Forklift license in California

forklift license CaliforniaCompanies in California with employees who operate forklift must have OSHA required training for their operators before they can operate the heavy equipment. All operators, whether new or experienced, must take the training and prove their competence.

Or if you’re someone who are looking for a new career in this field, having a forklift license or certification can dramatically increase your chance of landing of a job.

Taking your certification is very straightforward approach, it only takes small amount of your time and minimum fee to get licensed.

How to Get Your Forklift License

If you are an employer, you can send your personnel at training center’s facility. The forklift training can also be conducted at your own workplace by hiring a  trainer. This allow the trainer to modify the program that matches to your workplace need.

Now, if you are an individual intending to get certification, you can contact training centers in California. List of training centers is listed below for your reference.

You must attend the training course and pass the examination in accordance with OSHA standards. Particularly, the CAL-OSHA requires operators to undergo training specific to the type of forklifts you want to operate.

Here are the steps you must take: 

  • Take a forklift training course from the school. You can read this how to choose the training school. As mentioned, directory of training schools is listed below for your reference. The course you will take must be specific to the type of truck you plan to drive. The course should not be specific to the brand and model.
  • You will then attend the classroom discussion. It only takes 4-5 hours depending on the standard of the training school.
  • The trainer will then administer a written exam. The test will assess how much knowledge you’ve gained from the classroom lecture. Here's what I recommend for you to pass the written test.
  • Attend the practical driving test. The trainer will supervise you on this. You will carry out sets of instructions that the trainer will give you. Here's an article to help you pass the practical test. Here's another guide on what areas you will be evaluated during practical test
  • The trainer will make evaluation. If the trainer is happy with the rating you’ve got from the written exam and from the practical driving test, he will recommend you for certification.
  • At the end of the course, you will receive your forklift certificate and a personal ID card. These are your evidence that you are successful taking a forklift training course. You can read this article when you lost your forklift license.
  • The forklift certification you will receive only last for three years. You will then have to take renewal

Here are some of the related guides you can follow:

Forklift Training Courses

For New Operator

Training centers usually conduct courses for applicants who do not have prior knowledge driving forklift. The course usually takes 16 hours. 8 hours of formal education inside classroom tackles safety procedures, CAL-OSHA requirements, forklift parts and functions, materials inventory, hazard analysis, and other topics. There will also be 8 hours of actual forklift driving operation in which student give a set of tasks to complete such as pre-operational check, starting, maneuvering, loading balance, load calculation, moving materials at height, post operational check, parking.

Train the Trainer Program

Training centers also provide Train the Trainer course for your in-house trainer. Center can send lecturer to conduct training at your on-site facility. This is very vital because the lecturer can customize the type of course to give according to type of machines personnel are operating and present working condition.

Refresher Course

The four (4)-hour refresher course can be done at employer’s facility or at the training center. The refresher course is designed for experienced operators to get updated with the latest programs, CA legislations and OSHA rules suitable to their workplace. The course and evaluation must meet OSHA requirements.

Forklift Training Schools in California

Prior to getting hired by a company you need your training conducted by 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:

  • Forklift Academy - 21818 Lassen St, Chatsworth, Phone: +1 818-998-3277
  • 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
  • A-1 Forklift Certification - 950 N Tustin Ave, Anaheim, Phone: +1 562-895-6400
  • AAA Forklift - 1271 Columbia Avenue F-6, Riverside, Phone: +1 951-200-4272
  • Graylift - 4646 E Jensen Ave, Fresno, Phone: +1 559-268-6621
  • SafetyNet, Inc. - Riverside, CA, Phone: +1 877-354-5434
  • Creation World Safety, Inc. - 19401 S Vermont Ave # A108, Torrance, Phone: +1 310-538-1297
  • Jorgensen & Co. - 2467 Foundry Park Ave, Fresno, Phone: +1 559-268-6241
  • 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
  • USA Forklift License - 336 S. Waterman Ave Suite G, San Bernardino, Call: (909)228-9006, serves other towns
  • All Star Safety Training, LLC. - 575 College Commerce Way, Upland, Phone: +1 877-251-9644
  • Certified Forklift Training Center - 4934 E Lansing Way #106, Fresno, Phone: +1 559-325-8097
  • United Forklift Certification - 12401 Slauson Ave # B, Whittier, Phone: +1 562-945-5565
  • Forklift Academy - 21818 Lassen St, Chatsworth, Phone: +1 818-998-3277
  • Southwest Material Handling, Inc. - 3725 Nobel Ct, Mira Loma, Call: (951) 727-0477

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

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

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

Operator employed in SF, California can make as much as $42,000 per year. The salary varies from city to city and town and town. As of March 31, 2017, Here are towns of California with high paying wage for operators:

$38,485 - Anaheim
$38,864 - Berkeley
$38,292 - Burbank
$38,302 - Carson
$38,038 - Concord
$42,807 - Daly City
$38,158 - Downey
$38,015 - El Monte
40,108 - Fremont
$38,485 - Fullerton
$38,485 - Garden Grove
$38,292 - Glendale
$38,377 - Hayward
$38,292 - Inglewood
$37,820 - Irvine
$38,302 - Long Beach

$38,292 - Los Angeles
$38,399 - Monterey
$38,450 - Norwalk
$38,864 - Oakland
$38,292 - Pasadena
$38,624 - Petaluma
$42,648 - Richmond
$42,807 - San Francisco
$40,701 - San Jose
$40,701 - Santa Clara
$38,818 - Santa Cruz
$40,701 - Sunnyvale
$38,302 - Torrance
$38,624 - Vallejo


In Oregon, CA's neighboring state, wage is considerably lower compare to CA. 

If you can prove your value to the company and can deliver superior quality to your job, an employer can give you offer higher wage. Or during the hiring process, if you can show more skills driving other pieces of machineries, that would be a plus factor for you to demand higher salary.  

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
www.dir.ca.gov

Cal/OSHA
2000 E. McFadden Avenue, Suite 214
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 558-4411 | (800) 963-9424
https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/california.html

Other Locations in CA

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