How to become a Forklift Operator

Forklift operators drive forklifts to shift and stack bales, cartons, containers, crates and pallets of goods in areas such as timber yards and warehouses. They may also move shipping containers on the waterfront.

Personal requirements of a Forklift Operator

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Able to judge distances
  • Safety-conscious
  • Good hearing and eyesight (may be corrected)
  • Meet appropriate age restrictions

Education & Training for a Forklift Operator

To become a forklift operator you usually have to obtain a licence to Perform High Risk Work. To gain a licence, you will need to complete units of competency at an approved Registered Training Organisation and work under the supervision of a licensed operator. You will also need to keep an approved logbook to record competencies achieved during training. Assessment by an independent assessor will then be required. The Perform High Risk Work Licence is issued under the National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work. You can also become a forklift operator through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:

moderate growth

Employment by state:

ACT 0.1%

NSW 30.7%

NT 0.6%

QLD 16.4%

SA 7.5%

TAS 1.7%

VIC 34.4%

WA 8.7%

Hours worked:



above average

Gender split:

Male 96.8%

Female 3.2%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 16.5%

Not completed Year 12: 33%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 19.4%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 19.9%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 4.5%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 3%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 3.7%

Age bracket:

Below 35 years: 37%

Above 35 years: 62.6%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
You must be 18 years of age to be eligible to obtain a Perform High Risk Work Licence. However, training may commence at a younger age.
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