Interested in finding a rewarding career that offers the chance to earn a good salary? Want to make sure you have plenty of employment opportunities available to you? If that sounds like you, then becoming a forklift operator should be one of your considerations. Of course, making an informed choice about your career path is essential – what benefits might you find if you were to earn your forklift certification in Houston? What’s the job market like? What might you earn in the city? In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of what you’ll need to know to help you make a smart decision.
The Overall Outlook for Forklift Operator Positions
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, forklift operators will remain in high demand for the next 20 years. The industry is expected to add another 44,000 jobs by 2026, and the current median salary is $34,830 per year. That’s quite a bit more than what you’d earn in other positions. In terms of overall growth, the BLS points out that this segment is expected to grow by about 6% between 2016 and 2026, which is on par with most other economic sectors.
So, as you can see, there’s a lot of potential here. You’ll have a job that’s in demand, and be able to earn a good salary. Of course, those are national figures. The local story could be something completely different. What might you expect if you were to pursue forklift certification in Houston?
The Story with Houston
When you start digging into the local figures, you find that Houston falls somewhere in the middle of the national range. According to Glassdoor.com, the average annual salary for a forklift operator in the area is $30,496, which is a little less than the BLS average, but, again, that includes salaries for other heavy equipment operators, whereas the Glassdoor average is specific to this area, and to forklift operators only. The high in Houston is $41,000 per year, and the low is $24,000 per year, so even those just starting out with an entry-level position can expect to earn a good living.
What about employers, though? Where might you find work as a forklift operator? What might those companies pay? Smart questions, all of them. As you know, pay can vary a great deal from one company to another even for the same position. The following companies are hiring forklift operators at the time of this writing, and we’ve included their pay rate, as well:
- Home Depot – $16 per hour
- Nestle – $17 per hour
- DHL – $14 per hour
- Southeastern Freight Lines – $17 per hour
- Walmart – $14 per hour
- Staples – $30,000 per year
- Costco – $19 per hour
- HEB – $16 per hour
- Ford Motor Company – $39,000 per year
- O’Reilly Auto Parts – $12 per hour
- Gordon Food Service – $20 per hour
- Estes Express – $18 per hour
- PepsiCo – $17 per hour
- Shell – $23 per hour
- National Oilwell Varco – $15 per hour
- Goodyear – $19 per hour
These are just the tiniest tip of the larger iceberg – Houston is a massive employment center thanks to its role as both an international seaport, as well as a hub for overland transport and its growing role as a business center for Fortune 500 companies in all industries. In short, the choice to earn your forklift certification in Houston allows you to work with employers in pretty much any industry you might want, from groceries to wholesale, retail, freight forwarding, 3PL, petrochemicals, and more.
Getting Your Forklift Certification in Houston
Now that we have explored the value of pursuing this career path and established that it can be incredibly rewarding and very lucrative, we need to discuss a few things. The first of those is the need for certification. OSHA mandates that all forklift operators in the US be trained and certified to operate powered industrial trucks.
It doesn’t matter what your industry, or even the size of the business – if you operate a forklift, you must complete qualifying training and be certified. If you are involved in an accident, cause an injury, or are caught using the forklift in an unsafe manner, you will be required to take a refresher course, even if you just completed your certification or recertification.
Training Methods: Choosing the Best Delivery Option
There is no way around the certification mandate. It’s required, end of story. Your only real option is how you will go about getting your training. There are two choices here – you can go through an in-person class, or you can use digital technology to take your courses online.
As you might imagine, online classes are the better choice. Why, though? There are quite a few reasons, and they apply to both individual operators, and to employers. Perhaps the most important is that online courses can be taken from any location, so long as you have an Internet-connected device. Even your smartphone will work. The second benefit is that you can take the course at your own pace. With the right training provider, you actually have up to a year to take your course.
For employers, there are additional benefits. OSHA actually requires employers to create and administer forklift certification courses. That can take time and may require expertise that you don’t have. It can also be very costly, particularly if you choose to administer the course yourself. Working with a third party means that all you have to do is evaluate job applicants and employed operators after they complete their course online.
So, the choice to pursue a forklift certification in Houston is a smart one. It allows you to take advantage of a rapidly growing industry. However, you do need to choose the right option when it comes to course providers and formats.