How Long Does it Take to Get a Forklift License?

For those considering becoming a forklift operator, it is important to understand what the job entails, what kind of training certifications are available, and the benefits of holding a license.

In this article, we will cover all of these questions, as well as discuss factors that determine the duration of associated training, how long it takes to get a forklift license and the different types of certification options.

We’ll also explore the various online options available to would-be operators, taking the guesswork out of embarking on this rewarding profession. So join us as we go on an educational journey exploring the forklift world and discover the invaluable knowledge you need to succeed.

Short Summary

  • A Forklift Operator is a skilled professional responsible for transporting goods, loading and unloading materials, operating vehicles, and adhering to safety standards.

  • A Forklift License requires proficiency in operation and adherence to safety regulations, as mandated by OSHA.

  • Obtaining a Forklift License involves classroom instruction and a written exam, hands-on training and assessment, a valid driver’s license, and knowledge of forklift safety, maintenance, and operation.

  • It usually takes under 10 hours to get a forklift license assuming you know how to properly operate a forklift

What Is a Forklift Operator?

A Forklift Operator is a skilled professional who operates industrial trucks to transport goods within warehouses or other industrial sites. Their duties include loading and unloading materials and deliveries, as well as moving them between storage areas, machines, and loading docks.

Forklift Operators can operate a variety of vehicles, including electric motor hand trucks, counterbalanced trucks, internal combustion engine tractors, and rough terrain forklift trucks. They must have a working knowledge of the anatomy and operation of the forklift, as well as the ability to safely operate it in a variety of situations.

They are also responsible for performing proper maintenance of the forklift, as well as adhering to safety standards and regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Forklift Operators are highly sought after in the supply chain industry, as they are an essential component of any warehouse or industrial site.

What Is a Forklift License?

A Forklift License is a certification that demonstrates an individual’s proficiency, understanding, and adherence to safety regulations for operating a forklift. This certification is mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and is distinct from a standard driver’s license.

The importance of having a Forklift License lies in its ability to ensure safety both for the operator and those around them. By obtaining a Forklift License, operators must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of proper forklift operation, including forklift maintenance, navigating safety hazards, and operating the machine without placing themselves or others at risk.

Additionally, a Forklift License is required in order to operate a forklift truck, regardless of whether the machine is used by a forklift dealer, a business, or an individual.

In order to obtain a Forklift License, an individual must complete a training program that meets OSHA requirements. This can be done through online training programs, a forklift dealer, or through a certified training organization.

Upon completion of the training program, operators must pass a written and practical exam in order to receive their Forklift License. The exam tests the operator’s knowledge of forklift safety and operation.

Once the operator has passed the exam and obtained a Forklift License, they are eligible for hire as a forklift driver, and may receive their forklift certification card. Having a Forklift License also allows individuals to operate a wide variety of forklift equipment, including counterbalance forklifts, rough terrain forklifts, and powered industrial trucks.

Factors Impacting Duration of Forklift Training

When it comes to forklift training, there are a number of factors that can influence the duration it takes to become a certified forklift operator.

For example, the size and weight of the load being moved by the forklift, the weight distribution of the load, the terrain, the type of forklift being used, and the experience of the operator can all impact the duration of forklift training.

Additionally, the forklift dealer may offer additional training topics, such as forklift maintenance, safety, and other forklift-related topics. Other factors to consider before getting a forklift license include the type of forklift certification card you would like to receive, such as a counterbalance forklift or rough terrain forklift truck, and the type of hands-on training or classroom instruction that you would prefer to receive.

Online Training Options

Forklift operators looking for certification have a variety of online training options available to them. The Forklift Certification Institute, National Forklift Foundation and A-1 Forklift Certification all offer online courses compliant with OSHA standards that provide certification for forklift operators.

These courses require that operators fulfill specific training and evaluation requirements, such as a practical training session with a qualified trainer, a hearing or vision test and a written exam. Additionally, some courses may require a hands-on training session with a forklift.

Online training is an ideal option for those who live too far away from training providers or who need to complete their certification quickly.

However, it is important to note that online courses should be used in conjunction with real-world practice, as only your employer can provide the necessary experience to become a safe and competent forklift operator.

Refresher training is also recommended every three years to ensure operators maintain the skills and knowledge required to remain certified.

Steps to Get Forklift License

In order to obtain a forklift license in California, it is necessary to contact the National Forklift Foundation, complete classroom instruction, pass a written examination, and undertake hands-on training and assessment.

Additionally, forklift certification must be renewed every three years. To become a certified forklift operator, individuals must possess a valid driver’s license and demonstrate knowledge of forklift safety, forklift maintenance, and the operation of a variety of forklift trucks.

After successful completion of the course and assessment, the individual will receive a certified forklift operators certification card that will enable them to operate forklift equipment in a safe and efficient manner.

Types of Forklift Certification

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all forklift operators be certified in the safe operation of powered industrial trucks.

There are seven distinct classes of certification available, ranging from electric motor riders to rough terrain forklift trucks. Each class of truck requires the operator to be certified in order to operate it safely.

The seven classes of powered industrial trucks include counterbalance forklifts, electric motor riders, narrow aisle forklifts, pneumatic tire forklifts, reach trucks, rough terrain forklifts, and sit-down riders.

Counterbalance forklifts are the most common type of forklift and feature a counterweight at the back of the vehicle to balance the load. Electric motor riders are powered by a rechargeable battery and can be used in a variety of settings. Narrow aisle forklifts are designed for tight spaces and can turn on the spot.

Pneumatic tire forklifts are designed for outdoor use and feature large, heavy-duty tires. Reach trucks feature forks that extend to a great height, allowing workers to access high places. Rough terrain forklifts are designed for outdoor use and feature large, heavy-duty tires. Finally, sit-down riders are designed for long-term, continuous use and feature a seat that the operator can sit on while operating the forklift.

Getting certified in each of these classes of forklifts is important, as it ensures that operators are properly trained in the safe use of the equipment. Forklift dealers provide certification courses for those interested in becoming certified forklift operators.

These courses cover the basics of forklift operation, safety, maintenance, and other topics related to operating a forklift. Upon completion of the course, operators receive a forklift certification card. This card is proof that the operator has completed the necessary training and is qualified to operate a forklift.

Benefits of Having a Forklift License

Having a forklift license is beneficial in many ways. Possessing a forklift license can open up new job opportunities, enhance safety in the workplace, and optimize the management and transport of cargo and products.

Forklift operators who have received proper training and are certified are legally allowed to operate forklift equipment. Certified forklift operators are more likely to be hired by employers, as they have proven their knowledge and skills in a safe and efficient manner.

Having a forklift license also allows employers to comply with the Fair Labor Standards. The Act requires forklift operators to be properly trained and certified. Additionally, having a forklift license can provide job stability and promotion opportunities.

Employers prefer to hire certified forklift operators because they require less training and can hit the ground running. Having a forklift license can also increase an operator’s chances of being promoted as they have already demonstrated their expertise in operating a forklift.

Moreover, having a forklift license can contribute to safer workplaces, less equipment damage, and increased productivity. As OSHA requires forklift operators to be properly trained and certified, having a forklift license ensures that the operator understands the safety practices associated with operating the forklift.

This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace. Furthermore, certified forklift operators are more likely to operate the forklift in a responsible manner, which can lead to less damage to the equipment and improved productivity.

Finally, having a forklift license can lead to lower insurance rates. Most insurance companies offer discounts to operators who have a valid forklift license, as this indicates that the operator is knowledgeable and skilled in operating a forklift. Lower insurance premiums can help employers save money and make them more competitive in the market.


In today’s fast-paced world, having a Forklift License can provide numerous benefits both for employers and employees. It is important for aspiring Forklift Operators to understand the various factors that may affect the duration of their training, as well as the presence of different online training options.

Furthermore, it is vital to be familiar with the requirements imposed by OSHA in order to obtain the certification, such as completing classroom instruction and taking a practical test prior to submitting an application for licensing.

Considering the variety of types of Forklift Certifications, it is up to each individual qualified professional to utilize their knowledge to find the best option to meet their career needs, while ensuring they are knowledgeable with safety regulations and have mastered the fundamentals of forklift operation before even beginning to apply for a license.

When done properly, obtaining a Forklift License will help provide job stability, promotion opportunities, insurance discounts, and an overall safer workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get forklift certified in Georgia?

It typically takes around one day to get forklift certified in Georgia. To obtain certification, an individual must first successfully complete a training program and assessment followed by a physical exam.

After these steps have been completed, certification is granted.

Which forklift license is best?

Overall, the best forklift license to get depends on what you will be doing with the forklift. If you need to operate in an off-road environment or on rugged terrain, consider getting an All Terrain Certification. In a warehouse setting, a Standard Certification should do the job.

Do you need a license to drive a forklift in Illinois?

Yes, it is a requirement in the state of Illinois to have a valid license to operate a forklift. To obtain a license, you must successfully complete a training program and/or pass a written/practical exam endorsed by or approved by the state.

How long does a forklift certification last in Texas?

In Texas, forklift certification lasts for three years from the time of inception. This is mandated by OSHA, who require re-certification every 36 months to ensure safety.