The law requires a hazmat endorsement sticker to be displayed on a commercial truck driver’s vehicle if they transport a load containing hazardous materials. While there is a process to receiving this sticker, the benefits of doing so are attractive to many commercial truck drivers. But how much is a hazmat endorsement, and how do you get one?
Here are some quick facts before we get into the details:
- A hazmat endorsement offers benefits like higher pay and more opportunities.
- With a hazmat endorsement, you’re qualified to transport materials classified as hazardous by OSHA.
- Step one of the process is applying for a TSA Security Threat Assessment for $86.50.
- You must take a written exam and be medically examined.
- Total costs associated with a hazmat endorsement are roughly $100.
What are the Benefits of a Hazmat Endorsement?
There are several benefits for commercial truck drivers who earn a hazmat endorsement sticker.
- Higher pay opportunities
With a hazmat endorsement sticker, you can take higher-paying jobs. The risks associated with shipping hazardous loads also come with a generous pay bump with most companies.
A hazmat endorsement is especially valuable for young people entering the industry who want something on their applications that make them stand out to potential employers. By obtaining a hazmat endorsement, not only do you demonstrate initiative, but you’re also a more versatile employee.
- Helps you with future endorsements
To make your resume shine, you might also be interested in getting a tanker endorsement (N), which coupled with a hazmat endorsement (H) classifies as an X endorsement. A tanker endorsement permits you to carry 119 gallons of liquid gas or hazardous liquid. If you want an X for your CDL (Commercial Drivers License), you’re going to need both H and N endorsements either achieved separately or together.
What Classifies as Hazardous Materials?
If you decide to move forward with a CDL hazmat endorsement, you’ll be qualified to transport hazardous materials as designated by the U.S. Government Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
Hazardous materials are divided into nine classes, which you can learn more about by examining a hazmat classifications chart. These classes include explosives, gases, flammable liquids, flammable solids, oxidizing substances, toxic and infectious substances, radioactive material, corrosives and miscellaneous hazardous materials. Products that fall into these categories need to be shipped in a hazmat box using the appropriate hazmat shipping labels for their protection and your own.
How to Get a Hazmat Endorsement
Earning your hazmat endorsement takes time, patience and commitment. You’ll need to be organized to complete the paperwork and study for a written exam. To be eligible, you must be an American citizen, a naturalized citizen, a lawful permanent resident or a nonimmigrant alien, refugee or asylee with lawful status. You must also have a CDL that was issued by a U.S. state.
The first thing you’ll need to do is undergo the TSA Security Threat Assessment, which involves providing proof of American Citizenship, fingerprinting and a thorough background check designed to verify that you’re fit to transport hazardous materials.
If you have a valid CDL, once you complete the TSA assessment, the next step is to go to the DMV and take your Hazardous Materials CDL Knowledge exam, which you must pass to obtain a hazmat endorsement.
To prepare for the written exam, you can take practice tests online to help familiarize yourself with the style of questions. You’ll also need to pass a vision test and a medical exam to ensure you’re physically fit for the job.
How Much Does a Hazmat Endorsement Cost?
The cost of obtaining a hazmat endorsement represents a significant investment for many drivers. The TSA security check has a new applicant fee of $86.50. You can also expect fees from your state for taking the written test at a local DMV and updating your CDL. Test fees vary by state, but you can expect to pay between $15 to $20.
When the entire process is complete, the hazmat endorsement will cost you just over $100, but with that classification added to your license, it won’t take long to make your money back. Look at the charges associated with getting your hazmat endorsement as an investment in your professional future.
How Long Is a Hazmat Endorsement Valid?
Your hazmat license is valid for five years. After this time has elapsed, you’ll need to renew your endorsement application, go through the TSA check again, resubmit fingerprints and pay the associated fees. Some states may also require you to retake the written exam.
Time to Start Studying
If you’re ready to pursue a hazmat endorsement, start studying to prepare for the written test, which is the most challenging aspect of obtaining your hazmat endorsement. For those who are eligible, a hazmat endorsement can be a valuable addition to their resume and present ample opportunities for career advancement in the shipping industry.