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:

  • 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
  • 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

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 $39,765 on average per year. The salary varies depending the location of assignment. As of March 28, 2019, Here are the towns or cities in California with high paying wages for forklift operators:

$40,650 - Anaheim $40,597 - Norwalk
$41,628 - Antioch $43,105 - Oakland
$38,589 - Apple Valley $39,197 - Oceanside
$39,068 - Bakersfield $38,865 - Ontario
$43,105 - Berkeley $40,559 - Orange
$41,140 - Burbank $39,003 - Oxnard
$38,892 - Carlsbad $40,868 - Palmdale
$40,559 - Carson $41,140 - Pasadena
$37,126 - Chico $40,923 - Petaluma
$39,110 - Chula Vista $40,563 - Pomona
$38,620 - Coachella $38,729 - Rancho Cucamonga
$40,872 - Concord $38,753 - Rialto
$38,865 - Corona $43,270 - Richmond
$40,559 - Costa Mesa $38,923 - Riverside
$45,834 - Daly City $39,511 - Roseville
$40,749 - Downey $39,613 - Sacramento
$38,994 - El Cajon $40,303 - Salinas
$41,097 - El Monte $38,753 - San Bernardino
$39,555 - Elk Grove $39,110 - San Diego
$38,892 - Escondido $45,834 - San Francisco
$40,843 - Fairfield $44,379 - San Jose
$38,923 - Fontana $40,595 - Santa Ana
$44,291 - Fremont $39,313 - Santa Barbara
$36,449 - Fresno $44,379 - Santa Clara
$40,650 - Fullerton $40,557 - Santa Clarita
$40,650 - Garden Grove $40,486 - Santa Cruz
$41,140 - Glendale $38,605 - Santa Maria
$43,033 - Hayward $39,722 - Santa Rosa
$40,559 - Huntington Beach $39,891 - Simi Valley
$41,140 - Inglewood $38,995 - Stockton
$40,559 - Irvine $44,379 - Sunnyvale
$40,545 - Lancaster $39,130 - Temecula
$40,559 - Long Beach $39,590 - Thousand Oaks
$40,559 - Los Alamitos $40,559 - Torrance
$41,140 - Los Angeles $40,959 - Vallejo
$38,631 - Modesto $39,003 - Ventura
$40,390 - Monterey $38,605 - Victorville
$38,894 - Moreno Valley $36,230 - Visalia
$39,675 - Murrieta $40,563 - West Covina
$40,625 - Newhall


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

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