02 May 2022

What Is a Hazmat Endorsement?


The hazmat endorsement is a certification added to your CDL that allows you to drive trucks carrying hazardous materials, such as toxic chemicals, fuels, nuclear waste products, and flammable gases. Any substance that poses a reasonable risk to health, property, or the environment qualifies.

Hazardous materials transportation requires a hazmat driving endorsement. Your state DMV administers hazmat endorsements, just like with the CDL.

HAZMAT Endorsement Requirements

You must complete the following requirements to qualify for hazmat endorsement eligibility:

Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. You must be at least 21 years old and not have committed any disqualifying criminal offenses. These include treason, terrorism, murder, and the illegal handling of explosives. Contact your state and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for a complete list of disqualifying crimes.

Have a valid medical examiner’s certificate or Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card. You already have that if you are a CDL driver.

Hold a class A, B, or C commercial driver license in the state where you plan to apply for a hazmat endorsement. The CDL must be in good standing (i.e., not suspended or expired) and free of major violations.

Pass the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge test. The length and scoring of the written test vary from state to state.

To prepare for the hazmat knowledge test, you need to know the following:

  • Federal and state hazmat regulations.
  • Guidelines for hauling hazardous materials.
  • How to load and unload dangerous shipments.

You can make an appointment ahead of time in some states. However, getting an appointment could take days or even weeks, depending on the time of year.

Review the hazardous materials part of your state’s CDL manual to prepare for this hazmat endorsement test. You can also take a CDL hazardous practice exam or preparation course at a qualified truck driver training school.

Passing a TSA criminal history background check. You can apply for a background check through the Transportation Security Administration Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program website.

The TSA requires your fingerprints as part of the background check process. Hazmat fingerprinting locations include any TSA center.

Schedule an appointment or come in to present your application, passport or driver’s license, and birth certificate once you’ve submitted your application. The following states require an in-person DMV application for the TSA Security Threat Assessment:

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

It should only take 30 to 45 days to complete the background check. The results will be sent to you via mail. Your state’s DMV will also receive a copy.

Cost to Get a HAZMAT Endorsement

It only costs about $100 to get a CDL hazmat endorsement. That includes the TSA screening cost, $86.50, plus any state expenses for taking the test and renewing your CDL.

Is Getting a Hazmat Endorsement Worth It?

You may wonder if going through such an extensive hazmat endorsement application process is worth the effort.

It depends. Do you want access to more types of trucking jobs, better pay per mile, and greater overall earning potential? Truck drivers with a hazmat endorsement often earn more money than those with a basic CDL.

Hazmat driving approval shows potential employers that you are committed to safety. That makes you a more attractive candidate. It also enables you to drive for companies specializing in hauling hazardous materials.

The CDL School offers basic hazardous materials training and safety awareness. Schedule a time to talk to a specialist to learn more.