Forklift license in California

forklift license CaliforniaForklift safety training is essential because operators without proper certification can become an immediate danger to others.

With proper training, both workers and employers can benefit from it. If you’re someone who is looking for a new career in this field, having such certification can dramatically increase your chance of landing a job. If you’re an employer, the training can significantly reduce accidents in the workplace.

Taking the certification is a very straightforward approach, it only takes a small amount of your time and money to complete the training.

At the end of the successful training, the students will be given an operator card, which is also referred to as a forklift license. It is your proof of competence. The license is something you would want to obtain before commencing work with the forklift.

If you are asking how the course is being conducted to get a forklift license, here is a step by step guide in taking it:



How to Get Your Forklift License

If you are an employer, you can send your workers to school. You can also hire a trainer to conduct the course at your own workplace. Doing so, it allows the trainer to modify the program to match your workplace's needs.

If you are an individual, you can enroll in a course offered by a training school in California. You must complete the training course and pass the tests in accordance with the standard. Particularly, OSHA requires you to undergo training specific to the type of forklift you want to operate and pass the assessment.

Here's how you need to do to receive the training:

  1. Choose a school where you want to take the course.  As mentioned, the directory of training schools is below for your reference. You can read this article on how to choose the training school.

  2. Attend the classroom training. As part of the certification course, attending classroom training is a must. It only takes 4-5 hours to complete depending on the school's standard. 

  3. Take a written test. The trainer will then administer the written test. The test will assess how much knowledge you’ve gained from the classroom lectures. To help you pass it, here's an article to read.

  4. Attend the driving exercises. To get you familiarized with how the forklift works, driving exercises are performed. The trainer will supervise you on this while you do the exercises.

  5. Get your performance evaluated. The performance evaluation or the practical test is an important part of the certification course. This is where you will exhibit your skill driving the forklift. The instructor will give you instructions to do. If you make the instructor satisfied with your performance, you will be assured of receiving your forklift license. Here's an article to help you pass the practical test. Here's another guide on what areas you are going to be evaluated during the practical test

  6. Receive your credentials.  You will receive your training certificate and operator license at the end of the course. These are your evidence that you are successful in taking a training course. 

Here are some of the related guides you can browse through:



Different Forklift Training Courses You Can Take

For New Operator

Training schools usually offer courses for students who do not have prior knowledge driving forklift. it usually runs for 8 hours and it is composed of two parts. The classroom training tackles topics on workplace safety and health, current OSHA requirements, basic machine functions, hazard identification, inspection and maintenance, safe operation, and many other topics, while the actual driving is an exercise to perform a set of tasks such as a pre-operational check, starting, maneuvering, picking laden pallet, load calculation, transporting materials, storing goods at an elevated rack, post-operational check, refueling/recharging, parking in designated place, etc. 

Train the Trainer Program

If you are an employer, you can make an arrangement with the training school to provide your representative with the Train-the-Trainer program. There are two ways to receive this either by sending your representative to the school or by conducting the training at your own facility. The latter option is the ideal way because the trainer can customize the curriculum to suit the type of forklifts you're using and the condition of the workplace.

Refresher Course

The four (4)-hour refresher course can be done at the employer’s facility or at the training school, just like the previous option. The refresher course is designed for experienced operators who want to get updated with the latest regulations and programs. Refresher course is also given to operators who are involved in an accident or incidence such as in near-miss or property damage.

Forklift Training Schools in California

Prior to getting hired by a company you need your training conducted by a qualified trainer. Likewise, if you’re the owner of the business, you need to apply your operators for the OSHA-standard forklift training. Here are the training centers/providers in California:

  • SafetyNet, Inc. - Riverside, CA, Phone: +1 877-354-5434
  • Overton Safety Training, Inc. - has offered services in Anaheim, City of Industries, Fontana, Oxford and San Diego, Call: (503) 356-0403, Toll: (866) 531-0403
  • Proteus, Inc. - 1830 N. Dinuba Blvd. Visalia, Toll: (888) 776-9998
  • Iron Horse - 14189 E Foothill Blvd #103, Fontana, Phone: +1 909-476-8329
  • CertifyMe - contact: 888-699-4800, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., this company serves nationwide
  • All Star Safety Training, LLC. - 575 College Commerce Way, Upland, Phone: +1 877-251-9644
  • United Forklift Certification - 12401 Slauson Ave # B, Whittier, Phone: +1 562-945-5565
  • Forklift Academy - 21818 Lassen St, Chatsworth, Phone: +1 818-998-3277
  • Allstate Forklift - 676 West Baseline Street #B, San Bernardino CA 92410, Phone: 909-313-8068
  • Naumann/Hobbs Material Handling - 1600 E. Mission Road, San Marcos, CA 92069; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 858-207-6274; 8575, Cherry Ave., Fontana, CA 92335; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 909-303-6362
  • Southwest Material Handling, Inc. - 3725 Nobel Ct, Mira Loma, Call: (951) 727-0477
  • Forklift Academy - 21818 Lassen St, Chatsworth, Phone: +1 818-998-3277
  • Toyota Material Handling Northern California - 5809 Toyota Ave. Fresno (559) 834-9500
  • Toyota Material Handling Northern California - 2660 Port St. West Sacramento, (916) 376-0500
  • Atlast Forklift Training - 464 S Pershing Ave, San Bernardino, Phone: +1 909-888-4088
  • Central California Safety Council - 6004 N El Dorado St, Stockton, Phone: +1 209-472-7233
  • SafeLiftt Forklift Certification - 1568 Airport blvd, Napa, CA 94558, (707) 606-9555
  • Superior Forklift Training - 1235 East Francis Street Suite #G, Ontario, CA Phone:1-866-992-7774 or 1-909-474-2418
  • SoCal First Aid - 599 4th St., San Fernando, Phone: 1 800 480 5855, Fax: 1 818 838 2000
  • A-1 Forklift Certification - 950 N Tustin Ave, Anaheim, Phone: +1 562-895-6400
  • All Star Safety Training LLC - 575 College Commerce Way Upland CA91786, Toll Free: (877) 594-9347
  • Madland Toyota-Lift - 4485 Buck Owens Blvd, Bakersfield, 661.393.2491
  • Forklift Training Systems - Covers CA and other western staes, Phone: 740-763-4978 Fax: 443-947-2470
  • University of California Davis campus - 530-752-1493, FAX: 530-752-4527
  • Fidelity Safety Training - P.O. Box 1875, Atascadero, California 93423-1875, Phone:(805) 369-1152 Text Message/SMS, (800) 429-7110 Toll-Free, (805) 434-5687 Central Coast, (559) 738-6015 Central Valley, (661) 387-8001 South Valley
  • FLC - Call (888) 278-8896
  • Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation - Serving the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern part of the Central Valley, Central California, the southern part of the Central Valley, including the San Joaquin Valley.
  • Forklift University of California - Call 888-674-9992
  • Adams Safety Training - East Bay (925)-371-8435, Oakland/Berkeley Area (510)-315-3533, San Francisco Area (415)-683-7888, San Jose Area (408)-385-6600, San Mateo Area (650)-777-555
  • Safety Center Incorporated - 3909 Bradshaw Road • Sacramento, CA 95827, 800.825.7262, 916.366.7233, 916.366.1230 (Fax)
  • Creation World Safety - 19401 So. Vermont Ave. Suite A-108 Torrance, CA 90502, (310) 538-1297
  • Cromer Material Handling, Inc - 3939 West Capitol Avenue, Suite A, West Sacramento, TOLL FREE: 800.870.5438, LOCAL Phone: 916.371.2004
  • ROI Safety Services - Carson CA, 714-520-1608
  • Environment Outsource Inc. - 5932 East Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90040, Tel: (323) 310-3334
  • Modesto Junior College - 435 College Avenue, Modesto, (209) 575-7889
  • Hyundai Forklift of Southern California - 7436 Bandini Blvd Commerce, Ph: 800-660-5241 Fx:323-622-5010
  • All Purpose Safety Training Solutions, LLC - Riverside, CA 92501, (888) 501-1355, (888) 206 1271
  • Forklift Battery Store - offers Hands-On Forklift Driver Training, 855-855-5438
  • Select Equipment - Serving the Greater Los Angeles Area From Five Locations, Call (800)-788-7869
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills - 1000 E. Victoria Street, Carson, CA, 310-243-3696
  • Holt of California - 3440 E Pacheco Blvd,Los Banos, Phone: 209-826-4919, Toll Free: 800-660-4658, Fax: 209-826-6884
  • Certified Forklift Training Center - (559) 325-8097, 4934 E. Lansing Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727
  • Occupational Safety Training Systems - 14650 Central Ave, Chino, CA 91710, P: 877-404-OSTS (6787), FAX: 909-393-9713
  • OC Forklift Certification - 714-829-8260, PO Box 531 Orange CA 92866
  • AAA FORKLIFT - 1271 Columbia Ave F-6 Riverside, CA 92507 At the corner of Iowa Ave and Columbia Ave, Phone: (951) 200-4272
  • National Lift Fleet Leasing and Sales - Oxnard, Phone: 805.988.1865; Chatsworth, Phone: 888.580.5438
  • American Forklift Training Centers, Inc. - 7250 Bandini Blvd #108; Commerce, Phone:(323) 620-7000

It’s the employer’s obligation to train their forklift operators

  • The employer is responsible to test the operator’s skill driving the forklift, the employer can designate a trainer to train them.
  • The employer must strictly adhere that forklift training must meet or exceed OSHA standards.
  • OSHA inspectors can make a surprise visit at businesses, if forklift operators were found to be untrained, OSHA can impose $8,000 fine for each operator without proper certification.
  • OSHA requires the employer to conduct workplace-specific training for a new operator.
  • Visit the governing offices below for more details about certification, wages, legislation, and current rules. 



How Much Can You Make as a Licensed Forklift Operator in CA?

A forklift operator employed in California can make as much as $43,439 on average per year. The salary varies depending the location of assignment. As of February 25, 2022, Here are the towns or cities in California with high paying wages for forklift operators:

$43,458 - Anaheim $43,402 - Norwalk
$44,481 - Antioch $46,278 - Oakland
$41,252 - Apple Valley $42,028 - Oceanside
$41,650 - Bakersfield $41,541 - Ontario
$46,278 - Berkeley $43,361 - Orange
$43,983 - Burbank $41,689 - Oxnard
$41,734 - Carlsbad $43,691 - Palmdale
$43,361 - Carson $43,983 - Pasadena
$39,690 - Chico $43,602 - Petaluma
$41,967 - Chula Vista $43,365 - Pomona
$43,361 - Compton $41,400 - Rancho Cucamonga
$43,610 - Concord $41,430 - Rialto
$43,361 - Costa Mesa $46,166 - Richmond
$48,596 - Corte Madera $41,603 - Riverside
$48,611 - Daly City $41,926 - Roseville
$43,564 - Downey $42,035 - Sacramento
$48,456 - El Granada $43,087 - Salinas
$43,936 - El Monte $41,430 - San Bernardino
$41,973 - Elk Grove $41,967 - San Diego
$43,139 - Elmira $48,611 - San Francisco
$43,579 - Fairfield $48,806 - San Jose
$41,603 - Fontana $43,400 - Santa Ana
$48,712 - Fremont $41,891 - Santa Barbara
$38,687 - Fresno $48,806 - Santa Clara
$43,458 - Fullerton $48,790 - Saratoga
$43,458 - Garden Grove $43,256 - Santa Cruz
$43,983 - Glendale $41,272 - Santa Maria
$46,200 - Hayward $42,467 - Santa Rosa
$43,361 - Huntington Beach $42,643 - Simi Valley
$43,983 - Inglewood $41,567 - Stockton
$43,361 - Irvine $48,806 - Sunnyvale
$43,749 - Lancaster $41,828 - Temecula
$43,361 - Long Beach $42,320 - Thousand Oaks
$43,361 - Los Alamitos $43,361 - Torrance
$43,983 - Los Angeles $43,703 - Vallejo
$41,277 - Modesto $41,689 - Ventura
$43,180 - Monterey $41,268 - Victorville
$41,572 - Moreno Valley $38,453 - Visalia
$42,413 - Murrieta $43,365 - West Covina
$43,431 - Newhall $41,734 - Vista


If you can prove your value and worth to the company and you can deliver superior quality to your job, an employer can give you a higher wage, the same applies to an individual who can show skills driving many types of forklifts. In Oregon, CA's neighboring state, the wage is considerably lower. 



Governing Offices:

If you have further questions and matters you want to clarify, contact these offices:

California Department of Industrial Relations
455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Fl, San Francisco, CA 94102-7004
(415) 703-4810,

2000 E. McFadden Avenue, Suite 214, Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 558-4411 | (800) 963-9424

Other Locations in CA

San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Alameda, Orange, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Bakersfield, Inglewood, Irvine, Jurupa Valley, Azusa, San Benito, Huntington Beach, Atwater, Merced, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, Solano, Blythe, Brentwood, Buena Park, Burbank, Burlingame, Calexico, Imperial, Camarillo, Ventura, Santa Clara, San Diego, Stanislaus, Butte, Madera, Sacramento, Humboldt, Fremont, Fullerton, Monterey, Laguna Beach, Kingsburg, La Habra, Garden Grove, La Mesa, La Mirada, La Quinta, La Verne, Lafayette, La Puente, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Fortuna, Tulare, Lake, Fresno, Kings, Yolo, Lawndale, Kern, Placer, Tulare, San Bruno, San Carlos, Rosemead, San Francisco, Solano, Laguna Niguel, Lemon Grove, Laguna Hills, Lake Elsinore, Lake Forest, Lakewood, Lancaster, Lemon Grove, Lincoln, Livermore, Lodi, Santa Clara, Los Banos, Lynwood, Yuba, Marin, Butte, Perris, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, Pomona, Porterville, Poway, Rancho Cordova, Rancho Cucamonga, Red Bluff, Redding, Redlands, Rialto, Richmond, San Gabriel, San Jacinto, San Jose, San Leandro, San Marcos, San Pablo, San Rafael, San Ramon, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Saratoga, Shasta, Lassen, San Joaquin, Waterford, West Covina, West Hollywood, Westminster, Mendocino, Sutter, Woodside