How To Get Free Forklift Certification? (4 Sure Ways)

How To Get Free Forklift Certification?

Embarking on a journey to earn your forklift certification without spending a dime might seem like a daunting task, but it’s absolutely possible and can be a game-changer for your career.

Forklift operators are in high demand across various industries, from warehouses to construction sites, making this certification not just a piece of paper, but a ticket to new job opportunities and possibly higher pay.

But why pay for something when you can get it for free? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of snagging that forklift certification at no cost to you.

From understanding what this certification is all about, to where you can find programs that won’t charge you a penny, we’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re looking to boost your resume or ensure you’re a pro at maneuvering these mighty machines safely, stick with us.

We’re diving into the world of free forklift certification, showing you step by step how to lift your career to new heights—literally and figuratively—without lightening your wallet.

Read related article: Online Forklift Refresher Training: How Often Should You Do This

1. Finding Free Forklift Certification Programs

Find Government-Funded Programs

To get your forklift license for free through government-funded programs, you have several options depending on your location and eligibility. These programs are designed to provide skills training in industries that are in high demand, including warehousing and logistics, which often require forklift operation skills.

  1. Skills First Program in Victoria, Australia: This Victorian Government initiative offers access to government-subsidized training for courses in growth industries, including forklift operation. Starting from January 1, 2024, upskilling will no longer be an eligibility requirement, allowing more individuals to access funded training even if they have prior qualifications. MultiSkills Training is one provider that offers the Certificate III in Civil Construction Plant Operations under this program. Eligibility requires you to be an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or a New Zealand citizen, physically present in Victoria during the training​​.
  2. Free2Learn in the UK: This organization provides a range of courses, including forklift training, for individuals 19 or older who are on state benefits or low income. Their warehouse supply and logistics course covers a wide range of skills including the operation of equipment and safety at work, alongside forklift truck licensing​​.
  3. Queensland Government Programs, Australia: Queensland offers free and subsidized training for priority skills, which can include forklift operation. The process involves checking your eligibility, exploring funded courses, and contacting an approved provider. Training subsidies can cover all or part of your course fees​​.
  4. Job Centre Services in the UK: Job Centres can assist you in accessing forklift training programs. The process includes registering for services, attending an initial meeting to discuss your goals and needs, and exploring training opportunities. Eligibility criteria and the application process for funded training programs will be explained by your job advisor​​.

In all cases, eligibility criteria can include age, residency status, income level, and educational background. It’s essential to contact the relevant organizations directly to confirm your eligibility and understand the application process for these government-funded programs.

Read related article: How Long Does It Take To Get Good On A Forklift?

2. Get Trained By a Non-Profit Organization

To obtain a forklift license for free through non-profit organizations, there are several avenues you might explore, depending on your location and personal circumstances. Here are some organizations that provide forklift training and certification, often coupled with additional support like job placement assistance:

  1. Fort Worth HOPE Center: Located in Texas, this center offers a broad range of services aimed at fighting hunger and improving employment opportunities for those in need. Their offerings include education, job certification, and placement assistance, with forklift training being one of the programs provided. This initiative not only aims to equip individuals with necessary job skills but also to instill hope for a better future​​.
  2. Goodwill Industries International: Goodwill provides a variety of training and employment tools across the country to help individuals reach their full potential. Their services include occupational skills training, career centers for job search assistance, and on-the-job training, among others. Goodwill focuses on preparing individuals for positions in various industries, including those that require forklift operation skills​​.
  3. Community Forklift: Although primarily a nonprofit reuse center for home improvement supplies, Community Forklift also engages in community upliftment by distributing free materials to those in need, creating jobs, and promoting sustainability. While they do not offer forklift training directly, their model of supporting community development and employment may provide indirect pathways to gaining such skills or finding organizations that do​​.
  4. Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO): CEO is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services to individuals with recent criminal convictions. The CEO’s programs, available in multiple locations across the United States, include forklift training and job placement assistance, highlighting their commitment to reintegration and skill development for ex-felons​​.

When considering these organizations for forklift training, it’s essential to contact them directly to inquire about the availability of training programs, eligibility criteria, and application processes. Many of these programs are designed not only to provide technical skills like forklift operation but also to support broader goals of employment readiness, self-sufficiency, and community development.

3. Company-Sponsored Training

The cost of getting a forklift license, if not covered by an employer, generally ranges from $100 to $500, depending on the course’s complexity and the training center’s reputation. Additional costs may include examination fees (about $50 to $100) and materials like textbooks or safety gear (an extra $20 to $50)​​.

One of the key advantages of company-sponsored training is that employees can enjoy full benefits once they complete the training. These benefits often include medical, dental, and vision insurance, life insurance, and eligibility for 401(k) plans and paid vacations. Entry into such programs usually requires meeting specific criteria, such as age, having a valid driver’s license for the past 12 months, passing a DOT physical, and possibly obtaining a US passport and other endorsements​​.

OSHA’s standard (29 CFR 1910.178) specifies that forklift operator training must be based on several key areas: general principles of safe operation, the type of vehicle being used, the hazards of the workplace, and the general safety requirements of the standard itself. This comprehensive approach ensures that operators are well-equipped to handle the machinery safely and efficiently.

By providing this training, employers not only comply with legal requirements but also contribute to creating a safer working environment. Moreover, this training is typically provided at no cost to the employee, making it an excellent opportunity for workers to acquire valuable skills and certification without incurring personal expenses.

It’s crucial for employees to actively engage in this training and take full advantage of the opportunity to learn and demonstrate their competence in operating forklifts. This not only benefits their personal skill set but also enhances their value to the employer and contributes to the overall safety and productivity of the workplace.

4. Community and Vocational Schools

Community and vocational schools offer structured forklift operator training programs that not only adhere to safety and operational standards but also often culminate in certification, which is a requisite for operating forklifts professionally. For instance, the City Colleges of Chicago provide a Basic Certificate in Forklift Operation and Safety, designed to prepare students to become safe and effective forklift operators. This program covers the essential knowledge for operating lift trucks, including safety inspections and actual operation techniques​​.

Similarly, the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland, Ohio, offers an eight-hour introductory Forklift Operator Training class. This course aligns with OSHA 1910.178 objectives and blends classroom learning with hands-on training in warehouse conditions. This program is aimed at equipping beginners with the foundational knowledge and skills for forklift operation within the supply chain sector, highlighting practical aspects like picking up and placing loads, parking, charging, and refueling the forklift, among others​​.

These programs underscore the importance of safety and operational proficiency in forklift operation, aiming to mitigate workplace accidents and enhance efficiency. By completing such training, students not only gain vital operational skills but also position themselves as valuable candidates for roles requiring forklift operation in various industries.

For those interested in pursuing a career that involves forklift operation or looking to enhance their skill set in this area, exploring such programs at local community or vocational schools can be a beneficial step forward.

If You Can’t Find Free Training, Why Not Take Online Training

If you’re unable to find free forklift training, considering online training as a more affordable option is a practical idea. Here’s why online training can be a good alternative:

  1. Cost-Effective: Online courses are typically less expensive than in-person training. They often have lower overhead costs, which means they can charge less for the training.
  2. Flexible Scheduling: Online training allows you to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule. This is especially useful if you are working or have other commitments.
  3. Wide Range of Options: There are many online forklift training courses available, giving you the opportunity to choose one that best fits your needs and budget.
  4. No Travel Costs: Since the training is done online, you save money on travel and accommodation costs that you might incur with in-person training.
  5. Immediate Access: Online courses often allow you to start learning immediately after signing up, so you don’t have to wait for a scheduled class date.
  6. Learn from Anywhere: All you need is an internet connection, and you can access your training from anywhere, be it at home, a café, or during a break at work.
  7. Support and Resources: Many online courses provide additional resources such as study guides, practice tests, and sometimes access to an instructor for questions.

However, it’s important to remember that while online training is more affordable and convenient, it typically doesn’t offer hands-on experience with a forklift, which is crucial for practical skills. Therefore, if you choose online training, it might be beneficial to also seek opportunities for practical experience.

You Can Get Trained By A Colleague On-The-Job For Free

Getting informal training from a colleague on the job might seem convenient and cost-effective, but opting for professional training has undeniable benefits that far outweigh the initial convenience of informal training. Here’s why taking the professional route for forklift training is a smarter choice:

  1. Staying Safe: Getting trained right means you’re less likely to get hurt or hurt someone else. It’s like learning to drive a car properly instead of just figuring it out as you go.
  2. Learning the Full Deal: A pro trainer teaches you all the important stuff, not just how to move the forklift but also how to keep it running right and follow the rules.
  3. Getting the Paper: When you finish a pro course, you get a certificate that proves you know your stuff. Employers love seeing that because it shows you’re legit.
  4. Keeping Out of Trouble: In lots of places, the law says you need that certificate to drive a forklift. Having it means you and your boss won’t have to worry about breaking any rules.
  5. Feeling Confident: Knowing you’ve been trained properly can make you feel more confident on the job. You’ll know you’re doing things the right way.
  6. Better Job Chances: Showing you went the extra mile to get trained can help you get better jobs or move up where you work. Bosses like people who take their work seriously and want to learn.

So, even though learning on the job for free sounds okay, going for professional training is the way to go. It sets you up for a better, safer job experience.

Leveraging Your Certification

So, you’ve got your forklift certification in hand—congrats! You’re now holding a key that can unlock many doors in the job market and boost your career. Here’s how to make the most of it:

Finding a Job

  • Polish Your Resume: Add your shiny new forklift certification to your resume. Make it stand out by listing it near the top or in a special “Certifications” section. This tells employers right away that you’ve got the skills they need.
  • Hit the Job Boards: Jump onto job websites and use filters to search for forklift or warehouse positions. Your certification is your golden ticket, so mention it in your applications and cover letters.
  • Network, Network, Network: Tell everyone you know that you’re certified and looking for work. Sometimes, it’s who you know that gets you the job. Don’t be shy about reaching out to contacts in the industry or attending job fairs.

Career Advancement

  • Speak Up: Got your eye on a promotion or a raise? Use your certification as leverage. Schedule a chat with your boss and lay out how your new skills can benefit the company, like improving safety or efficiency.
  • Be a Safety Champion: Show off your knowledge by being a leader in workplace safety. Employers love employees who contribute to a safer work environment, and this could make you stand out when it’s time for promotions.

Continuing Education

  • Stay Curious: Forklift technology and safety guidelines can change. Keep your skills fresh by looking for advanced courses or certifications. Being up-to-date makes you even more valuable to employers.
  • Expand Your Horizons: Consider learning about related areas, like supply chain management or logistics, through online courses or community college classes. This can open up even more career paths.
  • Look for Employer Support: Some companies might help pay for further education if it’s related to your job. Ask your HR department if they offer tuition assistance or professional development funds.

Remember, your forklift certification isn’t just a piece of paper—it’s a step forward in your career. By smartly leveraging it in your job search, aiming for advancement, and continually boosting your skills, you’re setting yourself up for success. Keep pushing forward, and you’ll see how far this certification can really take you.


To wrap it up, getting a free forklift certification can really help you get better job opportunities and make sure you’re safe and good at handling forklifts. You can look for free training online, at local schools, through government programs, or even ask your employer if they can help.

Non-profits can also offer training and extra help like finding a job. Each option has different steps and things you need to do, but they all aim to teach you how to use a forklift well.

And if you can’t find free training, online courses are a cheaper choice. This guide is a good starting point for anyone wanting to get forklift certified without spending a lot.


  • Mike Pattenson

    Mike Pattenson is a seasoned forklift trainer with over 15 years of experience in the field. Mike holds several certifications in forklift operation, safety training, and workplace hazard management. He is a certified OSHA outreach trainer, which enables him to provide specialized training on occupational safety and health standards. Additionally, he has completed advanced courses in instructional techniques and adult education.

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