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Become A Production Forklift Operator

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Working As A Production Forklift Operator

  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Getting Information
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • $23,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Production Forklift Operator Do

Material moving machine operators use machinery to transport various objects. Some operators move construction materials around building sites or excavate earth from a mine. Others move goods around a warehouse or onto container ships.

Duties

Material moving machine operators typically do the following:

  • Set up and inspect material moving equipment
  • Control equipment with levers, wheels, or foot pedals
  • Move material according to a plan or schedule
  • Keep a record of the material they move and where they move it
  • Make minor repairs to their equipment

In warehouses, most material moving machine operators use forklifts and conveyor belts. Wireless sensors and tags are increasingly used to keep track of merchandise, allowing operators to locate them faster. Some operators also check goods for damage. These operators usually work closely with hand laborers and material movers.

Many operators work for underground and surface mining companies. They help to dig or expose the mine, remove the earth and rock, and extract coal, ore, and other mined materials.

In construction, material moving machine operators remove earth to clear space for buildings. Some work on a building site for the entire length of the construction project. For example, certain material moving machine operators help to construct highrise buildings by transporting materials to workers far above ground level.

All material moving machine operators are responsible for the safe operation of their equipment or vehicle.

Conveyor operators and tenders control conveyor systems that move materials on an automatic belt. They move materials to and from places such as storage areas, vehicles, and building sites. They monitor sensors on the conveyor to regulate the speed with which the conveyor belt moves. Operators may determine the route materials take along a conveyor based on shipping orders.

Crane and tower operators use tower and cable equipment to lift and move materials, machinery, or other heavy objects. From a control station, operators can extend and retract horizontal booms, rotate the superstructure, and lower and raise hooks attached to cables at the end of their crane or tower. Operators are usually guided by other workers on the ground using hand signals or voice signals through a radio. Most crane and tower operators work at construction sites or major ports, where they load and unload cargo. Some operators work in iron and steel mills. 

Dredge operators excavate waterways. They operate equipment on the water to remove sand, gravel, or rock from harbors or lakes. Removing these materials helps to prevent erosion and maintain navigable waterways, and allows larger ships to use more ports. Dredging is also used to help restore wetlands and maintain beaches.

Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators use machines equipped with scoops or shovels. They dig sand, earth, or other materials and load them onto conveyors or into trucks for transport elsewhere. They may also move material within a confined area, such as a construction site. Operators typically receive instructions from workers on the ground through hand signals or radios. Most of these operators work in construction or mining industries.

Hoist and winch operators, also called derrick operators, control the movement of platforms, cables, and cages that transport workers or materials for industrial operations, such as constructing a highrise building. Many of these operators raise platforms far above the ground. Operators regulate the speed of the equipment based on the needs of the workers. Many work in manufacturing, mining, and quarrying industries.

Industrial truck and tractor operators drive trucks and tractors that move materials around warehouses, storage yards, or worksites. These trucks, often called forklifts, have a lifting mechanism and forks, which make them useful for moving heavy and large objects. Some industrial truck and tractor operators drive tractors that pull trailers loaded with material around factories or storage areas.

Underground mining loading machine operators load coal, ore, and other rocks onto shuttles, mine cars, or conveyors for transport from a mine to the surface. They may use power shovels, hoisting engines equipped with scrapers or scoops, and automatic gathering arms that move materials onto a conveyor. Operators also drive their machines farther into the mine in order to gather more material.

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How To Become A Production Forklift Operator

Education and training requirements vary by the occupation. Crane operators and excavating machine operators usually have several years of experience in related occupations, such as construction equipment operators or hoist or winch operators.

Education

Although no formal education is usually required, some companies prefer material moving machine operators to have a high school diploma. For crane operators, excavating machine operators, and dredge operators, however, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically required.

Training

Most material moving machine operators are trained on the job in less than a month. Some machines are more complex than others, such as cranes as compared with industrial trucks such as forklifts. Therefore, the amount of time spent in training will vary with the type of machine the operator is using. Learning to operate a forklift or an industrial truck in warehouses, for example, may take only a few days. Training to operate a crane for port operations may take several months. Most workers are trained by a supervisor or another experienced employee.

The International Union of Operating Engineers offers apprenticeship programs for heavy equipment operators, such as excavating machine operators or crane operators. Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job training with technical instruction.

During their training, material moving machine operators learn a number of safety rules, many of which are standardized through the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Employers must certify that each operator has received the proper training. Operators who work with hazardous materials receive further specialized training.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

A number of states and several cities require crane operators to be licensed. To get a license, operators typically must complete a skills test in which they show that they can control a crane. They also must pass a written exam that tests their knowledge of safety rules and procedures. Some crane operators and industrial truck and tractor operators may obtain certification, which includes passing a written exam.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Crane operators and excavating machine operators usually have several years of experience working as construction equipment operators or hoist and winch operators. 

Important Qualities

Alertness. Material moving machine operators must be aware of their surroundings while operating machinery.

Hand–eye–foot coordination. Material moving machine operators should have steady hands and feet to guide and control heavy machinery precisely. They use hand controls to maneuver their machines through tight spaces, around large objects, and on uneven surfaces.

Mechanical skills. Material moving machine operators make minor adjustments to their machines and perform basic maintenance.

Visual ability. Material moving machine operators must be able to clearly see where they are driving or what they are moving. They must also watch for nearby workers, who may unknowingly be in their path.

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Production Forklift Operator Career Paths

Production Forklift Operator
Forklift Operator Technician Team Leader
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Technician Field Service Technician
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Specialist Team Leader
General Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Specialist Account Executive
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Foreman Superintendent
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Specialist Shift Leader
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Material Coordinator Buyer
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Driver Foreman
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Driver Foreman Project Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Driver Electrician Supervisor
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Material Handler/Forklift Operator Maintenance Technician Building Engineer
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Material Handler/Forklift Operator Maintenance Technician Shop Foreman
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Material Handler/Forklift Operator Logistics Specialist Logistics Coordinator
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Coordinator Production Supervisor
Shipping Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Field Service Technician Supervisor
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Delivery Driver Field Service Technician Owner/Operator
Operator And Truck Driver
5 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Shipping And Receiving Clerk Logistics Coordinator
Shipping Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Electrician Warehouse Manager
Warehouse Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator/Forklift Operator Truck Driver Tank Driver
Lead Driver
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Production Forklift Operator?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Tow Motor Operator 3.6 years
Shipping Operator 3.4 years
Forklift Operator 2.9 years
Forklift Driver 2.8 years
Forklift 2.7 years
Lift Operator 2.7 years
Clamp Operator 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Production Forklift Operator
Cashier 6.5%
Cook 2.6%
Driver 2.6%
Supervisor 1.9%
Top Careers After Production Forklift Operator
Driver 4.7%
Cashier 2.2%

Do you work as a Production Forklift Operator?

Average Yearly Salary
$23,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$20,000
Min 10%
$23,000
Median 50%
$23,000
Median 50%
$23,000
Median 50%
$23,000
Median 50%
$23,000
Median 50%
$23,000
Median 50%
$23,000
Median 50%
$27,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Saddle Creek Corporation
Highest Paying City
Windsor, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.3 years
How much does a Production Forklift Operator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Production Forklift Operator in the United States is $23,336 per year or $11 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $20,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $27,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Production Forklift Operator?

Have you worked as a Production Forklift Operator? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Production Forklift Operator.

Top Skills for A Production Forklift Operator

  1. Assembly Line
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Pallet Jack
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Fill requisitions, orders, or request for materials, tools, or other stock items and distribute to assembly line.
  • Organized floor wide readiness that exceeded inspection standards and created benchmark safety procedures adopted company wide.
  • Operate a forklift, stand up, electric pallet jack and a cherry picker to perform various duties inside a warehouse.
  • Operated forklift to bring raw materials into production lines and to bring finished products to loading dock for shipment.
  • Bagged and boxed products to be shipped.- Folded and stacked 50lb boxes on pallets and wrapped pallets.- Load/ Unload trucks with forklift

Production Forklift Operator Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,408 Production Forklift Operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Production Forklift Operator Resume

View Resume Examples

Production Forklift Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

75.2%

Unknown

13.6%

Female

11.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

12.6%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

2.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

84.6%

Swahili

3.8%

Tagalog

3.8%

Hindi

3.8%

Nepali

3.8%
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Production Forklift Operator Education

Schools

The Academy

10.0%

University of Phoenix

7.8%

Owens Community College

5.6%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

5.6%

Fayetteville Technical Community College

5.6%

Trident Technical College

4.4%

Spartanburg Technical College

4.4%

Rockingham Community College

4.4%

Heald College - Central Administrative Office

4.4%

Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg

4.4%

Modesto Junior College

4.4%

American InterContinental University

4.4%

Baker College

4.4%

Grand Rapids Community College

4.4%

Central Texas College

4.4%

Clark State Community College

4.4%

Strayer University

4.4%

Mississippi Valley State University

4.4%

Greenville Technical College

4.4%

Bluegrass Community and Technical College

3.3%
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Majors

Business

24.3%

General Studies

12.3%

Criminal Justice

8.0%

Automotive Technology

6.6%

Precision Metal Working

5.5%

Industrial Technology

5.1%

Computer Science

4.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.4%

Education

3.0%

Computer Networking

2.7%

Health Care Administration

2.7%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.5%

Accounting

2.5%

Nursing

2.3%

Liberal Arts

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.3%

Information Technology

2.3%

Management

2.1%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.1%
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Degrees

Other

53.7%

Associate

17.1%

Bachelors

10.7%

Certificate

10.1%

Diploma

6.1%

Masters

1.3%

License

0.9%
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