The first thing to realize when seeking a job as a Forklift Driver is that there are a great deal of opportunities available, but that, like most things in life, the more effort you put into your search, the “luckier” you will become.
On the 10th November 2012 I did a search on Careerbuilder.com for Forklift Operator and Forklift Operators and there was 2,223 jobs so there are great many forklift jobs available right now if you have the necessary certification.
As I have spoken about on other pages of this website, the process to become certified to drive a forklift is not particularly arduous, and so the first thing that you should do if you want to set yourself apart from all other job seekers in this category, is to become certified.
In total it might cost $250 if you include the cost of a day’s training in driving a forklift, and the $50 cost (which is fairly typical) of progressing through the online certification process that is also required.
Set against the backdrop of a steady $25,000 a year job (which is a fairly typical salary for Forklift Operators in 2012 according to statistics published by job website Indeed.com) this is not a great deal to invest in your future, and will immediately make your CV far more appealing to the 5,396 employers who are potentially looking right now to hire someone with the skills necessary to operate a forklift truck.
It also has to be said that as far as Forklift Jobs go there are also a wider range of opportunities available that cover additional areas of Forklifts and their maintenance as well.
If you are starting out, most Forklift operators usually begin by having a few years of experience in a related occupation, such as hand mover or conveyor operator. These roles do not pay as much but are a natural progression to becoming a Forklift operator.
Here is a selection of typical job titles that you can also search for once you are properly qualified and able to fulfil the employer’s basic requirements (of both experience and being legally certified to drive a forklift):
- Forklift driver
- Forklift operator
- Warehouse Forklift Driver
- Forklift mechanic
Other related Opportunities
This selection also opens up the intriguing possibility of specializing (if you are mechanically minded) in repairing forklift’s, their parts and engines, because there are actually an enormous number of these machines up and down the length and breadth of the United States in warehouses and other commercial premises.
What they all have in common is that they need to both be driven by someone (the typical route for forklift jobs); but also that they need to be properly maintained to make sure that they run properly, and repaired when they go wrong.
Because Forklift’s play such a pivotal role in most warehouse operations the firms that hire drivers will also typically hire forklift mechanics, because they cannot afford (from an operational perspective) to have their machines out of action for extended periods of time.
You can see this theory validated if you take a look at a job site like Careerbuilder.com and do a search for “forklift mechanic”, because you will see that there are some 411 jobs listed under this title, and so there is clearly a demand for people who can not only drive forklift trucks but also repair them.
It may well be then that if you are drawn to more mechanical jobs that a good first step would be to first become certified to drive a forklift (see our article on Forklift Certification for how to do that), and then gradually see if you can become involved in fixing them when they break down on the job.
In many ways this is a more skilled job, and commands considerably higher wages on average.
For example, whilst the job site Indeed.com shows Forklift Operators as having an average salary in 2012 of $25,000; the average salary of a Forklift Mechanic is fully 64% higher at $41,000.
So if it is possible to gain experience in this area then you may find that it is potentially a much more lucrative way of working with Forklifts for the long term.