How to Get a Hazmat CDL Endorsement

If you’re looking for a hazmat CDL endorsement, here are some of the ins and outs of the process. A hazmat CDL endorsement may sound daunting or dangerous, but it doesn’t have to be with the right training and some studying. If you have a Class A, B, or C CDL, applying for a hazmat CDL endorsement might just be the next step to elevating your career!

What is a Hazmat CDL Endorsement?

A hazmat CDL endorsement allows truck drivers to transport hazardous materials across the United States. These materials can be a significant safety risk, so identifying them will protect drivers, emergency responders, and other people on the roads. The U.S. Department of Transportation identifies the following as hazardous materials:

  • Airbags and airbag inflators
  • Bleaches
  • Car batteries
  • Explosives
  • Flammable or combustible liquids
  • Gasses
  • Smoke detectors
  • Swimming pool chemicals
  • …and more

Hazmats also include everyday items like an aerosol spray, essential oils, electronics with lithium batteries, hand sanitizer, nail polish, lighters and matches, and more. As a hazmat driver, knowing whether or not your goods are hazardous is your responsibility. Your other responsibilities may include loading and unloading, completing incident and accident reports, maintaining shipping papers, complying with a security plan, and more.


A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Hazmat CDL Endorsement

Getting a hazmat CDL endorsement is straightforward, and it doesn’t have to be difficult! We broke the process down into 4 steps so that you can navigate the process with ease and little confusion. Getting a hazmat CDL endorsement takes some extra time, but the benefits are higher than the costs.

  1. Acquire a state-issued CDL

Firstly, you must have either a Class A, B, or C CDL. If you already have one, hats off to you! If you are a newbie to the trucking industry–don’t fret. Truck Driver Institute offers CDL training in 11 locations across 7 states. We aim to lower the cost barrier by getting you started with as little as $225 out-of-pocket. 

An excellent education is essential to being safe on the road–for both your own and the public’s sake. Our CDL training program is well-known and respected for being one of the top trucking schools in the industry, and we stand by that reputation by hiring passionate, seasoned instructors. You’ll have on-the-road experience and in-depth knowledge about trucking that will have you well-prepared for transporting hazardous materials.


  1. Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements

You must be 21 or older to apply for a hazmat CDL endorsement. If you have any disqualifying criminal offenses, you may not be able to apply. Not all felonies will disqualify you from a hazmat CDL endorsement, but certain crimes can permanently or temporarily disqualify you. 

Beyond having a state-issued CDL, you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, naturalized citizen, or refugee who has lawful status. Each state may have additional citizenship requirements, so check the eligibility for the state you got your license in. You’ll need to bring documentation to prove your citizenship status.

  1. Apply online after a background check

The Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program will conduct a threat assessment for security and safety. You can online apply here for this step of the process. If you live in one of the following states, you’ll have to register for this assessment directly through your state’s DMV:

  • Florida
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Prospective endorsement seekers must go through a background check that involves 1) a fingerprint FBI background check, 2) an intelligence-related history check, and 3) verification of immigration status. You’ll also need to pass a vision test.

Within 60 days, the TSA will update you with the status of your application. If there is any missing information or difficulty capturing your fingerprints this waiting period could be longer, so make sure you’re careful to do your part in providing all the required data.

To check if your application is approved, go to Universal Enroll and click “Check my Service Status.” You can also check your application status with your state’s driver’s license agency. Keep in mind that you won’t be receiving an acceptance letter in the mail. The fee for this process is typically $90.

  1. Take the Hazmat Endorsement Test

After your application is accepted, visit your local DMV to take the hazmat endorsement test. This test is made up of 30 questions, and you must get at least 24 correct for a minimum score of 80%. The test costs between $15-$20 depending on your state, and with some time spent studying, you’ll pass with flying colors. 

With effective studying, it won’t be difficult to pass the test. Take advantage of the tons of free resources online you can use to study. You can also ask your employer or other hazmat-endorsed drivers for tips and recommended materials.

Why Should You Get a Hazmat CDL Endorsement?

By acquiring the ability and approval to transport hazardous materials, you will have more employment options. When applying for jobs, having a hazmat CDL endorsement will set you ahead of other applicants that don’t have one. You’ll have a wider option of companies you can drive for, such as companies that often transport these potentially harmful materials. 

With additional endorsements, drivers can get paid more for their work. Companies typically get paid a few cents extra per mile, which adds up to a much larger amount over time. Your salary is also likely to be higher, promising an increase in overall earning potential. The extra time and cost of acquiring a hazmat CDL endorsement is well worth the investment.

Start Your Trucking Career with TDI

Looking to take the first step towards a hazmat CDL endorsement? Get your Commercial Driver’s License through our reputable training program so that you can get on the roads safely and with confidence. Call us at 800-848-7348 or fill out this form to get started! We are excited to see what the future holds for you.

Get Started

Get your Class A CDL in our friendly, supportive CDL training program. TRAIN with experienced instructors – multiple good-paying, secure job choices with benefits available for eligible graduates. EARN $700 – $1000+ / week to start as a truck driver. Get started today by filling out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!