Machine or forklift operators specialise in warehouse transportation and drive industrial vehicles to load and unload warehouse materials. They are responsible for shipping and receiving warehouse items and transporting materials to different locations within the facility.

This requires optimizing loads to ensure operational efficiency, securing loads to machines before transportation, inspecting vehicles for damage, scheduling vehicles for maintenance and repair, and operating and managing technical equipment.

Machine or forklift operators are also often responsible for managing inventory with RF scanning equipment, picking and dropping orders for shipment, identifying workplace safety hazards, and adhering to safety standards and production schedules.

Since machine or forklift operators often move sensitive cargo, their jobs require attention to detail, precision, and steady hands. They also need strong time management skills and to be able to work well with others.

A high school diploma or GED is sufficient for this role, but job seekers may need a forklift operation certificate as well.

Machine or forklift operators typically earn $13.68 an hour, which translates to $28,460 a year. The career is expected to grow by 4% between 2018 and 2028, creating 32,600 new jobs during this timespan.

What Does a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Do

There are certain skills that many machine operator/forklift operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed alertness, communication skills and coordination.

Learn more about what a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator does

How To Become a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator

If you're interested in becoming a machine operator/forklift operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 5.1% of machine operator/forklift operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.5% of machine operator/forklift operators have master's degrees. Even though some machine operator/forklift operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator
Top Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Jobs Near You

Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Career Paths

Average Salary for a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator

Machine Operator/Forklift Operators in America make an average salary of $32,452 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $39,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Salary
$32,452 Yearly
$15.60 hourly

What Am I Worth?

How To Become a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator
How To Become a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Career Overview

States With The Most Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active machine operator/forklift operator jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where machine operator/forklift operators earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
9North Carolina1,158$25,500
11New Jersey1,061$32,117
16New York768$32,761
22South Carolina409$26,534
30New Hampshire277$31,838
36Rhode Island156$32,486
41West Virginia110$28,168
45South Dakota69$32,602
47North Dakota65$38,277
49New Mexico49$30,985

Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Education

Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Majors

23.8 %

Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Degrees

High School Diploma

60.7 %


16.7 %


12.3 %

Top Skills For a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.2% of machine operator/forklift operators listed safety standards on their resume, but soft skills such as alertness and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Machine Operator/Forklift Operator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Machine Operator/Forklift Operator resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Resume

Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Demographics

Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among machine operator/forklift operators, 10.1% of them are women, while 89.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among machine operator/forklift operators is White, which makes up 62.9% of all machine operator/forklift operators.

  • The most common foreign language among machine operator/forklift operators is Spanish at 81.8%.

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Best States For a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a machine operator/forklift operator. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, North Dakota, Hawaii, and Washington. Machine operator/forklift operators make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $41,117. Whereas in North Dakota and Hawaii, they would average $38,277 and $37,097, respectively. While machine operator/forklift operators would only make an average of $36,111 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Jobs: 108
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Massachusetts

Total Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Jobs: 1,381
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Iowa

Total Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Jobs: 502
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Machine Operator/Forklift Operators

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Top Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Employers

Most Common Employers For Machine Operator/Forklift Operator

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
2General Mills$37,603$18.0821
3International Paper$37,178$17.8766
5James Hardie$36,442$17.5226
7The Coca-Cola Company$35,827$17.22103
9Shaw Industries$34,689$16.6827

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