What's In This Article
Forklift certification is a very important skill for anyone who wants to work in a warehouse or manufacturing facility. If you want to become a forklift operator, then you should start learning now.
There are several ways to get certified. The most common way is through formal training programs offered by companies.
These programs usually last from two weeks to three months. They include classroom instruction, practical exercises, and hands-on practice.
However, there are other ways to get certified without spending much time or money.
One such option is to take a course online. There are plenty of websites offering courses that teach forklift operation.
Some of these sites offer free courses, while others charge fees ranging from $10 to $100 per month.
The good news is that all of the options mentioned above will help you learn how to operate a forklift safely. You can use this knowledge to make your job as a forklift driver easier and safer.
Let’s take a look at how you can get your forklift certification for free, or whether you will always have to pay to some extent.
How Much Do Forklift Training Classes Cost?
If you decide to enroll in a class, you may be surprised to find out that it costs quite a bit of money. However, if you are willing to put in the effort, then you can save a lot of money.
For example, when I took my first forklift training program, I was charged about $1,000. This included tuition, books, transportation, meals, and lodging.
By comparison, today I am able to attend classes for free. In fact, I am currently enrolled in an online course that teaches me everything I need to know about operating a forklift.
I’ve also taken a couple of short courses on YouTube. I found them to be just as effective as taking a full course.
However, you have to remember that you need the correct certification that OHSA requires you to use a forklift.
If you are looking for a job as a forklift operator, you need to comply with the OHSA guidelines.
They will have their own policies and training subjects that you need to complete before they will certify you and allow you to use a forklift legally.
You also need to pass a written exam, either in person or online, and an in person evaluation to ensure that you have learned all of the necessary skills.
So this means that, unfortunately, you will need to use classes that require a fee before you can get your forklift license.
Most classes that are in-person will cost from $400 to $500, while online courses often cost less at $60.
But when you don’t want to pay for your courses (these fees can all add up!) how can we get them for free?
Luckily, there are quite a few ways in which we can use free resources to get your training for forklift operating.
Free Online Courses
If you want to be a forklift operator, but do not know where to start, then you might consider taking an online class.
Many companies offer their employees free classes on topics like safety, equipment maintenance, and forklift operation.
This is because they understand that it is better to train their workers than to lose them due to accidents.
For example, if you live in New York City, then you may want to check out the Safety Training Center’s website. It offers free safety classes for both new hires and experienced operators.
Another great resource is the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Their website provides information about OSHA regulations, including those related to forklifts.
If you were to use a free online course, make sure that you know what the curriculum is for the written and in person tests so that you are learning the relevant information.
This is the potential issue that comes with free online courses – you might not be learning the right information for your forklift exams.
Online Classes Are Not Always Free
Although many companies provide training classes, you still need to pay for them. In fact, the cost of attending a class varies depending on the type of school, the number of hours required, and the location.
Some schools require you to attend every session. Others allow you to attend only one or two sessions each week. Still others allow you to attend the sessions whenever you feel necessary.
Some schools also charge extra fees for certain materials. For instance, if you enroll in a program that requires you to purchase a book, then you will have to pay for it.
So, bear in mind that not all online forklift classes are free. Another thing to consider is that online courses don’t give you hands-on experience with a forklift like other classes do.
This means that you might not be learning all there is to know about forklifts in order to get your forklift certification.
Obtaining A Forklift License
You’ll need to take some additional steps in order to receive your forklift license. Once you have obtained this, you will be able to start your training and get to using a forklift much quicker.
The first step is to apply for your license through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state.
There are three ways in which you can get your forklift license. Let’s take a look at these now to see which is the best option for you.
Ask Your Employer
Some employers, who need their employees to be able to control a forklift with the correct certification, will be willing to pay for their license and training.
So, before you go out and spend your own money on a forklift program and license, you should ask your employer if they are going to cover the costs.
While this is the best case scenario, it doesn’t always work out this way. However, if your company is going to provide the evaluation for the license and further training for certification, then your job is done!
Leave it to your employer to set all of this up and revel in the simplicity.
Another benefit of this route is that you will get hands-on training around the warehouse and sites that you are going to be using the forklift the most within, so you can get to know the area while learning on the job.
As a whole, this is by far the easiest way of obtaining your forklift license – and it’s free!
Getting An Evaluation: Community College
Another option is to obtain an evaluation from a community college. You could even find a vocational school that offers forklift training.
If this is the route you choose, then you will want to make sure that you follow the rules and requirements of the vocational school.
These may include paying tuition, completing any prerequisites, passing the test, and following any graduation requirements.
If you decide to pursue this route, then you will want a forklift evaluation. This will help you determine whether or not you meet the minimum standards needed to operate a forklift safely.
It will also tell you what kind of training you need to complete in order to become certified.
Learning at a community college will usually consist of one 8-hour day for between $70 and $200.
You’ll most likely have 4 hours of learning from a video or handbook, then the rest of the day learning hands-on training for how to use a forklift.
Getting An Evaluation: Material Handling Company
The final option is to get an evaluation from a material handling company. They will evaluate you based on your skills, knowledge, and abilities. They will then train you on how to operate a forklift properly.
Afterward, you will be given a forklift license and then you’re ready to roll!
This is the most expensive route, but it does offer the most comprehensive training. You will learn everything about operating a forklift from safety to maintenance.
In addition, you will get to practice on real equipment.
The cost of getting evaluated varies depending on the type of business you work for. Some companies charge as much as $1,000 per person. Others charge less than $100.
While this is an interesting route to go down, it is still the most expensive. Therefore we won’t talk about it too much as that is not the purpose of this article!
Getting Your Forklift Certification For Free
Now that we have learned more about the different ways you can go about getting your certification, how are you going to apply this knowledge to get trained and licensed for free?
It can be a more lengthy process to get this for free, as you will have to practice independent learning rather than having a skilled professional tell you exactly what you need to know.
Remember that everything you do needs to be inline with OHSA guidelines.
If you do not learn the material that they require you to know, you might not pass the test and evaluation. So, make sure that you are aware of what you are learning and whether it is relevant.
Question: Are You Already Employed By A Material Handling Company?
If the answer to this question is yes, then we strongly suggest that you ask your employer whether they will cover the costs of your training.
If they will, then you can leave them to find the best courses for you to do. It is always worth asking so that you don’t have to put more time and money into training than you have to.
If the answer is no to this question, or your employer won’t cover the cost of your training, then you can move onto the following steps.
Step 1: Written Test
The cheapest way to get through the written test is to use free online courses that are in line with OHSA’s guidelines.
Make sure that you are learning only relevant information. You can also look up the syllabus of what OHSA requires you to know about forklift usage before taking the test.
Learn as much relevant information as you can as it will also come in handy for the in person evaluation.
Step 2: In Person Evaluation
Once you have passed the written test, you need to get evaluated by a professional to ensure that you are ready to start operating a forklift.
The cheapest way to do this is to be evaluated by someone who you already work with, and this will be free.
However, if you do not currently have a job but need an evaluation, you will need to complete a course at a community college.
Here you will be evaluated and get some hands-on training before completing your certification.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand how to get forklift certification for free.
We have covered all the options available to you and explained why each one works well. So now you just need to pick which method suits you best. Good luck!