How to Become a Certified Forklift Driver

Operating a forklift is a skill in high demand across various industries in Australia, from warehousing to construction. If you’re considering a career as a forklift driver, obtaining the necessary certification is crucial. Here’s a comprehensive guide to becoming a certified forklift driver.

Meeting the Eligibility Criteria

The first step towards becoming a certified forklift driver is ensuring you meet the eligibility criteria. In Australia, you must be at least 18 years old and proficient in English, as the training and assessment are conducted in this language.

You should be in good physical condition, as operating a forklift can be physically demanding. Good health will ensure you perform your duties effectively and safely, minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace. Being physically fit allows you to handle the demands of the job, such as maneuvering heavy loads and maintaining control of the forklift during extended periods of operation.

Understanding the Importance of Certification

Before embarking on the certification journey, it’s essential to understand why it’s necessary. Certification ensures that you have the required knowledge and skills to operate a forklift safely and efficiently.

This not only enhances workplace safety but also improves your employability in a competitive job market. In Australia, operating a forklift without a license is illegal, so certification is non-negotiable. Whether you want to own a forklift, explore forklift rental in Perth, or make driving one a part of your job description, you will need to get a license first.

Choosing the Right Training Provider

Selecting a reputable training provider is crucial. Look for a Registered Training Organisation that offers the necessary courses and has a good track record. The course you choose should be aligned with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) standards.

Many RTOs offer both theoretical and practical training, which is essential for comprehensive learning. This will help you handle a variety of real-world scenarios with confidence. Comprehensive training ensures you understand both the theoretical aspects, such as safety protocols and regulations, and the practical skills needed to operate a forklift efficiently and safely.

Passing the Assessment

Once you’ve completed the training, you’ll need to pass an assessment conducted by a certified assessor. This assessment typically involves a written test to evaluate your theoretical knowledge and a practical test to demonstrate your forklift operating skills.

Preparing thoroughly and practicing regularly can significantly increase your chances of success. You should consider seeking feedback from your driving instructor to identify areas where you need improvement.

Applying for Your Licence

After successfully passing the assessment, the next step is to apply for your High Risk Work (HRW) license, specifically for forklift operation. This application is submitted to your state or territory’s work health and safety regulator. You’ll need to provide proof of identity, your training records, and the assessment results.

The process can take a few weeks, so plan accordingly. This step is essential because operating a forklift without a valid HRW license is illegal in Australia. Ensuring you have the correct license not only makes you compliant with legal requirements but also enhances your credibility and employability in the job market.

Maintaining Your Certification

Certification is not a one-time process, though. An HRW license needs to be renewed every five years, which requires additional testing and investment.

Staying updated with any changes in regulations or best practices in forklift operation is essential. Many employers also require regular refresher courses to ensure that their employees remain competent and safe forklift operators. You may also need to provide evidence of continued professional development or recent operating experience to demonstrate your ongoing competency.

Advancing Your Career

Becoming a certified forklift driver is just the beginning. With experience, you can advance to supervisory roles or specialize in operating different types of heavy machinery.

Continuous professional development, such as undertaking additional training or certifications, can further enhance your career prospects. Since you have a variety of skills and experience, you can explore opportunities in various sectors that rely on forklift operations. This could include logistics, construction, manufacturing, and more.


Embarking on the path to becoming a certified forklift driver involves a series of well-defined steps, each crucial for ensuring that you are competent and compliant with Australian regulations. By committing to thorough training and ongoing education, you can build a successful and rewarding career in this essential field.