How to Get Forklift License in North Carolina, The Tar Heel State

Can forklift certification in NC help you land your dream job?

It sure can.

As a matter of fact, you are required to have a forklift license in NC to drive a lift truck. And also, it’s the law.

By law, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that their employees have the necessary training and meet the legal requirements before they can drive a fork lift truck.

Driving fork lift without a valid OSHA license, or driving with a suspended or revoked license, is illegal and your employer could be fined upwards of $7000 for the violation.

So good luck finding a job without having a valid fork lift operator license.

If you are seriously considering to become an operator, then you should get the proper forklift training and get your certification today.

If you already have a valid operator license, then North Carolina is a great place to start your career as a fork lift driver. Because there are so many job opportunities available for an operator in factories, warehouses, and storage facilities all around the state.

And in this article, I will talk about the legal requirements you must meet and job opportunities that forklift drivers in NC have. And if you wish to become a lift truck driver and get your OSHA forklift certification in North Carolina, how to go about doing so. And what is the exact process of gaining your forklift license?

I will also cover the expected salary for a fork truck operator in all the main cities in the state of North Carolina, and additionally, I will list some of the best forklift training schools in NC to get you started with the process.

So let’s get to it then.

Forklift Jobs in Raleigh NC

Forklift Certification in Winston Salem NC

Requirements for the Forklift License in NC

Most of the requirements for being eligible to learn to drive a forklift in NC are the same as in any other state in the United States. However, there is one particular rule that has been created by the North Carolina state government, not OSHA.

What is that rule? We’ll come to that at the end of this section!

The first OSHA regulation is that nobody under the age of 18 is allowed to operate a lift truck. The fact of the matter is that children (by which I mean anyone under the age of 18) are not mature enough to operate a piece of machinery which could easily take a life.

Did you know, most of the fork lift accidents that occur across the whole country are caused by people who are under the age of 18 and therefore shouldn’t have been driving it in the first place?

Secondly, you must not have a criminal record of any sort. If you can’t be trusted to obey the law, how on Earth can anyone expect you to be trusted to operate a lifttruck?

Thirdly, you cannot be on any sort of medication which has any chance of altering your mental state. I respect that for thousands of Americans, medication is required for survival, however, having a mentally unstable person operating a fork lift can have disastrous consequences.

You also cannot have a past of alcohol, drug, or substance abuse for the same reason.

In the state of North Carolina (and South Carolina too), the state government has made it law that anybody who wishes to get a forklift license must make sure they have a drivers license beforehand. If you do not have a drivers license, you may not attempt to get a operator license.

What is the job description for a forklift operator? Read here.

Forklift Certification Raleigh NC

Forklift Certification Classes in Charlotte NC

How to Get Forklift Certification in NC

The process of getting your hands on a forklift operator license is the same as in every other state.

Don’t know what that process is? Well then read on!

If you’re lucky, you may get employed by somebody who is willing to give you the legally required training. In such circumstances, there are 3 options.

Firstly, the company may have a permanent in house trainer.

Secondly, they may hire a trainer for you.

Thirdly, they may send you off to a training school.

The training school is the best option for anybody who is not currently employed.

If you choose to attend a training school, then you must obey the following steps to be able to become the proud owner of a fork lift certification.

  1. Find an appropriate training school near you. Make sure that it’s within your budget, within a distance that you can reach, and that they do training for the type of fork lift that you wish to operate – yes, there are different types of the lifttruck.
  2. Enroll in the school, this can usually be done online.
  3. Listen to a four hour lecture about fork lift operating. I know it’s dull, but it’s necessary. During this lecture, you’ll learn about the basic controls, fundamentals of driving a lift truck, OSHA regulations, safety procedures, accident reporting, and many other pieces of knowledge that are vital to operating a forklift safely.
  4. Take a written exam made up of 15-20 questions. In order to pass, you must correctly answer 75% of the questions. Although in some schools, the pass rate is even higher!
  5. Once you’ve passed the written test (forklift training test), you must pass a practical test in which you have to complete a series of tasks to your assessor’s satisfaction. These tests may include breaking on time, navigating in tight spaces, and safely moving a heavy load from one place to another.
  6. 6. If you have completed the practical examination… Congratulations! You now have your fork lift operator license and are legally eligible to drive a lifttruck!

If you want to become a certified forklift trainer, read our train the trainer guide.

Forklift License NC

Forklift Training in Charlotte NC

Forklift Training Schools in NC

To obtain your forklift license in North Carolina, you will need to enroll in one of OSHA forklift training classes and complete your training. Here is a list of schools for forklift training in NC state where you can get your on-site forklift certification.

OSHA Forklift certification locations in North Carolina in the alphabetical order.

A & J Electric Forklift Sales6670 Elm St, Bailey, NC 27807252-235-5020
All Power Forklift Service3883 Dallas High Shoals Hwy, Dallas, NC 28034704-913-0834
Atlantic Coast Toyotalift355 Business Park Dr, Winston-Salem, NC 27107336-397-5000
Atlantic Coast Toyotalift5425 Equipment Dr, Charlotte, NC 28262704-599-2548
Atlantic Forklift Services5509 David Cox Rd, Charlotte, NC 28269704-816-8960
Barloworld Handling7621 Little Ave # 201, Charlotte, NC 28226704-910-2554
Carolina Handling3101 Piper Ln, Charlotte, NC 28208704-357-6273
Carolina Handling2717 NC-97, Wendell, NC 27591919-365-9077
Carolina Industrial Trucks2600 Salisbury Hwy, Statesville, NC 28677704-924-8523
Carolina Industrial Trucks2426 Walkup Ave, Monroe, NC 28110704-283-8669
Carolina Industrial Trucks11112 Carpet St, Charlotte, NC 28273704-588-7388
CBS Forklift345 E Franklin St, Monroe, NC 28112704-289-6805
Charlotte Forklift2505 Old Monroe Rd, Matthews, NC 28104704-845-2012
Charlotte Forklifts2421 Executive St, Charlotte, NC 28208800-929-0561
Combilift303 Concord St, Greensboro, NC 27406336-378-8884
Crews Crane Training International2021 Arden Pl, High Point, NC 27265336-337-1043
Crown Lift Trucks8401 Westmoreland Dr NW, Concord, NC 28027704-721-4000
Crown Lift Trucks8220 Tyner Rd, Colfax, NC 27235336-291-2500
Davenport Fork Lift4185 US-321, Granite Falls, NC 28630828-313-0080
Dougherty Equipment Co2302 Soabar St, Greensboro, NC 27406336-389-1290
Dougherty Equipment Co3014 Thurston Ave, Greensboro, NC 27406336-275-3351
G&W Equipment, Inc.600 Lawton Rd, Charlotte, NC 28216704-394-6316
G&W Equipment, Inc.2424 Crabtree Blvd, Raleigh, NC 27604919-781-0505
G&W Equipment, Inc.8019 Industrial Village Rd, Greensboro, NC 27409336-605-5591
Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC3500 Old Salisbury Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27127336-724-3621
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont5301 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208704-372-3434
Gregory Poole Compact Construction EquipmentRaleigh, NC800-447-3125
Gregory Poole Equipment Company4807 Beryl Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606800-451-7278
Gregory Poole Equipment Company3201 Integrity Dr, Garner, NC 27529919-755-7010
Gregory Poole Lift Systems2745 N Wesleyan Blvd, Rocky Mount, NC 27804252-446-3031
Gregory Poole Lift Systems2620 Discovery Dr, Raleigh, NC 27616919-468-9033
Guilford Technical Community College601 E Main St, Jamestown, NC 27282336-334-4822
H&E Equipment Services10710 Nations Ford Rd, Charlotte, NC 28273704-504-2870
H&E Equipment Services3760 N Liberty St, Winston-Salem, NC 27105336-767-6900
H&E Equipment Services99 Underwood Rd, Fletcher, NC 28732828-684-1692
LiftOne413 Gallimore Dairy Rd, Greensboro, NC 27409336-294-4177
LiftOne40 Interstate Blvd, Asheville, NC 28806828-251-2500
Mid-State Forklift, Inc.714 E Fairfield Rd, High Point, NC 27263336-861-1686
Paragon Safety Group829 Purser Dr Suite B, Raleigh, NC 27603919-329-8065
Safe Steps Training, LLC1300 Peace Rd, New Bern, NC 28560252-474-4626
Safety and Health Council of North Carolina2709 Water Ridge Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28217704-644-4200
Safety and Health Council of North Carolina3739 National Dr, Raleigh, NC 27612919-719-9800
Southeast Industrial Equipment, Inc.12200 Steele Creek Rd, Charlotte, NC 28273704-399-9700
Southeast Industrial Equipment, Inc.2145 Stantonsburg Road Southeast, Wilson, NC 27893252-291-4365
Tri-Lift Inc.3811 Tarheel Dr, Raleigh, NC 27609919-322-0262
Tri-Lift NC Inc.2905 Manufacturers Rd, Greensboro, NC 27406336-691-1511
Vesco Toyotalift525 17th St NW, Hickory, NC 28601800-951-3131
Western Carolina Forklift Inc.6392 Burnt Poplar Rd, Greensboro, NC 27409336-668-0959
Western Carolina Forklift Inc.3400 Woodpark Blvd # D, Charlotte, NC 28206704-509-1900
Western Carolina Forklift Inc.4706 Elm City Rd S, Elm City, NC 27822252-236-3998
Wheeler Material HandlingCharlotte, NC704-588-6930
Whitley Forklift Driver Certification4959 McKendree Church Rd, Tarboro, NC 27886252-813-4836
Yale Carolinas IncHickory, NC 28601828-322-9253

The list of forklift certification classes and schools was last updated on February 1, 2024. If there are any inaccuracies, please report it to us.

Employment Opportunities for Forklift Drivers in NC

As mentioned in the introduction, North Carolina is one of the best places to become a fork lift operator. There are lots of growing industries here and warehouses all over the state.

But especially I would like to point out the state capital ‘Raleigh‘ which has got the most employment opportunities as well as the competitive salary for people in the industry.

A few of the top ten employers in Raleigh include…

The county and state government. As a political body, they have lots of different jobs for lots of different skill sets. As unlikely as it may seem for a company like that to need fork lift operators, it’s public money which funds a lot of roads, buildings, and parks- all of which require lifttrucks.

Wake Public School System. Most schools have many heavy objects which require a lift truck to be able to move. The same applies to universities; NC State University is also a big employer of forklift operators.

The energy giant ‘Progress Energy’ which is based in Raleigh requires forklift drivers to be able to move barrels of oil, imagine if they had to move them by hand!

Raleigh is also home 2 hospitals- Duke and Rex. Anyone who’s been to a hospital could tell you how much heavy equipment they use. (Here’s a hint- it’s a lot).

Finally, airports. With 7 public and 10 private airports, Raleigh has no shortage of places to fly.

Forklift Certification Fayetteville NC

Forklift Operator Jobs in NC

Benefits of Having a Forklift Certification in North Carolina

Although in general, the salary of a lift truck operator in NC is slightly lower than a lift truck operator in New York or New Jersey but the quality of life in NC is much higher than in New York City!

The quality of life is measured by the Quality of Life Index which awards each city with a number of points to determine how good the average person has it in that city.

The following data comes from ‘‘.

The QLI in Raleigh is 225. In New York City it’s 120.8. So although New Yorker Fork-lifters get paid a lot more, their quality of life is not as good as those in Raleigh, NC.

There are benefits of having a forklift license regardless as to where you live. Any company is far more likely to employ somebody with a operator license on hand than somebody who they’ll have to provide training to. Training new employees on how to safely handle a fork lift takes time- time which could be used making money.

Being able to put ‘fully certified to drive a forklift truck’ on your resume will tell your employer that you have taken the initiative to get the training yourself, you’re skilled and therefore productive, and most importantly, you can get straight to making your boss money.

Forklift Certification Charlotte NC

Forklift Certification in Durham NC

Salary of Licensed Forklift Operator in NC

The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25. The average fork lift operator will earn about $15 per hour.

In terms of salary, NC is probably not the best state in which to become a lift truck operator, but it is not worst either. In fact, the hourly wages are more comparable to the national average.

Despite all North Carolinians getting a salary of at least $33,060 per year, there are some cities in which you could make even more than that.

Forklift drivers in Cary, it’s $33,487. In Charlotte, it’s $34,184. In Hickory, it’s $33,766. In Gastonia, it’s $34,080. And in Winston Salem, it’s $33,417.

So let’s look at how much does a Fork Lift Operator make in North Carolina state.

The table below shows forklift operator’s annual base salary for 21 major cities in the NC region.

Burlington$33,250High Point$34,066
Chapel Hill$33,640Kannapolis$33,605
Concord$34,066Rocky Mount$33,818
Greensboro$33,392Winston Salem$33,995

* Forklift operator salaries were last updated on February 1, 2024.

Now: Did you know, a fork lift operator in Washington gets paid at $16.50/hour on average?

Well, they do and if you are looking to get forklift certification in Washington, then you must check our guide to see how to get your forklift operator license.

Forklift Training Greensboro NC

Forklift Training in North Carolina

Forklift License Renewal in NC

I’m afraid it’s that time of the article again when we have to talk about OSHA regulations. There are unfortunately some circumstances in which you will be required to renew your license, and yes, this means having to do the training all over again.

Anyone caught using a fork lift in a dangerous manner will have their license revoked! A ‘dangerous manner‘ means acting in a way which could harm yourself or others. In some certain circumstances, this may even come as a consequence of causing an injury or having a near-miss.

Anybody who fails an OSHA inspection for whatever reason will have to renew their operator license. By law, OSHA is allowed to carry out a surprise inspection on any company it wishes whenever it wishes.

Earlier, I mentioned that there are different types of lifttrucks and before you apply to a training school, you have to be sure that they do the type of lift truck that you wish to use. Naturally, this means that if you’re going to operate a different type of fork lift, you’ll need to be trained on how to use it.

Finally, a OSHA forklift license renewal is set for every 3 years. This is very annoying but 3 years is plenty of time to forget vital information. Once your OSHA license expires, it must be renewed!

Forklift Jobs in Charlotte NC

Forklift Training in Wilmington NC

Get in Touch With The Authorities

If you still have any question or need more information about forklift license in North Carolina state, then you can get in touch with the North Carolina Department of Labor or an OSHA Area Office in North Carolina.


N.C. Department of Labor
4 W Edenton St,
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 807-2796
Fax: (919) 733-7640

OSHA Area Office
Raleigh State Plan Office
111 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 779-8560
Fax: (919) 779-8559

In Conclusion

The process of becoming a forklift operator and the laws surrounding it are very similar in North Carolina to every other state in the United States of America. The only fork lift law created by the state government and not OSHA is the law about having to have a drivers license before you can get a forklift license.

Once you get your forklift certification in NC, you can brush up your forklift operator resume and begin your hunt for the job.

North Carolina has so many exciting employment opportunities for a lift truck driver and chances for growth are very bright as you can become a trainer or get promoted to a warehouse manager.

In North Carolina, you may not earn as high as New York, but the cost of living and health care are much lower than other states. In fact, the quality of life in North Carolina is much higher than most of the states in the nation.

So what are you waiting for? Go get your forklift certification today!

Although I laid out everything that you need to know about getting your forklift license in NC, but if you still have any questions, you can ask them in the comments, or you can also email me.

Applying for forklift license in Pennsylvania, check our PA guide!

Share the article
Google+ LinkedIn Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *