A material handler and forklift operator is responsible for transporting and storing various kinds of goods, even including fragile or hazardous shipments. The duties and location will vary depending on the line of work or industry involved. However, most of the tasks will require efficiency in operating machinery, communication skills, and great attention to detail. Furthermore, a material handler and forklift operator must monitor products and keep an accurate record of overall activities, transport materials within allotted time and schedule, and maintain communication and coordination with co-workers and supervisors.

Material Handler/Forklift Operator Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real material handler/forklift operator resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Start using WMS and advance to CYSCO computer systems to select orders, put away and load trailers.
  • Receive parts from the manufacturers and scan parts into the inventory using warehouse management system (WMS).
  • Demonstrate ability to use RF gun and computer effectively.
  • Record data using computerize inventory tracking system like RF scanner.
  • Maintain forklifts through daily inspection checklists and perform housekeeping duties as necessary.
  • Operate a battery handling system removing and inserting batteries into all electrical forklifts throughout the facility.
  • Maintain warehouse records in accordance with inventory accuracy and ISO certification.
Material Handler/Forklift Operator Traits
Alertness is a skill that requires an acute sense of awareness and attentiveness.
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Coordination involves fluidity among moving parts in order to work together efficiently and succinctly.

Material Handler/Forklift Operator Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a material handler/forklift operator does, you may be wondering, "should I become a material handler/forklift operator?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, material handler/forklift operators have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 4% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of material handler/forklift operator opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 32,600.

Material handler/forklift operators average about $13.79 an hour, which makes the material handler/forklift operator annual salary $28,686. Additionally, material handler/forklift operators are known to earn anywhere from $24,000 to $33,000 a year. This means that the top-earning material handler/forklift operators make $9,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

Once you've become a material handler/forklift operator, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a freight handler, forklift, operator, and can handler.

Material Handler/Forklift Operator Jobs You Might Like

Material Handler/Forklift Operator Resume Examples

Material Handler/Forklift Operator Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 13% of Material Handler/Forklift Operators are proficient in Forklifts, Pallet Jack, and Safety Procedures. They’re also known for soft skills such as Alertness, Communication skills, and Coordination.

We break down the percentage of Material Handler/Forklift Operators that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Forklifts, 13%

    Operated a battery handling system removing and inserting batteries into all electrical forklifts throughout the facility.

  • Pallet Jack, 10%

    Operate manual/electric pallet jack moving inventories within the warehouse.

  • Safety Procedures, 10%

    Followed safety procedures according to company specifications while utilizing forklift to stack material for shipping and receiving.

  • Assembly Line, 7%

    Distributed high demand service parts and components to multiple assembly lines ensuring a consistent logistic based manufacturing process.

  • RF, 6%

    Recorded data using computerized inventory tracking system like RF scanner.

  • Raw Materials, 4%

    Maintained and supported large automotive manufacturing plant including, loading and unloading raw materials unto automated press machines.

Most material handler/forklift operators list "forklifts," "pallet jack," and "safety procedures" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important material handler/forklift operator responsibilities here:

  • The most important skills for a material handler/forklift operator to have in this position are alertness. In this excerpt that we gathered from a material handler/forklift operator resume, you'll understand why: "material moving machine operators must be aware of their surroundings while operating machinery." According to resumes we found, alertness can be used by a material handler/forklift operator in order to "load and unload trucks and organize the warehouse skills used organization, fork lift skills, alertness, attention to details"
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many material handler/forklift operator duties rely on communication skills. This example from a material handler/forklift operator explains why: "material moving machine operators signal and direct workers to load and unload material." This resume example is just one of many ways material handler/forklift operators are able to utilize communication skills: "helped maintain the proper parts to be pulled and in the proper location.skills usedpatience and communication with various departments. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among material handler/forklift operators is coordination. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a material handler/forklift operator resume: "material moving machine operators should have steady hands and feet to guide and control heavy machinery precisely" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "inventory control, shipping/receiving, quality control, customer service and coordination of issuing/distribution of supplies. "
  • A material handler/forklift operator responsibilities sometimes require "mechanical skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "material moving machine operators make minor adjustments to their machines and perform basic maintenance on them." This resume example shows how this skill is used by material handler/forklift operators: "experience in handling raw materials air guns, mechanical sanders, and pressure air gauges. "
  • Yet another important skill that a material handler/forklift operator must demonstrate is "visual ability." Material moving machine operators must be able to see clearly where they are driving or what they are moving This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a material handler/forklift operator who stated: "operated a fork lift and pallet jack hands on experience in performing visual inspections to ensure that materials are identified. "
  • See the full list of material handler/forklift operator skills.

    Those material handler/forklift operators who do attend college, typically earn either a business degree or a general studies degree. Less commonly earned degrees for material handler/forklift operators include a criminal justice degree or a automotive technology degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a material handler/forklift operator. We've found that most material handler/forklift operator resumes include experience from BlueLinx, Aerotek, and Adecco USA. Of recent, BlueLinx had 26 positions open for material handler/forklift operators. Meanwhile, there are 14 job openings at Aerotek and 5 at Adecco USA.

    If you're interested in companies where material handler/forklift operators make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at CEVA Logistics, Nestle, and Graphic Packaging International. We found that at CEVA Logistics, the average material handler/forklift operator salary is $37,203. Whereas at Nestle, material handler/forklift operators earn roughly $34,955. And at Graphic Packaging International, they make an average salary of $33,646.

    View more details on material handler/forklift operator salaries across the United States.

    The industries that material handler/forklift operators fulfill the most roles in are the manufacturing and retail industries. But the highest material handler/forklift operator annual salary is in the transportation industry, averaging $32,438. In the manufacturing industry they make $30,535 and average about $30,228 in the retail industry. In conclusion, material handler/forklift operators who work in the transportation industry earn a 8.9% higher salary than material handler/forklift operators in the technology industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious material handler/forklift operators are:

      What Freight Handlers Do

      A freight handler is responsible for monitoring the distribution and delivery of the freight, unloading and storing materials, and verifying the accurate information of the freight records. Freight handlers inspect the condition and quality of the goods and materials before loading into the distribution trucks for shipment. They also operate various warehouse tools and equipment to transport merchandise from the vehicle to different parts of the facility. A freight handler must be highly organized, especially in checking the correct tagging of items and conducting safety checks.

      We looked at the average material handler/forklift operator annual salary and compared it with the average of a freight handler. Generally speaking, freight handlers receive $358 higher pay than material handler/forklift operators per year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between material handler/forklift operators and freight handlers are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like forklifts, pallet jack, and safety procedures.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a material handler/forklift operator responsibility requires skills such as "assembly line," "raw materials," "cycle counts," and "inbound shipments." Whereas a freight handler is skilled in "company policies," "manual equipment," "logistics," and "customer service." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Freight handlers really shine in the retail industry with an average salary of $33,547. Whereas material handler/forklift operators tend to make the most money in the transportation industry with an average salary of $32,438.

      The education levels that freight handlers earn is a bit different than that of material handler/forklift operators. In particular, freight handlers are 0.7% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a material handler/forklift operator. Additionally, they're 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Forklift?

      The primary job of a forklift operator is to operate and manage forklifts used for moving, locating, relocating, stacking, and counting merchandise in various settings, such as construction sites and warehouses. As a forklift operator, you will unload shipments properly and safely, and stack and store them in their designated areas. In addition, you will need to report any quality variances and assist in physical inventories. Other duties that you may perform include ensuring that stock rotation is done properly, inspecting and performing preventative maintenance of forklift and other equipment, and ensuring that inventory security and control are maintained.

      The next role we're going to look at is the forklift profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $452 lower salary than material handler/forklift operators per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both material handler/forklift operators and forklifts are known to have skills such as "pallet jack," "assembly line," and "rf. "

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, material handler/forklift operator responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "forklifts," "safety procedures," "hand trucks," and "inbound shipments." Meanwhile, a forklift might be skilled in areas such as "job title," "warehouse environment," "osha," and "company policies." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      It's been discovered that forklifts earn lower salaries compared to material handler/forklift operators, but we wanted to find out where forklifts earned the most pay. The answer? The media industry. The average salary in the industry is $31,712. Additionally, material handler/forklift operators earn the highest paychecks in the transportation with an average salary of $32,438.

      On the topic of education, forklifts earn similar levels of education than material handler/forklift operators. In general, they're 0.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How an Operator Compares

      Operators are skilled workers who are in charge of working on an industrial machine or a specific aspect of the manufacturing business. They are trained to operate machines, learning how to use them. They are also responsible for the maintenance and repair of the machine, and they should be able to troubleshoot problems and provide remedies to them. They must be knowledgeable about the different parts of the machine and how to mitigate any challenges that may arise. Operators should be alert, detail-oriented, and familiar with safety and health guidelines.

      Let's now take a look at the operator profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than material handler/forklift operators with a $5,542 difference per year.

      Using material handler/forklift operators and operators resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "pallet jack," "safety procedures," and "assembly line," but the other skills required are very different.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a material handler/forklift operator is likely to be skilled in "forklifts," "rf," "unload trucks," and "production areas," while a typical operator is skilled in "cdl," "emergency," "daily operations," and "preventive maintenance."

      Operators typically study at similar levels compared with material handler/forklift operators. For example, they're 2.8% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.3% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Can Handler

      Can handlers or material handlers have various duties and responsibilities within an organization. These include maintaining production and product distribution, staging finished products, and delivering production supplies and materials. Other responsibilities include maintaining inventory, documenting supplies and materials disposition, and receiving supplies and materials from production. They receive credit-return materials by verifying the code, quantity, and lot number. Can handlers also prepare products for shipment, maintain material-handling equipment, and contribute to teamwork and effort. The skills and qualifications needed for this position include organizational skills, inventory control, and data entry skills.

      Can handlers tend to earn a higher pay than material handler/forklift operators by about $842 per year.

      According to resumes from both material handler/forklift operators and can handlers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "pallet jack," "safety procedures," and "assembly line. "

      Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a material handler/forklift operator might have more use for skills like "forklifts," "cycle counts," "inbound shipments," and "warehouse operations." Meanwhile, some can handlers might include skills like "customer service," "company vehicle," "timely fashion," and "conveyor belts" on their resume.

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The automotive industry tends to pay more for can handlers with an average of $29,569. While the highest material handler/forklift operator annual salary comes from the transportation industry.

      In general, can handlers reach similar levels of education when compared to material handler/forklift operators resumes. Can handlers are 3.6% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.