A job as a forklift technician is a rewarding, skilled position that’s heavily in demand. Learn about the required forklift mechanic training and salary prospects to discover if this career is right for you.
After manufacturing and before consumers get their hands on a product, it goes on a journey through the dizzying “distribution channel.” Many stops exist on this mysterious trip, and at every one, there are forklifts hurriedly buzzing throughout a warehouse. With the rise of ecommerce, there are even more waystations (i.e., distribution centers) along the way, all with forklifts hoisting, hauling and grinding away. All of this wear and tear takes a toll on even the sturdiest of machines. That’s why the services of a forklift mechanic are in high demand.
How to become a forklift mechanic
A forklift mechanic is a heavy equipment technician who services, maintains and repairs lift trucks.
The forklift mechanic job description includes the following tasks:
- Make regular inspections to detect safety issues and imperfections.
- Perform scheduled, preventive maintenance and emergency maintenance.
- Return damaged lift trucks to safe working conditions.
- Perform safety inspections before lift trucks return to the work floor.
- Troubleshoot problems and malfunctions in the brake, electric and hydraulic systems.
- Work on different types of forklifts and electric, propane, gas and diesel systems.
- Diagnose and repair issues in the mast and attachment components.
- Understand manufacturer technical manuals.
- Replace breaks and wheels.
- Keep replacement parts in stock and order as needed.
- Clean equipment and battery chargers.
- Follow all OSHA safety requirements.
- Maintain a clean and organized workspace and battery charging area.
- Keep comprehensive logs of preventive maintenance tasks and service documents.
- Remain up to date on technology, techniques and technical information.
Forklift repair training
A forklift mechanic must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. They also need a valid driver’s license to test drive repaired vehicles. In addition, many employers prefer a forklift technician to have previous work experience in a related field. However, for those without work experience, employers want applicants who completed a formal heavy equipment mechanic training program. You can find these courses at forklift mechanic schools and any community college or technical institute that offers associate degree programs in heavy equipment mechanics.
When searching for forklift mechanic schools, try to find one that offers an equal mix of academic and hands-on training. Heavy equipment training programs are a great way to learn essential job skills and become familiar with various forklift mechanic tools and equipment. These courses cover a variety of topics, including safety procedures, preventive maintenance, diagnostics and repair methods. In addition to forklifts, you may also have the opportunity to learn about other heavy equipment, such as cranes and construction vehicles.
How much does a forklift mechanic make?
As with any career, a forklift mechanic salary is subject to the same economic forces that impact wages across the board. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2021 median hourly rate of a heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technician (a category that includes forklift mechanic) was $25.85. The lowest earners made around $16.97 per hour, while the highest earners pulled in $30.54 per hour. Based on these rates, a forklift technician will earn between $35,000 and $64,000 per year with an annual mean salary of $53,770. (To check with the BLS and see if the forklift mechanic salary has changed, please click here.)
Any forklift mechanics (and forklift operators, warehouse managers, etc.) who need new or help with current forklift batteries and accessories should feel free to give Texas Motive Solutions a call at (888) 316-2459. Our forklift repair service team is happy to answer all of your questions. Please fill out a form to learn about our services and discover everything we can do for you.