Thinking about adding a hazmat endorsement to your CDL license and wondering if it is worth it? Read on to learn how to get a hazmat endorsement and why it can drastically improve your earning capabilities as a truck driver.
In this article, we will show you everything you need to know about getting your Hazmat endorsement requirements and how to become certified by passing the required tests.
What is a Hazmat Endorsement?
A hazmat endorsement is a mark that you place on your driver’s license to denote that you have passed an examination that allows you to drive vehicles containing hazardous materials. This is any kind of material or chemical that places the public at risk. With a hazmat and tanker endorsement, you can easily haul things like gasoline, explosives, flammable liquids, corrosives, and similar items. There are also other types of CDL endorsements you can add to your license like a tanker endorsement.
How Hard is it to Get a Hazmat Endorsement?
Getting a hazmat endorsement is actually not all that hard. You just have to follow a few critical steps. If you do not learn how to get hazmat certified and then decide to drive a truck with hazardous materials onboard, you could face a daily fine of up to $80,000.
The point is the US Department of Transportation takes getting hazmat endorsement incredibly seriously. Driving these materials without proper certification is simply not worth the effort. Instead, follow the steps below:
Step 1 – Hazmat Endorsement Requirements
The first step to for how to obtain hazmat endorsement is to meet the requirements of your state. In most states, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Already have a valid CDL
- Confirm your identity (passport, birth certificate, some form of US citizenship)
- Pass or obtain a MEC (medical examiner’s certificate)
- Pass an Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) Hazmat theory training course
Some states may require a few extra items depending on their typical requirements for hazmat endorsement, but these are the general guidelines. As of February 7th, 2022, all CDL holders wishing to add a Hazmat endorsement must successfully complete an ELDT Hazmat theory training course from a certified training provider. Most of these courses can be completed online in a few hours. CDL students enrolled at a DRC network school will receive ELDT Hazmat theory training and can graduate with a Hazmat endorsement on their CDL if they choose to do so.
Step 2 – Fill Out an Application
You will need to go online and fill out the Hazmat Endorsement Package. This is more of a pre-background check than an actual application form. Some states like Florida or Mississippi will require you to physically visit the DMV to fill out this form, but it alerts the DOT and TSA (Transportation Security Authority) of your intentions.
Step 3 – Visit a TSA Application Center
You’re almost there! Now you just need to visit a TSA application center, which can be found in every state. You’ll need your Hazmat Endorsement Application and your proof of citizenship (passport or birth certificate).
The TSA agent will take your photo and make sure that it matches the one on your CDL. If it does match up well enough, they will give you an appointment date for fingerprinting and a background check at their office.
You will need to bring all the documentation you have completed so far and pay a non-refundable fee of $90. The TSA is part of this process to prevent anyone dangerous from hauling hazardous materials around the country.
Step 4 – Receive Approval
Now you sit back and wait. Part of how to obtain hazmat endorsement is having the patience to let the TSA, DOT, and any other agency perform its due diligence. You have to remember that some of the hazardous materials being transported can be highly dangerous to the general public, and these organizations want to confirm you are who you say you are.
Step 5 – Take the Hazmat Endorsement Test
Once your application has been approved, it is time to head back to the DMV and take the hazmat endorsement test. You will need all of the documentation and confirmation letters from the previous steps.
If your application was rejected, you do have the option to appeal. Sometimes a simple error of a misplaced digit can cause a problem that you can clean up with a quick appeal. You may also have to pass a vision test, but that may depend on your state.
What is the cost of a Hazmat Endorsement?
The cost of a hazmat endorsement varies by state and may also depend on whether or not you are renewing your current endorsement. In most cases, it costs around $100 for an initial hazmat endorsement and up to $200 for an online ELDT Hazmat theory training course. The renewal fee is typically less than $50 but can range from $50 to $200, depending on the state in which you live. Generally, Hazmat endorsements expire after five years.
Can I Make More with a Hazmat Endorsement?
A Hazmat endorsement is required for tanker truck drivers of dangerous materials. These drivers can earn more money because they are able to transport a variety of goods. There are specialty skills with every type of material you’ll be hauling, so you can expect a 15-20% bump in earning potential over traditional CDL drivers.
What will disqualify you from getting a Hazmat Endorsement?
There are several factors that can disqualify an individual from obtaining a Hazmat (Hazardous Materials) endorsement on their commercial driver’s license (CDL). Keep in mind that specific regulations may vary by state, so it’s essential to consult the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or relevant transportation authority for accurate and up-to-date information. However, here are some common reasons that can result in disqualification:
- Criminal history: Certain criminal convictions, particularly those related to terrorism, transportation security, or the unlawful possession, use, or sale of drugs, can disqualify an individual from obtaining a Hazmat endorsement.
- Immigration status: Non-U.S. citizens without lawful permanent residency or specific visa statuses may be ineligible for a Hazmat endorsement.
- Security threat assessment: In many countries, including the United States, applicants for a Hazmat endorsement are required to undergo a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security threat assessment. If the assessment identifies security concerns or disqualifying factors, the endorsement may be denied.
- Disqualifying driving record: A history of certain driving offenses, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or other serious traffic violations, can prevent someone from obtaining a Hazmat endorsement.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions may disqualify individuals from obtaining a Hazmat endorsement. For example, conditions that could impair the ability to safely handle hazardous materials or react appropriately in an emergency may result in disqualification.
Where Do I Get Started?
As you can see, getting a hazmat endorsement is an important step for anyone who wants to work in the transportation industry. But don’t worry! The process of getting this license isn’t complicated at all, and if you take it one step at a time, you’ll be well on your way to success in no time.
That is where our team at DRC can help. Our career specialists can help answer all of your questions about CDL Training and truck driving job opportunities. Let’s get you on the path to higher earning potential with a CDL and a Hazmat endorsement.