OSHA requires all forklift drivers and some construction workers to complete a formal forklift operator training program through their employer or other training facility. Once you have completed a forklift driver certification program, you may be qualified to apply for forklift driver jobs outside of your current place of employment. These certification and training programs provide you with the fundamental skills and knowledge for operating forklifts in various settings safely and effectively, and also train you on different types of machinery, equipment and operating protocol.

Whether you're working on a construction site or in a warehouse, you can explore a few different career paths with the appropriate training.

Training for Forklift Driver Jobs

Most forklift driver jobs require minimal formal training and most employers provide extensive on-the-job training, according to OSHA guidelines. Most people who apply for forklift driver jobs in their state have completed an OSHA safety certification program and may have a few years of experience working on a construction site. Training programs typically include formal training in the form of lectures and online training simulations, and focus primarily on machinery operations, safety hazards, inspection protocol and handling fragile items. Most forklift drivers develop strong skills using a particular type of machine over the course of their careers.

Types of Forklift Jobs

If you have completed a forklift driver certification program through your current employer but want to pursue a different position in the same field, or work for a different employer entirely, you do have some options. Some of the most common types of forklift jobs include:

  • Freight handler - responsible for loading and unloading trailers using a tractor trailer. These forklift jobs are usually available at distribution centers, warehouses and factories that require moving large containers and pallets.
  • Warehouse forklift operator - among the most commonly available forklift driver jobs, these employees are employed by the warehouse to load and unload trailers, and operate forklifts inside and outside the facility. Forklift operators must use special techniques to maneuver pallets and load and unload freight. They must also abide by strict safety guidelines.
  • Construction site forklift operators - these types of forklift jobs are available to experienced forklift operators who are comfortable driving forklifts on different surfaces and types of terrain. These jobs usually involve working outdoors and may include duties such as verifying packing lists, checking freight security and observing general loading and unloading guidelines.
  • Container forklift operator - these forklift operators are responsible for lifting, loading and unloading large containers containing inventory, supplies and equipment. They are usually hired by port authorities and other facilities located at ports or on the border.

Applying for Forklift Driver Jobs

If you are interested in applying for forklift driver jobs in your state, you will need to provide details about the types of forklifts you have used in the past, your experience in the field, and the extent of training you have already received. Keep in mind that many employers do offer specialized on-the-job training using their own equipment. You may need to learn how to use new equipment and systems, and also abide by various safety guidelines and protocol. Some employers may require you to perform a test or complete simulations to prove competency and to evaluate your skill set.