Pro Tip

Online forklift certification programs are usually inexpensive, but some employers offer training for free. Check with your employer before paying for a course.

OSHA enforces on-the-job safety standards for employers and protects employees from retaliation if they become injured or report unsafe practices in the workplace. Federal law requires anyone operating a forklift to be at least 18 years old, while OSHA standards require them to earn a certification and be reevaluated every three years.

Getting certified as a forklift operator online is possible, but knowing how it works is important to ensure you’re getting the proper training for official certification.

What You’ll Learn in an Online Forklift Certification Course

Forklift certification involves three parts: formal training, practical training and an evaluation.

Formal training, the education portion of certification, comprises training manuals or videos covering truck and workplace-related safety topics, including engine operation, operating warnings, vehicle capacity, pedestrian safety and load unstacking.

The practical portion incorporates hands-on training. This step tests your ability to operate a forklift safely, so you’ll need to complete it in person at your workplace. Your employer will then observe you as you demonstrate your skills and complete a series of exercises.

After you complete both requirements, your employer will evaluate your training and determine whether you’ve passed the certification process.

Online Forklift Certification Requirements

Forklift certification programs must follow OSHA standards to ensure forklift operators get proper training. All states adopt OSHA’s forklift certification standards, so any program that meets OSHA standards is valid for certification in all 50 states.

Employers are responsible for providing hands-on training and evaluating an employee’s performance for certification. Therefore, if a certified employee changes employers, the new employer should evaluate the employee before approving them for forklift operation in the workplace, even if they already have a forklift certification.

A forklift certification is valid for three years. To renew their certification, a forklift operator must complete another round of training and evaluation. An employer can also require an operator to receive refresher training at any time if they were involved in a forklift accident or the employer believes training could improve the operator’s safety practices.

What To Consider Before Earning Forklift Certification Online

Earning an online forklift certification is a viable option if you want to do the formal training portion of the credential on your own time. However, you’ll still need to complete the practical training and evaluation in person with your employer.

Also, most online forklift certifications charge a fee, although they’re relatively inexpensive. Meanwhile, many employers pay for their employees’ training.

If your employer doesn’t offer training or you prefer to use a training program you found, an online certification program can come in handy. However, since OSHA doesn’t provide training, it’s essential to find a reputable forklift certification program that meets OSHA standards, such as the programs listed below.

Keep in mind that although many forklift certification programs don’t have enrollment prerequisites, OSHA requires forklift operators to be at least 18 years old.

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Last Update: July 8, 2024