Do you have a knack for understanding how to operate machinery? If so, and you like working as part of a team, a job as a Forklift Operator may be a good fit for you.
Forklift Operators typically work in a warehouse, construction site, or industrial environment. They’re responsible for moving materials from one location to another. This job may sound simple, but it can be essential to a company’s daily operations. A Forklift Operator moves everything from pallets, cases, and boxes to construction and industrial materials where they need to be safely and efficiently.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Operate industrial equipment for the accurate unloading, loading, storing, shipping, and receiving of products and materials
- Stack, package, band, shrink-wrap, and label products and materials
- Accountable for the safe and efficient operation of associated machinery
Education and Background
This position requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Forklift Operators need to be certified, preferably with on-the-job experience.
Skills and Proficiencies
- Knowledge of logistical supply chain methods and procedures
- Knowledge of inventory control
- Ability to read and understand delivery orders
- Ability to follow safe work practices and procedures
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Forklift Operator with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $26,000
- Tampa, Florida: $29,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $25,000
- Miami, Florida: $30,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $28,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $29,000
- Houston, Texas: $27,000
- Los Angeles, California: $34,000
- New York City, New York: $36,000
- Seattle, Washington: $29,000
- Overall: $30,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $35,000
- Tampa, Florida: $31,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $34,000
- Miami, Florida: $35,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $31,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $35,000
- Houston, Texas: $33,000
- Los Angeles, California: $39,000
- New York City, New York: $40,000
- Seattle, Washington: $33,000
- Overall: $34,000
Similar Job Titles
The career path for a Forklift Operator starts by obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as earning forklift operator certification. Often, new Forklift Operators might begin with an entry-level position but can receive promotions over time with experience.
With automation affecting almost every industry in some way, it’s reasonable to expect that it also will impact Forklift Operator functions to a degree. Many Forklift Operator tasks can only be done by a person, however.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Material Moving Machine Operators (which includes Forklift Operators), is projected to experience four percent job growth through 2028, about as fast as average for all occupations.
The typical work hours for a Forklift Operator are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in a warehouse, construction, or industrial setting. With materials often shipping around the clock, overtime hours aren’t uncommon.
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