How To Get A Forklift Certification In California

If you want to get a job driving a forklift in California, you need a forklift license. Getting a forklift license is similar to getting a driver’s license, you have to prove you know what you’re doing. The license also specifies what type of forklift that the operator is certified to use (electric, pneumatic tire, rough terrain, etc.) in the same way your driver’s license might have a motorcycle or hazardous material endorsement.

California Forklift Certification Requirements

You don’t need a driver’s license to operate a forklift in California, but only properly-trained and licensed forklift operators may get behind the wheel of a forklift. View Cal OSHA’s regulation here.

Some employers offer on-site forklift training for new hires, while others make it a job requirement.

Steps to Get a Forklift License

To get a forklift license in California you need:

  1.  Classroom training
  2. To pass a written exam
  3.  Hands-on training

OSHA requires both classroom training and hands-on driving. Beware of forklift certification classes that only offer one or the other.

We can provide on-site forklift certification training at a customer’s facility and we offer forklift certification classes at our locations in the East Bay, Fresno Sacramento and Salinas. On average, forklift training takes about four hours to complete.

Step One: Classroom Training and Exam

Classroom training includes video presentations and a written exam. The classroom portion focuses on health and safety concerns the operator needs to know. For example, what makes a forklift stable and what will cause it to become unstable, which could lead to a tip over. Our program also covers all related Federal and State OSHA forklift regulations, warehouse and loading dock safety, pedestrian safety and more.

Step Two: Hands-on Forklift Training

Hands-on training includes more than just learning how to operate a lift truck. Participants first learn how to do an OSHA-compliant pre-shift inspection before moving on to the finer points of maneuvering a forklift. Before being certified, students must navigate through obstacle courses and demonstrate proper use of the forklift’s controls to lift and lower materials.

If training is done at a customer’s facility, we customize the program to make use of on-site equipment and the actual work environment. If the class takes place at a Total Industries facility, students are certified on Class 1, 4 and 5 forklifts but should expect to complete additional, site-specific training with their employer. Upon completion, each successful participant receives a certification card, which is good for three years.

How often does a forklift certification need to be renewed?

Refresher training is required every three years, but there are situations when retraining may be required sooner.  Learn more about OSHA’s forklift operator refresher training requirements.  

Forklift Certification Training in The Bay Area and Central California

We offer bi-lingual forklift certification training (English and Spanish) at our locations in: Sacramento, Fresno, East Bay (Livermore) and Salinas. Our trainers can also come to your facility any time, including nights & weekends, and provide on-site forklift certification and refresher training. Powered power jack, scissor lift and Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) training and certification is also available. We service the entire Bay Area, Sacramento, the Central Valley and the central coast.

On-site forklift training gives your employees the opportunity to use familiar equipment and you get a program specific to your company’s needs. Our instructors are knowledgeable of the current regulations and will ensure complete compliance with all federal and state OSHA requirements.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about forklift certification or refresher training. We also have a Train the Trainer program that allows you to have an employee conduct forklift operation certifications.

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