Skip to Main Content

What Is a Forklift Operator and How to Become One


What Is the Job Description of a Forklift Operator?

Forklift operators operate forklifts and other equipment to distribute, store, and move goods and cargo. This job combines operating heavy machinery while driving through tight spaces, moving freight, and making sure the whole operation is completed safely and efficiently.

Top 10 Skills Needed for Forklift Operators

Do your skills line up with what hiring managers are looking for when they are reviewing resumes for a Forklift Operator position? ZipRecruiter scanned over 9,000,000 job postings and created a list of the most commonly required abilities for Forklift Operators below.

Based on our assessment, mastering the skills below and listing them on your resume is critical in getting your Forklift Operator job application to the top of the stack.

  1. Forklift experience
  2. Warehouse Experience
  3. Loading Experience
  4. Pallet Jack
  5. Road Transportation
  6. General Labor
  7. Forklift Certification
  8. Stocking
  9. Packing
  10. Instructing

Can I Get a Forklift Operator Job With No Experience?

It is possible to get a forklift operator job with no experience, but the employee must then go through training and pass all certification requirements. There are stringent regulations that forklift operators and their employers must follow. An individual who is not trained and does not have proper certification cannot operate a forklift. A forklift operator must have certification or training that follows all local and state laws.

What Certification Is Needed for a Forklift Operator Job?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all forklift operators to be trained and certified before operating the machine. All candidates must have a valid driver’s license, be 18 or older, and must be certified by an employer, teacher, or an OSHA approved course. Training and certification vary from job to job. Some employers offer certification with their on-site training. Those who prefer to get their training before seeking employment can take certification courses at a community college or vocational school. Be careful of scam sites that do not issue official OSHA proof certification.

Forklift Operator Job Description Sample

With this Forklift Operator job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Forklift Operator role.

Job Summary

We have an immediate opening for a Forklift Operator. Under the direction of the warehouse manager, you will be responsible for moving finished products from the production floor to warehouse storage shelves, puling products to prepare for shipping, loading and unloading delivery trucks, and documenting all inventory that you handled. You must follow all company and governmental safety guidelines at all times while in the warehouse. We prefer candidates who have some experience operating a forklift, but we are willing to train the right person.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Move inventory and materials across facilities
  • Stack and organize large bulk items
  • Pull inventory to prepare for shipment
  • Load and unload trucks
  • Update inventory activity, lists, records, and log all completed tasks
  • Note and request any damaged materials or replacements needed
  • Follow all health and safety procedures and regulations
  • Submit inventory records and log at the close of day

Requirements and Qualifications

  • High school degree or equivalent (preferred)
  • Current forklift license and certification
  • 1+ years of experience working with heavy machinery, forklifts, or other related equipment a plus
  • Able to stand, sit, move, squat, walk, and climb repeatedly during the course of the shift
  • Can lift up to 50 pounds
  • Valid driver's license
  • Able to pass a drug test and background check
  • Flexible schedule, including nights and weekends