Forklift Certification

Are you looking into a career as a forklift operator? Maybe you need to renew your forklift operator certification? How do you know which forklift certification course is best suited to your needs?

Since forklifts are classed as powered industrial trucks, all forklift operators must undergo safety training and certification, as mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. There are various ways to complete training and achieve certification with options including online learning as well as in-person training.

Continue reading to learn all about the six best forklift certification courses available out there.

The 6 Best Forklift Certification Companies

Forklift training and certification is offered by many forklift and material handling retailers and rental companies. There are also many online providers you can get trained and certified with. Let us take a look at some of the best options available. provides OSHA-compliant online training courses.

They are a great choice if you are looking for a flexible, self-paced program and they have the option that they can be completed on a phone or tablet, adding another layer of convenience.

Their course consists of five modules with a quiz to complete at the end of each of these in order to progress, so there is no final exam at the end. These quizzes can be retaken until a pass is achieved. 

The modules are interactive and it is easy to pause and continue from where you left off, but the course must be completed within 365 days of paying for it. Once training is successfully completed, you can then print off your certificate.

For an experienced forklift driver, this online training can be done in about an hour and for anyone new to operating a forklift truck, it will usually take about two to four hours to finish it. With courses available in Spanish and English and a money-back guarantee, they have received excellent customer feedback.

National Forklift Foundation

The National Forklift Foundation offers a self-paced OSHA-compliant online training program. It's a great choice for beginners, with interactive online lessons and videos, and detailed text-based resources, all accessible on mobile or tablet devices with no time limit. 

Their course is also suitable for experienced forklift operators and those needing recertification.

There is a final exam but you have as many attempts as needed in order to pass and once completed you can print your certificate and receive your official certification wallet card.

This forklift certification course is available in Spanish and English and the National Forklift Foundation also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. For employers, this company allows you to track the progress of your employees via their dashboard.

Forklift Academy 

The largest training school in the US with more than 20 years in the business, Forklift Academy provides forklift training and certification online and in person. Their hands-on training is available at ten locations in the US and this company also offers training and evaluation for the operation of other equipment such as scissor lifts. Their classes are available in Spanish as well as English.

Forklift Academy offer 'train the trainer' courses and have a vast array of training material available including free online training resources.

Their forklift training course is OSHA compliant and they provide training to a variety of clients, from individuals to large groups.

Their OSHA forklift certification and training course is well priced and they have excellent customer feedback and reviews. With this company, it's straightforward to complete your forklift operation training and evaluation to become certified.

H&E Equipment Services

In the industry since the early 1960s, H&E Equipment Services is one of the biggest equipment rental businesses in the US.

They provide a large range of services from forklift rentals, sales, parts, and service to forklift fleet management.

With many locations all over the US, this company also provides on-site training and certification for forklifts, including warehouse and telescopic forklifts, aerial lifts, and earthmoving equipment as well as other types of equipment.

H&E Equipment Services offers OSHA-compliant classroom and hands-on forklift training which they can run at your workplace or at their branches.

For convenience, they can provide training any time of the day or night that you require. Once training is successfully completed, they provide a wallet card and certificate.

H&E Equipment Services advertise a low fee to enroll in their courses and have special rates for groups, however, the training courses that are available do vary according to your location.

United Rentals

United Rentals is the largest equipment rental company worldwide with nearly 1200 branches in the US.

Specialists in equipment and tool rental, including lift truck rental, this company also have a wide range of other services including various industrial solutions and a vast range of safety training courses, for example, first aid training, hazardous waste management, tool safety, OSHA training, and forklift operator safety training programs.

This business runs safety training programs for a large variety of forklift models, including warehouse forklifts, rough terrain lift trucks, narrow aisle forklifts, power pallet jacks, counterbalance forklifts, and counterbalance and rough terrain combos.

The cost, time to complete, and method of delivery of the training will depend on the type of forklift training program being undertaken. This company runs in-person classroom training, hands-on training, online programs, and blended learning which involves both online and in-person learning, with a test or exam to complete the evaluation. Their website has comprehensive information about all of their courses which can be booked online and some courses are also available in Spanish and French.


An Alta Material Handling Company, NITCO are a one-stop shop for material handling equipment and industrial and warehouse solutions. They sell and rent forklifts as well as offering lift truck training courses.

NITCO run OSHA-compliant online and in-person forklift training programs.

They also run 'train the trainer' courses. For their in-person course, NICTO's certified trainers will come to your workplace to train your employees on how to operate a lift truck safely including classroom learning followed by the exam and then hands-on training.

Their online training is comprehensive, learning materials are provided for studying, followed by live certified trainer-led sessions, individual sessions via video conferencing software, and an OSHA compliant training online exam with a certificate issued for the records of the employer on successful completion.

NITCO's training courses have had great customer reviews. Get in touch with them to request a quote for training your workers.

Factors To Consider

Lift trucks are a type of powered industrial truck. Operating a forklift truck can be hazardous and there are many accidents, some fatal, every year in the US involving forklifts. Completing a safety training program to become a trained and certified forklift operator is not only critical for the safety of employees and forklift workers but also a requirement from the OSHA.

Employers have the responsibility of ensuring all of their lift truck operators are properly trained in forklift and workplace safety practices as well as the regulations and rules from the OSHA. Employers have to maintain records showing that all of their operators have OSHA certification.

Let's explore some of the factors you should consider when selecting a forklift certification and training provider.

Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) Compliance

Since the OSHA requires forklift operators to undertake the training and certification in order to help ensure workplace safety, the most important thing to check when finding out about forklift training programs is if they are OSHA compliant. If the course is not OSHA compliant then look for a different training course.

Method of Delivery

There are two parts to the process of becoming a fully certified and trained forklift operator. Would-be forklift operators have to complete either online or in-person training followed by hands-on forklift training. The latter, hands-on training is usually, but not always, carried out by the employer.

Decide what method of delivery is best for your business. Options available include self-paced online learning with text and or videos, live trainer-led online learning, in-person lecture, or classroom-style delivery.

Time to Complete Certification and Training

The time it takes to complete a course varies greatly depending on how it is delivered. Generally, online forklift certification and training does not take very long. For beginners, it can take between two to four hours to complete an online course, and for experienced forklift operators, for example, those renewing their certification or forklift license, around an hour to two. For in-person training, it can take six to eight hours in the classroom.

Lastly, there is the hands-on training aspect which will vary greatly depending on the models and types of forklift and equipment is being used in the workplace, as this part is usually carried out by the employer.

Cost of Training and Certification

Online forklift certification and training is usually much cheaper than in-person training. Online forklift training courses cost about $50. Online forklift certification providers often offer discounts for group bookings, this can reduce the cost down to less than $30 per operator. In-person courses are more expensive, costing about a couple of hundred dollars.

Forklift certificates expire and have to be renewed every three years. If you are renewing forklift certification and OSHA safety training, some providers offer a loyalty discount. Some forklift training providers also offer money-back guarantees if you don't pass the test or final evaluation.

Often free forklift certification is advertised by online training providers. Usually, the training is free to access and complete but there is a fee to take the exam or test, or to receive your certificate.

Operator Requirements

If you have forklift operators whose first language is not English, there are some forklift training providers that offer programs in Spanish as well as English. This could result in better understanding and adherence to the training, therefore, better maintaining workplace safety.

Employees also have to be a minimum age of 18 years old to operate a forklift. The OSHA does not allow employees younger than this to operate a forklift.

The Final Verdict

There are lots of options when it comes to forklift operator certification and training. Certification can be achieved quickly with minimal cost via online courses but hands-on training is still required and it is critical to check that any course is an OSHA compliant forklift certification training program. is a good choice for a convenient online self-paced learning course and with no single large exam at the end, they may be a more appealing option for some employees. The National Forklift Foundation is also a great option if you are specifically after an online program.

Forklift Academy, United Rentals, NITCO, and H&E Equipment all have online and or in-person training options available. Contact any of these great forklift certification companies today to arrange your training.

Tim Postlethwaite

Tim Postlethwaite // Staff Writer