Forklift Certification in New Jersey – What Aspiring Operators Should Know

If you’re interested in entering a career field with plenty of upward mobility and tremendous demand, then obtaining your forklift certification in New Jersey should be high on your priority list. Why consider going into forklift operation, rather than another area of the wider warehousing industry or something else completely? Actually, there are quite a few reasons to consider going this route.

National Trends

We’ll begin our exploration with a look at the national trends surrounding forklift operation. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles information on all industries in the country, and projects job growth, wage changes and the like, as well as offering a general indicator on expected demand and other factors. The BLS lumps forklift operators in with all other material moving machine operators, which can include everything from motorized pallet jacks to scissor lifts, but the numbers for these areas are quite impressive.

The overall job outlook for the segment is good, with a projected 43,700 positions being added over the next 20 years. Job growth is slightly better than average, and the median pay as of 2017 was $34,830 per year or $16.75 per hour.

As you can see, earning your forklift certification in New Jersey can allow you to embark on a very rewarding career path. However, what about your local outlook? Which companies are hiring in New Jersey? What can you expect to earn in the Garden State as a forklift operator?

The Local Career Outlook for Professionals with Forklift Certification in New Jersey

Digging into the industry in New Jersey, we find that things vary greatly from one employer to another, as well as through whichever online source you’re investigating. For instance, Glassdoor.com reports that the average salary for a forklift operator in NJ is $30,000 per year, with a low of $23,000 per year, and a high of $40,000 per year. In comparison, Indeed.com reports that the median income in the state is $13.35 per hour, which is slightly above the national average according to that site.

Forklift Certification in New Jersey Career

What companies might you work for if you were to earn your forklift certification? New Jersey professionals can actually find work with a host of different companies, and as you might imagine, your compensation will vary significantly from one to the other. Below, we’ve listed some of the companies hiring forklift operators and the rate offered at the time of this writing. Note that all positions are located within New Jersey itself:

  • Home Depot – $16 per hour
  • Nestle – $16 per hour
  • Walmart – $14 per hour
  • Lowe’s – $30,000 per year
  • Costco – $19 per hour
  • Sam’s Club – $13 per hour
  • BJ’s – $12 per hour
  • FedEx – $21 per hour
  • DHL – $13 per hour
  • Americold Logistics – $17 per hour
  • Shaw Industries – $19.84 per hour
  • RLS Logistics – $14.62 per hour

As you can see from the information above, there’s quite a wide range in terms of what you might earn as a forklift operator. There are also many, many potential employers in a host of different industries. From warehouse stores to big box retailers to logistics companies to delivery companies, there’s something out there to suit your needs in terms of scheduling, pay and career growth.

With all that being said, it’s important that you understand how to go about making yourself the most attractive new hire for those companies. For job seekers and employers, training for forklift certification in New Jersey is vital. Having this on your resume improves your changes significantly.

What’s Covered in Certification Training?

To be completely clear, there is no requirement for forklift operators to be licensed – in fact, there is no such thing as a “forklift license”. However, OSHA does require that your receive certification training covering a wide variety of topics. According to the letter of the law, that training is actually your employer’s responsibility, not yours. Of course, given the choice between two applicants, one with forklift certification and one without (and likely without any experience), an employer is more than likely going to go with the employee who is the better fit for their needs.

Get Your Forklift Certification

Obtaining training for forklift certification in New Jersey will require that you complete two distinct phases. The first of this is theory work, and it consists of several topics. You’ll need to learn about the type of forklift that you’ll be operating (traditional forks, pole, gasoline, natural gas, etc.), as well as all of its features, functions, safety equipment, and more. The second section deals with the environment in which you’ll be working, including hazards like ramps, or dealing with trailers. The final section is dedicated to materials, such as palletized canned goods, rolls of carpet, palletized electronics or other sensitive equipment, and the like.

The second phase of your training is actually a physical demonstration using the forklift you’ve been trained to operate. You’ll perform this demonstration in front of the hirer to allow them to evaluate your skills, knowledge, ability to operate safely in the environment, and other factors.

How Is Training Provided?

When you seek out forklift certification in New Jersey, you’ll find that it can be delivered in two ways. One of those is the traditional in-person format. This works fine for some learners, but it comes with a significant time commitment, and will also add wear and tear to your vehicle, and increase your costs in fuel (going to and from class). The second option is to take an online certification course. These can be taken on a computer, or even through a tablet or smartphone. They do not require you to be physically present, and provide a firm grounding in all areas of theory work, leaving only the in-person demonstration portion with the hirer.

For Hirers: If you’re an employer, you know the onus that forklift training places on your business. It’s time-consuming. It puts additional wear on your equipment. It slows down the onboarding process. Online training can help you get around those issues while still ensuring that you’re making smart, savvy decisions in terms of operators.