In work zones, traffic control flaggers are some of the most important people on site. Flaggers can have a rewarding career, but traffic control can at times be a very stressful job. It’s become a myth across the industry that flaggers have a job anyone could do. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, as flaggers are at the front lines of protecting workers from work zone hazards, and ensuring that motorists can pass through a work zone safely. Flaggers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times, be able to multitask and be one step ahead, and understand proper flagging signals, practices, and procedures.
After deciding to become a construction flagger, the first thing you should do is get certified. Even if you live or work in a state where becoming certified is not a requirement, it is highly recommended that you do so anyway, as uncertified flaggers can be a danger to themselves and others. Becoming a certified flagger can open up many opportunities for you in the future, like career advancement, and the flexibility to work in states where certification is mandatory. Here’s how you can become a certified flagger:
1. Choose a flagger certification program.
If you want to become a certified flagger, there are many programs to choose from. Flagger requirements vary state to state, so before you select a program to complete, make sure to check with your state’s department of transportation. The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) also has a comprehensive list of state requirements. When choosing a program, make sure to pick one that only has certified instructors.
ATSSA, in addition to other providers, offers their very own flagger certification classes that can be taken online or in a classroom. Their online courses work great for those who have a tight schedule and need a program that is flexible to their specific needs. If you benefit from face-to-face communication, then a seated option would be a good choice. You can choose whichever setting and program that works best for you, but keep in mind that in some states online training is only accepted for recertification.
2. Complete flagger certification training.
Flagger certification training typically has no prerequisites, requires a minimal time commitment, and materials for course completion are usually provided for you. During the duration of the training, you can expect to learn a variety of standard flagger procedures, from proper signaling to handling real-world scenarios. Most flagger classes take half a day, or 4 hours, total, and flagger certifications cost anywhere from $75 – $130.
3. Pass the flagger certification test.
At the end of your training, you’ll have to take a final exam to prove that you are competent in the areas that the class covered. If you get certified through the ATSSA, they require 80% or above to pass. Flagger certification lasts for four years, to ensure that traffic control flaggers are keeping up with industry changes.
What are you waiting for? Take the next step in your career, and towards work zone safety by becoming a certified flagger, today!