Forklift Operator

Move pallets and equipment with a forklift with your steady hands.
picture of Forklift Operator

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$20,000 – $45,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Forklift Operators do?

Forklift Operators are a vital link in the supply chain that gets goods to people who need them. Furthermore, they get to operate a powerful piece of machinery, and lift loads too great for mortal men. If the combination of these two elements sound like your kind of life, then a career as a Forklift Operator could be right for you.

As a Forklift Operator, you need to apply a delicate touch to a heavy piece of equipment. It can be hard to be precise with something as unwieldy as a forklift, but your coworkers are counting on you. Safety is your number one concern. You juggle speed, accuracy, and caution as you move about the warehouse and the loading dock.

“Picking” the items on your checklist, getting them assembled in the loading area, and making sure that the Trucker has everything they need before they get under way are all part of your daily routine. You usually work standard shifts, but overtime tends to be part of your life.

It’s important for Forklift Operators to have a good eye for detail and memory for numbers. You need to have a map in your head, and be able to strategically plan out where to get all the goods on your list. Many warehouses use computers to generate packing lists, and you may need to use one yourself to process orders.

Expect to keep in touch with your Supervisor and teammates via radios, hand signals, and occasionally, shouting. Warehouses can be loud, busy places. Some Forklift Operators work in refrigerated boxes, and many warehouses don’t have climate control at all. Either way, you’ve got to get the job done.

Should I be a Forklift Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.

  • Also known as: Finger Lift Operator, Forklift Driver, Fork Lift Driver, Fork Lift Operator, Fork Lift Technician See More

    How to become a Forklift Operator

    Most Forklift Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9jaaaa&chl=no+college+%2887%25%29|certificate+%2813%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,87,87
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