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How Much Do Forklift Drivers Make

how much do forklift drivers make

Being a forklift driver is a great way to make a steady living and have a rewarding career, especially for operators who have received OSHA-approved forklift training and certification. Warehouses, construction sites and many other businesses always need operators to move materials and equipment, which creates plenty of opportunities for properly trained, licensed and certified forklift drivers. In many cases, it’s a starting point for advancing into other careers within the warehouse, construction and industrial trades.

Here are some of the benefits of being a forklift operator for those who have completed OSHA-approved forklift training and certification:

You’ll be a better and more knowledgeable forklift operator
Your forklift operator certification can lead to other job opportunities for you as an employee
Employers are willing to pay more for forklift operators who have taken the time to become certified
Being a certified forklift operator can help you qualify for a position as a shift supervisor or manager
The knowledge you gain from your forklift operator training will make your workplace safer
It will be easier for you to get a better job with better pay
Most importantly, all forklift operators are required by law to receive OSHA-approved training and certification!

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What Does a Forklift Operator Do On The Job?

The basic task for a forklift operator is to drive a forklift and move equipment and materials around in warehouses, dockyards, lumberyards, factories, construction sites and other jobsites. Every now and then, a forklift driver may also need to pick up and move loads by hand. It’s a great job for someone who’s willing to work hard and doesn’t mind doing repetitive tasks.

Some of the typical forklift operator jobs available to those with proper training include being a Forklift Operator, Forklift Mechanic, Warehouse Worker, Construction Worker, Retail Employee, Dock Worker, Airport Employee and Special Events Employee.

Becoming a certified forklift operator can open doors to other opportunities for you as an employee. Many employers will pay operators more money if they have taken the time to become certified. Being a certified forklift operator can help you advance to a position as a shift supervisor or manager. Forklift operator certifications will also help you be a better, more knowledgeable operator. This additional knowledge makes your job safer and increases the overall safety of your workplace. If you already have a certification, you’re aware of how much easier it is to get a better job with a better salary.


The day-to-day duties of a forklift operator can vary, depending on the job environment, but generally speaking, forklift operator duties include the following:

  • Cargo handling
  • Storage management
  • Inventory retrieval
  • Pallet stacking
  • Assisting other forklift operators as required
  • Always operating the equipment as safely as possible

When you’re thinking about how much do forklift drivers make, one of the things to consider is versatility. A driver who can operate different types of lifts, such as stand up, sit down, pallet jacks and others and is able to perform various forklift operator duties will be among those who earn the highest salaries. Once you’ve completed FLC’s forklift operator training, you’ll have the background and knowledge to safely perform all sorts of duties expected of a qualified forklift operator!

If you’re interested in a career as a forklift operator, there are some basic requirements that you need to meet in order to get a job. Entry-level forklift drivers with no experience should be at least 18 years old and have a high school degree or General Educational Diploma (GED). Since you’ll be driving a vehicle while on the job, you’ll also need to possess a valid driver’s license. Most reputable employers will require you to complete forklift operator certification training and hold a forklift operator’s license as a condition of being hired. Many employers will favor those forklift operators who have already received their forklift certification training, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you’re seriously considering a career as a forklift driver.

How Much Do Forklift Drivers Make

HOW MUCH does a FORKLIFT operator earn?

If you are serious about getting a job as a forklift operator, you can expect to make anywhere between $10 and $20 per hour, depending upon where you live and the economy in your area. Most entry-level forklift operators are paid a base rate of about $13 per hour. Many warehouses owners and other employers will pay their forklift drivers overtime at the rate of one and a half times their normal hourly wage. In many cases, forklift operators who have taken the time to complete OSHA-approved forklift operator certification training are compensated with higher pay for their efforts, since most employers understand the value of the training in making the workplace safer.

Here’s another way to look at forklift drivers’ pay: how much does a forklift operator earn in different areas of the country? As an example, a forklift driver in Los Angeles, New York City or Chicago will probably make more than an operator in Cheyenne, Topeka or Lubbock. It all has to do with the cost of living in a particular market. Since the Big Apple is more expensive than medium-sized cities the middle of the country, forklift operators will be paid more money. However, there’s a downside – the cost of living in New York is much higher than those other areas!


Becoming a certified forklift operator can lead to other opportunities for you as an employee. Many employers will pay their drivers more if they have taken the time to complete their forklift operator certification training. Being a certified forklift operator can also help put you on the path toward a position as a shift supervisor or manager. A forklift operator certification will also help you become a better, more knowledgeable and safer forklift driver. This additional knowledge will make your job safer, as well as increase the overall safety of you and your coworkers. If you’ve already received your certification, you undoubtedly know how much easier it is to land a better forklift driver job with a higher salary.

aerial lift certification


Forklift operators are essential workers in a wide variety of industries. If you are looking for steady, reliable work that pays well, becoming a certified forklift operator is a great place to start, and you can count on to get you there quickly and economically. Check out our website to learn more about our fast, convenient and affordable online forklift training programs. All training materials are available online 24/7, and the training takes only about one hour to complete using a smartphone, tablet or other digital device any time that’s convenient and anywhere there’s an internet connection!

How much do forklift operators make per hour? There are several factors that determine how much do forklift drivers make, including the operator’s skill set, knowledge and attitude. One of the factors affecting how much does a forklift operator earn is whether he or she has completed OSHA-approved operator training and certification. If you’d like to become certified, brush up on your forklift operator skills, or are interested in making the most money as a forklift operator, contact FLC today. You can also reach us by phone at (888) 278-8896.

How much do forklift operators make per hour? It’s a tough question, but if you have the latest OSHA certification training, it’s much easier to reach the higher end of the pay scale!

10 Benefits of Forklift Certification

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