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Top 11 Forklift Driver Certifications

This article outlines the best forklift driver certifications available to ensure safe and efficient operation of forklifts.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Forklift certifications are important for forklift drivers in the job market because they demonstrate the driver’s knowledge and competency. Forklift certifications prove that a driver has been properly trained, is knowledgeable about safety protocols, and can operate a forklift safely and efficiently. Employers want to ensure that their warehouse staff is properly qualified for the job, so having a valid certification is an effective way of demonstrating this. It also shows potential employers that the driver is serious about their job and has taken the initiative to obtain additional qualifications.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Forklift Drivers and explain how they can help to enhance a forklift driver's career.

What are Forklift Driver Certifications?

Forklift driver certification is an important safety measure that ensures that workers who operate forklifts are properly trained and qualified to do so. Certification involves a combination of classroom training, hands-on instruction, and written tests to ensure that operators understand the basics of operating a forklift safely. Forklift driver certification can help employers ensure that their employees are up-to-date on the latest safety procedures and standards for operating forklifts, as well as providing a way to document the training for each employee. It also helps keep workers safe by ensuring they have been trained in the proper use of safety equipment, including seat belts, backrests, and other items used when operating a forklift. Additionally, it can help employers reduce liability exposure related to workplace accidents caused by improperly trained or untrained operators.

Pro Tip: Make sure to check that your forklift driver certification is up-to-date and valid before operating a forklift. It’s important to stay on top of any safety regulations or changes in the industry, as they can change over time.

Related: What does a Forklift Driver do?

Top 11 Forklift Driver Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Forklift Drivers today.

1. OSHA Forklift Operator Certification

OSHA Forklift Operator Certification is a certification program designed to ensure that forklift operators are trained and qualified to operate forklifts safely. The program requires operators to be trained in the safe operation of forklifts, including how to maneuver them, load and unload materials, and inspect the equipment. The certification also covers topics such as workplace safety, hazard recognition, and emergency procedures.

The certification process typically takes about one day to complete. During this time, the operator will receive instruction on the proper use of a forklift and related safety topics. At the end of the course, they must pass a written test in order to be certified.

To get OSHA Forklift Operator Certification, you must first find an approved training provider or school that offers the certification program. You can search for providers online or contact your local OSHA office for more information. Once you have found a provider, you will need to register for their training course and pay any applicable fees.

The cost of OSHA Forklift Operator Certification varies depending on the training provider and other factors such as location and duration of the course. Generally speaking, most courses range from $100-$200 per person.

2. Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) Operator Certification

Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) Operator Certification is a certification that is required for individuals who operate powered industrial trucks such as forklifts, pallet jacks, and order pickers. This certification is designed to ensure that operators are trained in the safe operation of these vehicles.

The certification process typically takes between one and two days and consists of classroom instruction, practical demonstrations, and a written exam. The cost of the certification varies depending on the provider, but it usually ranges from $150 to $300.

In order to get certified, an individual must attend a training program provided by an accredited organization or institution. The program should include instruction on topics such as: safety regulations, proper use of controls and attachments, loading and unloading techniques, maintenance procedures, and emergency response procedures. After completing the coursework and passing the written exam with a score of 80% or higher, the individual will receive their PIT Operator Certification.

The cost of the certification will depend on the provider chosen; however most providers charge between $150 to $300 for the course materials and testing fees.

3. ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks Certification

The ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks Certification is an internationally recognized safety standard that provides guidelines and requirements for the safe operation of powered industrial trucks (PITs). This standard covers all types of PITs, including forklifts, pallet jacks, reach trucks, order pickers, stackers, tow tractors, and other similar equipment. The certification process involves a comprehensive assessment of the truck’s design, construction and performance to ensure it meets the requirements of the standard.

The certification process typically takes about six months to complete. During this time, the manufacturer must submit detailed documentation related to the design and construction of their truck as well as complete a series of tests to demonstrate its compliance with the standard. Once all documentation has been submitted and approved by an independent testing agency, a certificate will be issued indicating that the truck meets or exceeds all requirements set forth in the standard.

To get certified under ANSI/ITSDF B56.1 Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks Certification, manufacturers must first contact an independent testing agency such as UL or TÜV Rheinland who can provide guidance on how to proceed with the certification process. Depending on the complexity of the truck design and testing requirements, costs can range from several thousand dollars up to tens of thousands depending on how many tests are required.

4. Warehouse Safety and Logistics Training Certification

Warehouse Safety and Logistics Training Certification is a certification program designed to provide safety and logistics training for warehouse personnel. It is designed to help ensure that warehouse workers understand the importance of safety in the workplace, as well as how to properly handle and store materials.

The certification program typically takes between three and five days to complete, depending on the complexity of the course material. The course covers topics such as hazard identification, hazardous materials handling, fire safety, ergonomics, accident prevention, emergency response planning, and other related topics. In some cases, additional courses may be required in order to meet specific requirements set by employers or industry standards.

To obtain Warehouse Safety and Logistics Training Certification, individuals must first complete an approved course from an accredited institution or provider. After completing the coursework, individuals must pass an examination administered by a recognized testing agency in order to receive their certification.

The cost of Warehouse Safety and Logistics Training Certification varies depending on the provider and length of the course. Generally speaking, most programs range from $500-$1000 USD per person for a full-length certification program.

5. Counterbalanced Forklift Operator Certification

Counterbalanced Forklift Operator Certification is a certification program that provides operators with the knowledge and skills needed to safely and effectively operate counterbalanced forklifts. The certification is designed to ensure that operators understand the safety regulations and proper operating techniques associated with counterbalanced forklifts.

The certification process typically takes one to two days, depending on the number of participants. During the course, participants will learn about the different types of counterbalanced forklifts, their components, safety regulations, and how to properly operate them. They will also receive hands-on training in operating a counterbalanced forklift under various conditions.

To get Counterbalanced Forklift Operator Certification, individuals must complete an approved training course from a certified instructor or provider. These courses are typically offered by local employers or trade schools. It is important to check with your local licensing authority for specific requirements in your area.

The cost of Counterbalanced Forklift Operator Certification varies depending on the provider and location but typically ranges from $200-$400 per person.

6. Rough Terrain Forklift Operator Certification

Rough Terrain Forklift Operator Certification is a certification program designed to ensure that forklift operators have the necessary skills and knowledge to safely operate rough terrain forklifts. This certification program is offered by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF).

It typically takes about 8 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training to complete the Rough Terrain Forklift Operator Certification. During this time, participants will learn about safety procedures, operation techniques, and maintenance requirements for rough terrain forklifts.

To get certified as a Rough Terrain Forklift Operator, you must first attend an approved training course. You can find a list of approved courses on the IPAF website. After completing the course, you must pass an exam administered by IPAF in order to receive your certification.

The cost of a Rough Terrain Forklift Operator Certification varies depending on which training provider you choose to use. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$1,000 USD depending on the duration and location of the course.

7. Telescopic Handler Operator Certification

Telescopic Handler Operator Certification is a certification program designed to ensure that operators of telescopic handlers have the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and efficiently operate these machines. Telescopic handlers are large, specialized pieces of equipment used in many industries, including construction, agriculture, landscaping, forestry, and waste management.

The certification process typically takes several weeks to complete. It begins with an online application and assessment to determine the applicant’s level of knowledge and experience. Once approved, the applicant must attend a training course which covers topics such as safety regulations, machine operation procedures, maintenance practices, and troubleshooting techniques. Upon successful completion of the course, the operator must pass a written exam in order to receive their certification.

The cost of obtaining telescopic handler operator certification varies depending on the provider and location but generally ranges from $200-$500 USD. Some providers may also offer discounts for groups or multiple certifications.

In order to maintain an active certification status, operators are required to complete continuing education courses every two years. This ensures that operators stay up-to-date on new safety regulations and best practices in order to remain compliant with industry standards.

8. Reach Truck Operator Certification

Reach Truck Operator Certification is a certification program designed to ensure that operators of reach trucks are properly trained and qualified to safely and efficiently operate these types of vehicles. The certification requires successful completion of a training course, which typically takes between two and four days depending on the operator’s experience level. The course covers topics such as safety, operation, maintenance, and inspection of the vehicle.

In order to get certified, an individual must complete the training course with a passing score on all tests and assessments. Upon completion of the course, participants will receive their Reach Truck Operator Certification card from their instructor.

The cost of Reach Truck Operator Certification varies depending on the provider, but typically ranges from $500-$1000 for the full course.

9. Electric Pallet Jack Operator Certification

Electric Pallet Jack Operator Certification is a certification program offered by the National Safety Council (NSC) that provides training and certification to individuals who operate electric pallet jacks. The certification is designed to ensure operators are knowledgeable in safe operating practices as well as the proper maintenance of their equipment.

The certification process typically takes between four and eight hours, depending on the operator's experience level. During this time, operators will receive instruction on topics such as: proper pre-operation inspections, loading and unloading procedures, safety considerations, and basic troubleshooting techniques. Upon completion of the course, operators must pass a written exam in order to receive their certification.

In order to get certified, individuals must first register for an Electric Pallet Jack Operator Certification course through the NSC website or by calling their customer service line. Once registered, they will receive all necessary materials for completing the course including a study guide and exam prep materials. After completing the course and passing the exam, participants will be issued an official certificate of completion which can be used when applying for jobs or other positions that require electric pallet jack operation certification.

The cost of Electric Pallet Jack Operator Certification varies based on location but typically ranges from $50-$100 USD per person.

10. Container Handler Operator Certification

Container Handler Operator Certification is a certification that is required for individuals who wish to operate a container handler in the United States. A container handler is a large piece of equipment used to move and stack containers, usually in ports or other areas where there is a need for efficient storage and movement of goods.

The certification process typically takes several weeks to complete, depending on the individual’s experience level and the type of equipment they are operating. Individuals must first pass an exam administered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). This exam covers topics such as safety regulations, crane operation, rigging, and maintenance. Once the exam has been passed, individuals must then complete hands-on training with an approved instructor. This training includes operating the container handler in various scenarios and under different conditions.

The cost of obtaining Container Handler Operator Certification varies depending on the provider offering it. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$1000 USD.

11. Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) Driver Certification

Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) Driver Certification is a certification that allows individuals to safely operate AGVs. This certification is offered by the Automated Guided Vehicle Institute (AGVI).

The certification requires applicants to complete an online training program, which includes both theoretical and practical components. The program takes approximately 8 hours to complete and covers topics such as safety, system operation, troubleshooting, and maintenance. Upon successful completion of the program, applicants are issued a certificate that is valid for two years.

In order to obtain AGV Driver Certification, applicants must first register with the AGVI and pay a fee of $250 USD. Once registered, they can begin the online training course at their own pace. Upon successful completion of the course, applicants will be issued their certificate.

The purpose of AGV Driver Certification is to ensure that operators are knowledgeable about safe operating procedures for AGVs and able to properly maintain them in order to avoid accidents or damage to property. It also serves as proof of competency for employers who may require it when hiring new employees or contractors.

Do You Really Need a Forklift Driver Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the type of job you are applying for and the regulations in your area. Generally speaking, a forklift driver certificate is required if you want to operate a forklift in most places. It is also important to remember that operating a forklift can be dangerous and employers may require certification as proof that you have been properly trained and understand the potential risks.

In some cases, employers may allow experienced workers to operate a forklift without formal certification. However, even in those cases it is highly recommended that the worker receive proper training before being allowed to drive a forklift. The safety of yourself and others should always be taken into consideration when operating heavy machinery.

In conclusion, whether or not you need a forklift driver certificate depends on the circumstances of your job and the local regulations regarding operation of such machinery. In most cases, however, it is recommended that all operators receive proper training and certification before being allowed to operate any kind of industrial vehicle or equipment.

Related: Forklift Driver Resume Examples

FAQs About Forklift Driver Certifications

1. What is a forklift driver certification?

A forklift driver certification is a type of training that teaches drivers how to safely and properly operate a forklift. It includes classroom instruction and practical experience, as well as an evaluation at the end of the course.

2. Who needs to be certified?

Anyone who operates a powered industrial truck (forklift) must be trained and certified by an authorized instructor prior to operating the vehicle. This includes both new and experienced drivers.

3. How long does it take to get certified?

The length of time it takes to complete a forklift driver certification can vary depending on the type of program being taken and the amount of practice time needed. Most programs take between four and eight hours to complete, but some may take longer depending on their complexity.

4. What are the requirements for certification?

The requirements for certification vary by jurisdiction, but generally include both classroom instruction and practical experience in order to become fully certified. In addition, most jurisdictions require that drivers pass an evaluation at the end of the course in order to receive their certificate or license.

5. Is there an expiration date on my certification?

Yes, many jurisdictions require that certifications be renewed every three years in order to remain valid. It is important to check with your local regulations for specific details about renewal requirements in your area.