entry-level Forklift Operator to progress to the iii forklift operator position. Each advanced Forklift Operator position requires approximately 8 years of experience at each level to advance in your Forklift Operator career path. It may be necessary to receive additional education, an advanced degree such as a Master's Degree in a related field, or special certifications in order to advance your Forklift Operator career path.

Continued Education for Your Forklift Operator Career Path

Not all industries and companies require continued education to advance your Forklift Operator career path. However, earning this degree may help you advance to higher-earning positions more quickly. Earning a Bachelor's Degree in engineering can take 4 years to complete. People that have earned their Bachelor's Degree typically make $41,972 compared to $26,830 for those without that type of degree.

Forklift Operator Career Path

Forklift Operator

8+Years of Experience
$38K - $53K /yrMost Likely Range
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Forklift Operator III

5 - 7Years of Experience
$41K - $57K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Forklift Operator

5 - 7Years of Experience
$39K - $55K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Forklift Operator Career Path

Forklift Operator I
Forklift Operator
Forklift Operator III
Lead Forklift Operator
Forklift Operator V
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Related Careers in the Skilled Labor & Manufacturing Industry

Interested in other Skilled Labor & Manufacturing careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Forklift Operator skills. Discover some of the most common Forklift Operator career transitions, along with skills overlap.

75% skills overlap
19% transitioned to Packer