Forklift License WashingtonWashington is a big state and you can easily find a job as a forklift operator. You can find employment in airports, warehousing and logistics companies. But before you go out there and send your resume, you need to have a forklift license. Having one can definitely be your advantage in landing a job.

Your skill as a forklift operator is very in demand in Seattle due to tight storage business operations and you can earn as much as $38,000 per year. In fact, US BLE states that Washington offers the best employment rate for forklift operators and this can be expected until the year 2020.

If you are switching careers or planning to be relocated to this state for employment as a forklift driver, here’s what you need to know:


Forklift Certification - What to Expect

If you or your employees are looking to become certified forklift operators, it's important to know what to expect from the process. Here's a general outline of what the forklift certification process typically entails:

Training Provider Selection: Before starting the certification, you must select a reputable training provider. This could be an independent training center, an online course provider, or even in-house training, depending on your company's resources.

Classroom Training:

  • Safety Procedures:  Learn about the various safety procedures associated with forklift operation. This includes understanding the potential hazards and how to avoid them.

  • Equipment Knowledge: Get acquainted with different types of forklifts, their parts, and their functionalities.
    Operational Techniques: Learn about the principles of operation, including lifting, loading, and unloading.

  • Maintenance and Inspection:  Learn how to perform basic maintenance checks and understand when professional maintenance is needed.

  • Regulatory Compliance: Understand OSHA regulations and other local regulations related to forklift operations.

Hands-on Practical Training:

  • Equipment Familiarization: Trainees will get hands-on experience with the forklift, understanding its controls and features.

  • Driving Practice:  Practice driving the forklift in various scenarios, including maneuvering through obstacles, stacking loads, and working in tight spaces.

  • Safe Handling of Loads:  Practice lifting, moving, and placing loads safely.

  • Emergency Procedures:  Learn and practice what to do in case of malfunctions or other emergencies.

  • Written Test: After the classroom training, trainees typically take a written test to assess their theoretical knowledge.

  • Practical Test:  Following the hands-on training, a practical test evaluates the trainee's ability to safely operate a forklift in real-world scenarios.


  • Once you pass both the written and practical tests, you'll receive a forklift operator's certification.
  • This certification is typically valid for three years, after which a refresher course and re-certification are required. Some workplaces may require more frequent refreshers or check-ups.
  • If you failed the forklift certification, you can retry.

Continuous Learning:

  • It's vital to stay updated with the latest safety procedures and regulations.
  • Periodic refresher courses or training sessions are recommended even if they aren't mandatory.


  • According to OSHA standards, forklift operators need to be re-evaluated every three years.  This may involve retaking the tests or undergoing additional training.

  • Immediate retraining may also be required if the operator is observed operating the forklift unsafely, is involved in an accident or near-miss, or is assigned to a different type of forklift.

Forklift certification not only ensures compliance with safety regulations but also equips operators with the knowledge and skills they need to operate forklifts safely and efficiently.

If you want to take the training, you need to enroll in a course offered by a training providers. Here are your choices if you are in Washinton State:


Employer-Provided Forklift Training

This only applies when you are presently employed, the one accountable for your forklift training is your employer.

Aside from the training, your company can give recertification to forklift operators in cases such as if the operator is implicated in an accident, seen driving the truck in a dangerous method that endangers the safety of himself and others, when the operator assigned to work using other forklift truck other than those he’s trained with, when there’s a change of work environment then retraining must deal with workplace specifics, and the license has expired.

If you are an employer and looking for certification for your workers, READ these topics:

Types of Forklift Trucks

  • Type One – Electric motor forklifts (counterbalanced forklifts)
  • Type Two – Electric motor narrow aisle forklifts (order pickers, reach fork trucks)
  • Type Three – Electric motor hand or hand/rider forklifts (pallet jacks)
  • Type Four – Internal combustion (IC) engine (Those forklift with solid/cushioned tires)
  • Type Five – Internal combustion (IC) engine forklifts (Those kinds of forklift with pneumatic tires)

Here are some of the related articles that you can READ to help you:


Forklift Training Schools in Washington

  • Leavitt Machinery - 17300 West Valley Hiway, Tukwila, 1-888-254-6157
  •  Mid Columbia Material Handling - Yakima: 509.457.5137; Pasco: 509.547.7413 Wenatchee: 509.663.9009; Auburn: 253.854.5438
  • SF Cert - 11000 34th Ave S Lakewood, WA 98499, 855-846-3619
  • Norlift - 512 North Fancher, Spokane, (866) 602-3424
  • Raymond Handling Concepts Corporation - 6607 S 287th St, Auburn, Toll Free: 1-888-820-8811, Phone: 1-253-333-2100
  • Toyota Lift Northwest - 19305 72ND AVE S, KENT, 253-872-7114
  • Forklift Operator Certification Services - Lakebay, WA 98349, Phone: (888) 801-9991
  • Signature Safety - 606 East Main Suite C4, Puyallup, Phone: 253-904-7244
  • Evergreen Safety Council - 12545 135th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034,
  • Clover Park Technical College - 4500 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood, WA 98499-4004, 253-589-5800
  • Star Rentals - 1919 4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134, 206-622-7880
  • Safety West Coast - 1460 Slater Road, Ferndale, WA 98248, 360-306-3289
  • H&E Equipment Services - 8810 S 208th St, Kent, WA 98031, Toll Free: 866-GO-RENTAL, Local: 253-872-8800
  • Inland Northwest AGC - 4935 E. Trent Ave., Spokane, 509.535.0391
  • United Rentals - 204 S Facnher RD, Spokane VLY, WA 99212-0753, 509-532-1235
  • Herc Rentals - Des Moines, 800-654-6659, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Teamsters Training - 2410 East Saint Helens St., Pasco, WA 99301, Phone: (509) 545-8297, Fax: (509) 546-0196
  • OHS Safety Manuals USA - 5132 South Wallace Street, Seattle, WA
  • Green River College - 12401 SE 320TH Street, Auburn, WA 98092, 253-833-9111, 253-288-3359 TDD
  • Everett Community College - 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201, 425-388-9100
  • Washington State University - 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, 509-358-7500
  • Skagit Valley College - 2405 East College Way, Mount Vernon, WA, 98273-5899, 360.416.7600

Forklift Operator Training in Washington State 
In Washington State, as in many other places, forklift operator training is essential for safety and compliance with regulations. The state has strict regulations governing the training and certification of forklift operators. You have the option to take this training either in person or online, but each mode has its specific considerations:

In-Person Forklift Operator Training:

  • Hands-on Experience:  In-person training typically offers direct hands-on experience. Trainees have immediate access to the equipment they'll be certified to use, ensuring they get practical experience.
  • Immediate Feedback:  Direct interaction with trainers allows trainees to ask questions and receive feedback on their performance in real-time.
  • Simulated Work Environments: Some in-person training facilities have simulated work environments to provide realistic training scenarios.
  • Peer Interaction:  Learning alongside peers can provide additional insights and experiences.
  • Comprehensive Evaluation:  Physical presence allows for a more thorough evaluation of the trainee's practical skills.


Online Forklift Operator Training:

  • Flexibility: One of the main benefits of online training is the flexibility it offers. Trainees can often learn at their own pace and at times that are most convenient for them.
  • Accessible Content:  Online platforms may provide a variety of training materials, including videos, animations, and interactive quizzes, enhancing the learning experience.
  • Consistency:  The standardized nature of online training ensures that every trainee receives the same information.
  • Cost-Effective:  Online courses might be less expensive than in-person training, especially when considering travel and accommodation expenses.
  • Limitation: The main drawback is the lack of hands-on experience. If you choose online training, it's essential to complement it with practical, hands-on training before operating a forklift.

Salary of Licensed Forklift Driver in this State

According to the latest report of, as of February 27, 2023 , the average salary of forklift operators in this state ranges from  $38,799 and $49,446 yearly. If you are working in Seattle, forklift operators can make a higher salary at an average of  $43,383  per year. If you want to work in Idaho, the forklift operator salary is a bit lower. 

$43,178- Allyn  $42,281- Indianola
$41,913- Amboy $44,799- Kenmore
$43,241 - Ashford $44,821- Kirkland
$43,870- Bainbridge Island $43,870- Keyport
$44,041- Baring $43,973 - Langley
$43,545 - Beaver $43,653- Lilliwaup
$43,870-Bremerton $43,862- Maple Valley
$43,936- Carnation $41,938- Neilton
$43,870- Chimacum $43,984 - North Bend
$43,350 - Coupeville $44,604 - Preston
$43,692 - Darrington $44,799- Redmond
$43,597 - Dupont $44,777- Renton
$44,180- Duvall $43,870 - Retsil
$43,934- Fall City $43,756- Sequim
$43,684- Fox Island $43,848- Suquamish
$43,952- Freeland $43,653- Tahuya
$43,680- Gig Harbor $43,692- Twisp
$43,936- Granite Falls $43,723- Vashon
$43,869 - Hobart $44,712- Woodinville


I always suggest when making career progress, a forklift train the trainer program must be taken if you want to step up as your company’s safety trainer.

You can be promoted to warehouse team leader or supervisor, if you can show sign of work attitude maturity, loyalty to the company, work productivity, so be serious at your job.


The Authorities:

For more help and assistance with federal regulations, policies and forklift licensing matters, you can visit concerning offices:

Labor & Industries (L&I), Washington State

OSHA - Washington
PO Box 44600, Olympia, WA 98504-4620
P:(360) 902-5495
F:(360) 902-4202

Cities of Washinton State

Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Kent, Everett, Renton, Federal Way, Spokane Valley, Yakima, Kirkland, Bellingham, Kennewick, Auburn, Pasco, Marysville, Redmond, Lakewood, South Hill, Shoreline, Richland, Sammamish, Burien, Olympia, Lacey, Bothell, Edmonds, Puyallup, Bremerton, Lynnwood, Longview, Parkland, Issaquah, Mount Vernon, Wenatchee, University Place, Pullman, Walla Walla, Des Moines, Lake Stevens, Spanaway, SeaTac, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Graham, Bainbridge Island, Cottage Lake, Oak Harbor, Silver Firs, Moses Lake, Kenmore, Camas, Union Hill-Novelty Hill, Salmon Creek, Orchards, Eastmont, Mukilteo, Mountlake Terrace, Hazel Dell, Silverdale, Mill Creek, Fairwood, Tukwila, Frederickson, Bonney Lake, Five Corners, Port Angeles, Battle Ground, Covington, Tumwater, Bothell West, Ellensburg, Arlington, North Lynnwood, Monroe, Mill Creek East, Martha Lake, Centralia, Bryn Mawr-Skyway, Anacortes, Sunnyside, Aberdeen, Camano, Washougal, White Center, Elk Plain, West Richland, East Wenatchee, Port Orchard, Lynden, Lakeland South, Artondale, Lake Forest Park, Snoqualmie, Fort Lewis, Ferndale, Lake Tapps, Prairie Ridge, Lakeland North, Kelso, Woodinville, Enumclaw, Klahanie, Cheney, Newcastle, Maltby, Grandview, East Renton Highlands, Sedro-Woolley, Vashon, Poulsbo, Fife, Lake Morton-Berrydale, Shelton, Edgewood, Walnut Grove, Sumner, Snohomish, Minnehaha, DuPont, Alderwood Manor, Port Townsend, Bothell East, Picnic Point, College Place, Toppenish, Lake Stickney, Liberty Lake, Gig Harbor, Burlington, Yelm, Hoquiam, Birch Bay, Midland, Fairwood CDP, Ephrata, Waller, Mount Vista, Othello, Felida, Selah, Duvall, Milton, Summit, Orting, Chehalis, Quincy, Mead, Clarkston, Parkwood, Pacific, Summit View, Lake Shore, Terrace Heights, Sequim, Sudden Valley, Clover Creek and Otis Orchards-East Farms, Stanwood, Fircrest, North Bend, Normandy Park, Brier, Airway Heights, Clarkston Heights-Vineland, Ridgefield, Bangor Base, Hobart, Steilacoom, Tracyton, Barberton, Tanglewilde, Union Gap, Finley, Wollochet, Prosser, Woodland, West Side Highway, Ocean Shores, Woods Creek, Country Homes, Town and Country, West Clarkston-Highland, Connell, East Port Orchard, Manchester, Wapato, Blaine

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