forklift driver with a load

One of the most common and in-demand jobs in any warehouse is that of a forklift driver.

Forklift drivers are necessary for virtually any industry you can think of, from lumber to food processing. If you’re considering becoming a forklift driver, the following qualifications will get you on the right track. 

These qualifications break down into a few different categories: safety, general knowledge and experience, and legal. Depending on the company a driver is hoping to work for, there can be varying costs associated with achieving these qualifications. 

Another critical aspect to consider is whether or not you have the personality and work ethic for a forklift driver. Several traits tend to overlap with people who excel at this job. 

The Top Qualifications for a Forklift Driver


Forklift drivers must prioritize safety to be effective at their job. Unfortunately, forklifts can be dangerous, and accidents involving a forklift are some of the most common warehouse accidents. 

One non-negotiable qualification is an OSHA certification. Every forklift driver must complete an OSHA training program that involves both classroom and hands-on training. Drivers must repeat this certification every three years to ensure the safety of themselves and pedestrians. 

Depending on the industry a driver is working in, the employer may require additional safety courses. 

General Knowledge and Experience

Forklift drivers would benefit from having a general knowledge of their industry, warehouses, and safety. Every industry has its unique risks that need to be understood before jumping into the work. 

Drivers with previous warehouse experience such as floor time in a warehouse and familiarity with load sounds, heaving lifting, and outdoor work conditions will be well-prepared for their new job. 

Another way to make yourself desirable to employers is to demonstrate respect and understanding of warehouse safety standards. This can include having safety awards from previous warehouse jobs or general knowledge of top-of-the-line safety technology such as HIT-NOT


Legally there are a few qualifications that you must hit industry-wide to become a forklift driver. For instance, you must be 18 years old, you will likely be required to have a GED or diploma, and you may even be required to have a driver’s license. 

The OSHA certification is another legal requirement that should not be overlooked. These conditions are mandatory across the board. 


There are also some traits and characteristics that might make someone more qualified for becoming a forklift driver. 

Forklift drivers should focus on safety, plenty of stamina to work long hours and be skilled at time management. Patience, attention to detail, and flexibility with hours are also desirable traits for a forklift driver. 

The warehouse industry would not function without forklift drivers. They are essential in almost every way. However, these jobs are not something to jump into lightly. They require skills and knowledge that most people do not have. Forklift drivers are expected to work long shifts and always stay on top of their game. In addition, they are responsible for a considerable portion of the safety precautions that take place within a warehouse. 

To learn more about safety technology that can simplify the job of a forklift driver, contact SynTech. Our safety technology can make it easier to achieve all the safety requirements you may have within your warehouse, and then some.