Occupational Outlook for Forklift Operators by Jessica Howle

The demand for forklift operators continues to rise as the manufacturing sector of the United States gains momentum and creates jobs in the economy. Those employed to operate forklifts are required to lift, transport, and deliver heavy loads from one location to another using sit down rider forklifts and warehouse lifts.

Forklift operators are also trained to drive personal lifts (also called aerial lifts) such as telehandlers, boom lifts and scissor lifts. These types of forklifts are designed to lift the operator rather than a load to heights greater than 16 feet. Other tasks may also include minor repairs or routine maintenance, keeping records of transported materials, and adhering to project schedules from supervisors.

Work Environment

The work environment for an operator can vary any where from an industrial complex to an agricultural farm. Manufacturing accounts for more than 30 percent of all forklift operator jobs followed by transportation and wholesale trade. Because a forklift operator must work with heavy loads on a daily basis, they must follow safety procedures and practice proper use of the equipment.

Forklift operators often work a minimum of eight-hour shifts, but working hours can vary based on the company, industry and the type of materials needed to be transported. Many forklift operators work 2nd or 3rd shifts in facilities with 24-hour operations and overnight shipments.

Job Training

While some companies provide on-the-job training for operators, other businesses may require the applicants to have certification that demonstrates that they have completed proper training on forklift operation and safety. Online courses are available while local community colleges also offer instruction as well. On-site courses typical can last a day up to several weeks depending on the schedule. Topics covered in training include steering, maneuvering, vehicle safety and maintenance. Upon finishing an onsite or online course, a certificate of completion and an operator's license is given to the student.

Some companies also require that fork lift operators earn OSHA safety certification before being allowed to use any vehicle. OSHA certification covers government safety guidelines for both companies and forklift operators in the use of such vehicles, and is included as part of the training of many on-site forklift certification courses. Finally, a high school diploma and a valid driver's license is also a minimum requirement for job applicants.

Job Outlook

As of 2010, 522,000 people held industrial truck operator jobs in the United States. According to recent government reports, the job outlook for forklift operators will remain steady with overall growth in new positions projected to increase by 12 percent through 2020 to approximately 600,000 jobs. This will be largely due to increased building of new manufacturing plants and warehouses used store materials and merchandise.

Pay Range

The average pay range for operators falls is $12 - $14 an hour or $15,000 - $33,000 yearly salary. In addition to vehicle operation, jobs may require applicants to be able to manually lift up to 50 pounds and handle additional responsibilities in the company such as maintenance, and customer service. This pay range is expected to remain constant over the next few years.

Forklift operators review their job position as fast-paced and rewarding. If you are currently seeking employment as an operator, please submit your resume to the Human Resources Department at 123Forklift (E-mail: ). We can assist you in finding a new position in the USA and Canada.

Webmaster message: Forklift Operator is one of those high-paying jobs that you can get without a college degree. You can receive free online forklift operation and safety traing here: Free Training. If the company where you apply for a job doesn't provide actual behind-the-wheel training for forklift operators, you better get some experience in handling a forklift somewhere because you can cause a lot of damage with a forklift if you don't know what you're doing.

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