How to get a hazmat license (why you need one)?

Who doesn’t want more opportunities to earn money? Maximize your earning potential as a truck driver by adding a Hazmat endorsement to your CDL. It will take time and effort to pass the CDL Hazmat test and to figure out how to get a Hazmat license, but your work will all pay off in the end.

The additional certification will mean you’ll be qualified for more trucking jobs and to drive more types of loads. This will make you more attractive to employers, and you will likely be paid more per mile. If you’re ready to increase your earning and employment opportunities, read on for answers to your questions about how to get a hazmat certificate and how it can benefit your driving career.

How do you get hazmat certified?

Becoming Hazmat certified means that you’ll be legally qualified to transport any hazardous material, including chemicals, gases, flammable and explosive materials, or anything that can cause significant damage if it leaks. Transporting dangerous materials requires specialized training and certification. Getting your Hazmat license will make sure you can safely haul hazardous materials. If you are wondering, “how do you get a hazmat certificate?” the requirements are outlined below.

Hazmat Endorsement Requirements

Requirements for obtaining your hazmat endorsement include:

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent legal resident status.
  • A valid medical examiner’s certificate, or DOT medical card, obtained by getting a physical from an approved DOT medical examiner. Find an approved examiner on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
  • commercial driver license (CDL) in the state where you’re applying for a Hazmat endorsement. The CDL must be valid—not suspended or expired—and free from serious violations.
  • Passing the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge test. The written hazmat exam will vary from state to state in terms of length and scoring, but in general, you will need to know federal and state hazmat regulations, guidelines for hauling hazardous materials, and how to load and unload dangerous shipments. To study for this hazmat endorsement test, review the hazmat section of your state’s CDL manual. You can also take a preparation course or a CDL hazmat practice test.
  • Passing a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) criminal background check. Apply for a background check through the TSA’s Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program website. Some states will require you to apply in person at a TSA enrollment center near you.

After applying, schedule an appointment or walk in to present your application, passport or driver’s license and birth certificate, and $86.50 fee. Your fingerprints are required as part of the background check—hazmat fingerprinting locations include any TSA center. When the background check is complete after 30 to 45 days, you’ll receive the results in the mail and your state’s DMV will be notified of the results.

  • Passing a vision test. This will be administered at the DMV.

Can you get a temporary hazmat endorsement before the background check is complete?

No, the Hazmat endorsement cannot be issued until the background checks are completed and passed. Check your state’s laws for details. Some may offer a temporary endorsement if you need to renew your CDL before your hazmat, or if the background checks on a renewal aren’t completed before the endorsement expires.

Can a Felon Get A Hazmat Endorsement?

Yes, a felon can earn a hazmat endorsement so long as they are not convicted of any of the following crimes: 

  • Espionage
  • Sedition
  • Treason
  • Transportation security incident
  • Improper transport of a hazardous material
  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, receipt, or dealing with an explosive device
  • Murder
  • Conspiracy to commit any of the above crimes

Additionally, individuals may not receive a Hazmat endorsement if they have warrants or indictments for robbery, felony, or immigration violations.
 

How To Pass The Hazmat Test


The hazmat test will test your knowledge on how to safely transport dangerous and hazardous materials. The length, format, and testing score will vary depending on the state in which you live. Typically, most tests have between 30-50 questions. You can take the test at your local DMV or equivalent. Testing fees will vary by state, but you can expect to pay between $15-20 in addition to the background check fee. 

To pass the hazmat test, carefully study your state’s hazmat guidelines and laws. Take free, online practice tests to help you get a better understanding of what will be on the test.
 

What is a Hazmat Endorsement?

The hazmat endorsement is an additional certification added to your CDL that qualifies you to drive truckloads containing hazardous materials. Like the CDL, the hazmat endorsement is administered by your state’s DMV. There are three different types of hazmat endorsements.

Which CDL Endorsement Pays the Most?

The top three endorsements that usually earn the most are:

  • Hazmat: Earning this endorsement can allow you to earn up to $1,000 more per week. 
  • Tanker: Drivers with a tanker endorsement can earn around $70,000 a year, as opposed to the $50-60k CDL drivers earn without endorsements.
  • Trailer: The trailer endorsement allows you to haul 2-3 trailers at a time, allowing you to earn as much as $90,000 per year.

Source: http://www.cdl.com