How Do I Choose the Best Forklift School?

Misty Amber Brighton

Attending a forklift school can help you land a job as a forklift operator. Before you choose a forklift training program, it can be a good idea to do some research on the school you are considering. That way, you will know if the college is accredited by an agency that oversees workplace safety. It can also be helpful to know what types of equipment you will learn to drive, the size of each class, and how much time you will be given for hands-on training.

The best forklift training schools include both classroom and hands-on training with forklifts.
The best forklift training schools include both classroom and hands-on training with forklifts.

Many jurisdictions have a government agency that develops safety procedures for various industries. In the United States, for example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates workplace safety involving the use of machinery. Contacting your jurisdiction's workplace safety agency before enrolling in a forklift school could help you determine if the school is accredited by the organization and is in compliance with local laws concerning safe operation of these vehicles.

Students earning a forklift license must first learn the safety procedures and rules of operation in the classroom.
Students earning a forklift license must first learn the safety procedures and rules of operation in the classroom.

Touring the facility before enrolling is often advisable. While you are there, it can be a good idea to look at the various types of forklifts this training program has. Doing so can give you a good idea of whether the equipment is fairly new and reasonably maintained. Training on obsolete equipment may not adequately prepare you for a job as a forklift operator because that model may no longer be widely used.

While you are talking to school officials, you may also want to ask them about the classes themselves. You should try to find out how many students are in each class. Generally speaking, the fewer students there are in a class, the more personalized instruction you can expect. A forklift school with an instructor to student ratio of five to seven is ideal for beginning or intermediate drivers.

Forklift training will ideally include both classroom instruction and hands-on applications. In the beginning, the forklift school may provide only classroom teaching in order to lay a foundation for operating this equipment. After you obtain the basic knowledge of forklift operation, you may be permitted to drive different types of forklifts. Hands-on training should comprise at least half of the training course in order to allow you to become proficient enough to obtain forklift certification. If you have concerns about your ability to operate a forklift, you may want to find out if remedial training is available for those who are struggling.

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