And in the 21st Century this is equally applicable to Warehouse Jobs and operating a forklift truck, because in order to meet the statutory requirements to drive a forklift in the United States then you will need to both be over the age of 18 and be certified to operate a Forklift.
When we typically think of the word “license” then it can conjure up images of cheesy smiling sellers of insurance, or real estate agents (neither of which profession most people feel particularly warm and fluffy towards!).
But the fact is that getting your Forklift qualification is considerably less onerous both in terms of the statutory requirements and also with the financial and time commitment that is required to properly go about getting one.
There are literally tens of thousands of warehouses in the United States, and one of the things that they all have in common (apart from the fact that they “store stuff”!) is that when you need to move boxes or large containers from one side of the building to the other, or for loading onto trucks for shipping to customers, then you need Forklift Drivers/Operators (the terms tend to be used interchangeably).
The licensing requirements are not currently heavy it has to be said, really only requiring you to sit an online test which essentially walks you through some basic safety considerations that everyone should know when operating a forklift.
And secondly someone needs to validate your knowledge and proficiency by giving you a basic level of practical forklift training in how to operate a forklift, which normally requires a day (or less) of training.
The whole thing will cost $250 (at most). $50 for the online test and $200 for the training.
If you meet those two basic requirements then you will be certified to drive a forklift.
Your certification remains valid for a period of three years, and will normally take the form of a card that you can place in your wallet and show to any prospective employers to prove that you are in fact properly licensed.
After the period of 3 years is up then the process becomes even more straightforward. Because to get the license renewed (currently) you don’t have to sit any additional tests, you simply have to get your current employer at the time to re-validate that you are still competent at driving forklift trucks, and the forklift license will then be renewed for a further three years.
It is perhaps worth pointing out that at the moment the licensing (certification) procedures for driving a forklift are very easy (and cheap) to achieve, but that at some point in the future they are likely to get more stringent. The reason for this is that the number of forklift trucks in the United States is estimated by the Industrial Truck Association to be 855,900 and so the number of accidents, injuries (and fatalities) involving forklifts is inevitably rising.
It was this same upward momentum of auto accidents that led to ever more stringent auto legislation in the United States in the 20th Century, and so it seems likely that it is only a matter of time before the driving and licensing requirements for operating forklift trucks starts to inexorably increase.
It is worth bearing this in mind because with most licensing situations, it tends to be the case that existing license holders are often ‘grandfathered’ in, and so if you do choose to get your forklift license at the moment (when regulation is relatively slack) then it is unlikely that you will have to jump through quite as many hoops as new forklift drivers will potentially have to jump through to get licensed in the future.