forklift license in the State of North Dakota

In North Dakota, just like in any other place, you need a forklift license to legally operate a forklift. This isn't just a rule someone made up for no reason; it's a serious legal requirement.

The idea is to make sure everyone driving a forklift knows exactly what they're doing. It's not as simple as driving a car; forklifts are big, heavy, and can be pretty dangerous if you don't handle them right. That's why the law steps in to make sure operators are properly trained and certified.

First off, the legal side of things: to drive a forklift in North Dakota, you need to complete a training program that meets OSHA standards. This isn't just a suggestion; it's a must.

OSHA is a big deal because it's all about keeping people safe at work. They say you've got to have specific training and pass a test to get your forklift license. This ensures that you're not just guessing how to operate one of these machines—you actually know what you're doing.

Now, let's talk about safety. Forklifts are involved in a lot of accidents, some of which can be pretty serious. Proper training and having a license means you're less likely to be in an accident because you know how to drive the forklift safely.

You learn about things like how to load and unload safely, how to navigate around people and obstacles, and what to do in emergencies. All this knowledge goes a long way in preventing accidents and keeping you and your coworkers safe.

Another big reason for needing a forklift license is workplace efficiency. When you know how to operate a forklift properly, you can do your job more quickly and effectively. This means less time wasted on trying to figure out how to move something and more time getting the job done.

Plus, when everyone knows how to use the forklifts right, there's less downtime from accidents or damaged goods, and that's good for business.

In short, getting a forklift license in North Dakota is about following the law, sure, but it's also about keeping everyone safe and making work go smoother. It's a win-win situation.

To Get Your Forklift License, Follow These Steps

Before enrolling in a forklift training program, it's important to assess which type of forklift you intend to operate, as the training should be tailored to the specific kind of forklift truck you'll be using. This ensures that the skills and knowledge you acquire are directly applicable to your work environment.



  1. Evaluate the Type of Forklift for Training

    • Decide on the specific type of forklift you plan to operate, as training should be specific to that forklift model.
  2. Enroll in a Certification Course

    • Register for a forklift certification course offered by reputable schools or training centers.
  3. Complete Classroom Training

    • Attend classroom lectures to learn about:
      • Basics of forklift operation
      • Pre-operation inspection
      • Overview of OSHA regulations
      • Operational fundamentals
      • Safety protocols and awareness
      • Accident prevention strategies
      • Risk assessment
      • Incident reporting
      • Proper operational procedures
      • Navigating around pedestrian traffic
      • Understanding machine stability and weight distribution
    • This phase is typically about 5 hours long.
  4. Pass the Written Examination

    • Successfully complete a written exam, achieving a score of at least 70% to qualify for the practical assessment.
  5. Undergo Practical Assessment

    • Demonstrate forklift operating skills through:
      • Maneuvering the forklift
      • Arranging pallets
      • Stacking and de-stacking
      • Moving materials from various heights
      • Relocating heavy materials
      • Completing additional tasks as assigned by the instructor
  6. Receive Certification and License Card

    • Upon satisfactory completion of the practical assessment, the instructor will evaluate and determine your eligibility. If successful, the training institution will issue your certificate of course completion and a forklift license card.
  7. License Validity

    • The forklift license is valid for three years and is recognized throughout the state of North Dakota and across the United States.

These steps outline the process from deciding on the type of forklift you wish to operate, through training and assessment, to finally achieving certification.



Forklift Training Schools in North Dakota

An applicant must complete the training course, it is the utmost important step of acquiring the forklift operator license.

To get hold of a forklift operator license, the applicant must register for a training course to be provided by a trade school, nearby colleges or a center near your resident or location. Here are some of the schools and centers that offer forklift operator training in North Dakota:

  • Forklifts of North Dakota - 1808 East Main, West Fargo, ND 58078, Phone: 701-282-2334, Toll: 800-342-4964
  • Herc-U-Lift Inc. - 4333 12th Ave N, 4333 12th Ave N, Fargo, Toll Free Phone: 800-362-3500, Phone: 701-219-5811
  • North Dakota Safety Training Pros - (701) 862-2132 OR (651)-210-7717
  • Riekes Equipment - 701.281.3049, 1007 W. Main Ave, West Fargo, ND 58078
  • F-M Forklift Sales & Service Inc. - 1331 Airport Road, Bismarck, ND 58504, (701) 258-8331
  • North Dakota Safety Council - 1640 Burnt Boat Dr, Bismarck, ND 58503, Phone: +1 701-223-6372
  • Basin Safety Consulting Corporation - 4401 16th Ave West, Williston, 701-572-8140
  • United Rentals - 1820 HWY 2 & 52 WEST, MINOT, ND 58701, 701-839-6329
  • Minot Safety Training - Training is available in Bakken and Minot areas, Call: 651-210-7717 or 507-251-1235
  • Safety Works, LLC - 38 Sims St., Dickinson, Phone:701-483-9212, 701-483-9213
  • AGC of ND - Bismarck, call 701-391-SAFE (7233) or 701-793-2510

How to Choose a Training School

Choosing the right forklift training school is a crucial step towards becoming a skilled forklift operator. Here's a straightforward guide to help you pick a good training program:

  1. Look for Accredited Programs: Start by checking if the school or program is recognized by relevant authorities. Accreditation means the program meets certain standards of quality and safety. It's a good sign that you'll get the training you need to pass your certification.

  2. Check the Curriculum: Make sure the school's program covers all the essentials. A comprehensive forklift training program should include classroom learning about safety regulations, hands-on driving experience, and knowledge on maintenance and emergency procedures. You want to leave knowing how to operate a forklift safely and efficiently.

  3. Experience of Instructors: The best teachers are those who've been in the field themselves. Look for programs where the instructors have real-world experience operating forklifts. They can share insights that you won't get from a textbook.

  4. Class Size: Smaller classes mean you get more attention and more time behind the wheel. You want enough time to ask questions and practice, so check how many students are in each class.

  5. Equipment Variety: It's beneficial if the training school has different types of forklifts available. Training on various models can make you a more versatile operator, ready to handle different jobs.

  6. Cost: While you don't want to choose a school solely based on price, it's important to consider. Look for a program that offers good value for the money. Remember, investing in quality training can lead to better job opportunities.

  7. Success Rate: Ask about the school's success rate. How many of their students pass the certification test on their first try? A high success rate is a good indicator that they're doing something right.

  8. Job Placement Assistance: Some schools help their graduates find jobs after completing the program. This can be a big plus if you're looking to start working right away.

  9. Reviews and Recommendations: Finally, see what former students have to say. Online reviews, testimonials, and word-of-mouth recommendations can provide valuable insights into the quality of the training program.

Taking the time to research and choose the right forklift training school can make a big difference in your career as a forklift operator. It's not just about getting certified; it's about becoming a competent, safe, and efficient operator who's ready for the job market.

How Much You Can Make as a Licensed Forklift Operator

If you work in North Dakota, you could make an average salary of $40,403 per year, this number is according to the latest January 24, 2024, survey of Salary.Com. In South Dakota, the salary is slightly lower.

The amount you can earn as a licensed forklift operator in North Dakota can vary based on several factors, including your experience, the industry you work in, and the specific location within the state. However, to give you a general idea in more straightforward terms:

  • Starting Pay: If you're just getting started, you might see hourly wages that are a bit lower as you're gaining experience. This could be in the range of $12 to $15 per hour. Think of it as the entry-level phase where you're still learning the ropes.

  • Average Pay: As you get more comfortable and skilled at operating a forklift, the pay tends to go up. On average, forklift operators in North Dakota might earn somewhere between $15 and $20 per hour. This is the sweet spot for many operators who've got a bit of experience under their belt.

  • Experienced Operators: For those who've been in the game for a long time and possibly have specialized skills (like operating in hazardous environments or handling very delicate loads), the pay can jump even higher. Experienced operators might earn $20 per hour or more, depending on the demand and the complexity of the work they're doing.

  • Annual Earnings: When you add it all up for a full year, assuming full-time work, forklift operators can make anywhere from around $25,000 to $40,000 or more annually in North Dakota. Those with specialized skills or in high-demand areas might see earnings at the higher end of that range or even beyond.

Job Outlook

The job scene for folks who operate forklifts in North Dakota looks pretty good. If you're someone who knows how to drive these big machines that lift and move stuff around, you're in luck. Here's why jobs for forklift drivers are expected to stay strong:

  1. Busy Times Ahead: North Dakota's got a lot going on with oil drilling, farming, and making stuff. This means there's always a need for folks who can drive forklifts to move things around. Imagine all the oil we get (we're talking millions of barrels) and all the crops we grow (acres and acres of wheat, soybeans, and corn). That's a lot of moving and lifting, and it keeps forklift drivers pretty busy.

  2. Big Warehouses: Think of really, really big storerooms (like, thousands of square feet big) that need to be filled up and then emptied again. North Dakota's spot on the map makes it a great place for these giant storerooms because it's easy to get stuff in and out to other places. More big storerooms mean more jobs for people who can drive forklifts.

  3. Seasons Change, Jobs Change: When it's time to pick the crops, there's a ton of work to do really fast. All that food has to be moved and stored, and that's where forklift drivers come in. Also, when stores get ready for big shopping times, like Christmas, they need more drivers to help get all the goods out on the shelves.

  4. New Drivers Needed: Even though forklifts are getting fancier with all sorts of buttons and screens, we still need people to drive them. And as some drivers decide to hang up their hats, new spots open up for others to take over.

In a nutshell, if you're good at driving a forklift, there's plenty of work in North Dakota. With all the stuff that needs to be lifted, moved, and organized, skilled drivers are always in demand. Plus, knowing how to handle different kinds of forklifts can really come in handy and keep you busy with work.



To Conclude This

Obtaining a forklift license in North Dakota is a valuable step towards securing a promising career in various industries that rely on skilled forklift operators. The process involves choosing the right training school, completing both theoretical and practical training, and passing a certification test.

With the right preparation, you can ensure you meet the legal and safety requirements set by OSHA and become a proficient operator.

This certification not only enhances your job prospects and potential earnings but also contributes to a safer and more efficient workplace.

As the demand for certified forklift operators continues to grow in North Dakota, now is an excellent time to pursue this opportunity, improve your skills, and advance your career in this essential field.



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