It goes without saying that operating a forklift is not rocket science, nevertheless, education and training is necessary if one hopes to become a certified Occupational and Safety Health Agency forklift driver. While most courses can be completed in four hours, there are brick and mortar forklift schools that teach more than the basics and provide a more in-depth education.
Online Classes Versus Forklift Schools
Both online classes and schools provide the basic education needed to become a certified forklift operator. However, forklift schools are capable of extending beyond the basic OSHA requirements. If there is interest in expanding basic forklift skills, such schools can help students step up to the next level.
Operating a forklift is good, operating different types of forklifts is better, and operating different types of forklifts plus being certified in repair and maintenance is best for increasing earning potential. Job seekers can impress potential employers by producing certification beyond driving. Repair and maintenance abilities are highly desired assets.
The Basics and Beyond
Every educational facility should teach students how to drive, inspect, and maintain forklifts. This includes raising and lowering the forks of a lift, maneuvering loads, safety inspections, and routine maintenance. The basic OSHA requirements will be met with this type of education.
Moving beyond the basic requirements are schools that teach how to drive different types of forklifts. Forklifts are designed for specific environments and with specific types of materials in mind.
- Small Forklifts: Operated by a lever to lift pallets for short distances.
- Larger Forklifts: Operated by a seated driver on a forklift that is counterbalanced against the weight of the materials so that the truck does not tip forward.
- Outdoors Forklifts: Designed especially for rough outdoor terrain and for drivers who must move materials in outdoor conditions.
Being thoroughly educated in driving the various forklift types puts an employee at a distinct advantage in the interview process.
Types Of Powered Industrial Trucks – Six Classes of Trucks
Class I -Electric Motor Rider Trucks
- Counterbalanced Rider Type, Stand Up
- Three Wheel Electric Trucks, Sit-Down
- Counterbalanced Rider Type, Cushion Tires, Sit-Down (High And Low Platform)
- Counterbalanced Rider, Pneumatic Tire, Sit-Down (High And Low Platform)
Class II -Electric Motor Narrow Aisle Trucks
- High Lift Straddle
- Order Picker
- Reach Type Outrigger
- Side Loaders, Turret Trucks, Swing Mast And Convertible Turret/Stock Pickers
- Low Lift Pallet And Platform (Rider)
Class III -Electric Motor Hand Or Hand/Rider Trucks
- Low Lift Platform
- Low Lift Walkiepallet
- Reach Type Outrigger
- High Lift Straddle
- High Lift Counterbalanced
- Low Lift Walkie/Rider Pallet
Class IV -Internal Combustion Engine Trucks -Cushion (Solid) Tire
Class V -Internal Combustion Engine Trucks -Pneumatic Tires
Class VI -Electric & Internal Combustion Engine Tractor
- Rough Terrain Straight Mast Forklifts
- Rough Terrain Extended-Reach Forklifts
It is not difficult to comprehend how more detailed understanding and experience in each class of forklift truck will result in higher wages for such expertise. Forklift schools that include such criteria are highly rated above courses offering general understanding of one or two types of forklift trucks.
Examples of Good Forklift Schools
When searching for a better than average forklift school search for schools in your state that may advertise programs that feature in-depth training. Some schools are affiliated with State training programs and could be very advantageous to research.
Other schools have well-developed programs that assure students of receiving training that focuses on specific areas. Such classes may extend eight hours or more.
- Be OSHA-compliant
- Provide hands-on operation of a sit-down counterbalanced truck, a stand-on narrow aisle picker, and a motorized hand truck
- Explain engine and motor operation as well as controls and instrumentation
- Give capacity and stability instruction
- Teach steering and maneuvering, aisle loading and unloading, stacking and tiering, tractor-trailer loading and unloading, instruments
- Explain operations in closed and open environments
Accredited Forklift Schools
Are forklift schools accredited in a manner similar to other schools of higher education? Not necessarily. However here are some tips of what to look for as far as accreditation is concerned.
- OSHA compliant
- FST (Forklift Safety Technician) Acknowledgement
- Follows NASP recommendations