Forklift Operator Certification

Worker on forkliftJob Outlook & Earnings

Employment in material moving occupations is projected to decline by 1 percent between 2008 and 2018. Despite the projected employment decline, a relatively high number of job openings will be created by the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or retire.

Wages vary according to experience and job responsibilities, and are usually higher in metropolitan areas. Seasonal peaks and lulls in workload can affect the number of hours scheduled, which in turn affects earnings. Median hourly wage in material moving occupations in 2008 was $15.68.

Is This Career Right for You?

Forklift operators move materials around warehouses, storage yards, factories, construction sites, or other worksites. A typical forklift has a hydraulic lifting mechanism and forks for moving heavy and large objects. Forklift operators also may operate tractors that pull trailers loaded with materials, goods, or equipment within factories and warehouses or around outdoor storage areas.

Forklift operators use machinery to move construction materials, earth, petroleum products, and other heavy materials. Generally, they move materials over short distances—around construction sites, factories, or warehouses. Some move materials onto or off of trucks and ships. Operators control equipment by moving levers, wheels, or foot pedals; operating switches; or turning dials. They also may set up and inspect equipment, make adjustments, and perform minor maintenance or repairs.

Forklift Operator Certification at HCC

Completers satisfy and are certified through OSHA’s 1998 revised Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training Standard. Students must pass a written and practical test.


  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Driver’s license and forklift experience recommended
  • Eighth grade reading level preferred

2012 total approximate cost is $309. Total instructional hours are 8.

This program takes one day to complete and is offered three times each semester during the fall and spring. Class is held on Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM.  

Occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Material Moving Occupations, on the Internet at