What Is Hazmat and What Are the Requirements for a Hazmat CDL Endorsement?

Did you know that each day the United States transportation system moves roughly fifty-one million tons of freight? While much of these goods are basic things that you would find in a store, a good percentage of them are classified as hazmat.

And, as you can guess, these materials require a specialized CDL to transport them. But, exactly what is hazmat? And what is a hazmat CDL endorsement? If you want to learn the answer to these questions, and more, then you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about this form of specialized transportation. Let’s get started!

What is Hazmat?

For starters, let’s go over some definitions. Hazmat is an abbreviation that stands for hazardous materials. Hazardous materials are defined as any substance that poses a risk to the public’s health, property, or the environment.

Many substances fall under the hazardous material category. Here are just some of the popular categories:

  • Fuel
  • Chemicals that are considered toxic
  • Nuclear waste
  • Biological agents
  • Chemical agents
  • Radiological agents

It’s important to note that the list of hazmat materials is constantly changing. What might be considered hazardous today could be taken off the list in a decade. Similarly, some materials that aren’t considered hazardous could be placed on the list of research, or incidents that suggest that they might be. You might think that hazmat substances are fairly rare.

However, the reality is that every day that is transported on the same highways, railroads, and waterways that you use.

So, to avoid the often tragic consequences that come with spilling hazmat material, specialized licenses are needed to transport them. That’s where hazmat CDL drivers come into play.

What is a Hazmat CDL Driver Endorsement?

As we mentioned before, hazmat spills have the potential to affect the environment, property, and public health. So, to prevent them from happening, only specialized transporters can carry them.

Specifically, people with a commercial driver’s license (or CDL for short) hazmat endorsement. An individual with a CDL hazmat endorsement is responsible for the transportation of these potentially dangerous liquids, gases, and solids.

There are a lot of responsibilities that come with this position. A hazmat driver must perform safety checks on the material, keep up-to-date records, and load/unload the material at its destinations.

On top of all that, they must uphold any safety standards that are imposed on the specific hazmat material. Many drivers seek these types of endorsements because it widens the number of jobs that they can accept. However, as we will see, it can be hard work to get.

How Do You Become a Hazmat CDL Driver?

To become a hazmat driver, you will need both a commercial driver’s license and endorsements. For starters, most employers will want to see that you have at least a high school education. Next, you will need to obtain your CDL.

You can get this by attending a truck driving school, or similar vocational program. You can also study for it by yourself using this type of practice hazmat test. Regardless of the route you go, you will need to complete and pass an exam.

If you want to transport most types of hazmat materials, then you should pursue a Class A CDL. However, that isn’t the only requirement you need to transport hazmat materials. You will also need additional endorsements, which we will go over in the next section.

Hazmat Endorsement Requirements

That brings us to hazmat endorsements requirements. Before you can even apply for a hazmat endorsement you first need to make sure that you’re eligible for one. For starters, you need to be at least twenty-one years of age.

You will also need to have a commercial driver’s license or a CDL permit to apply. Next, proof of identity. This can be any valid form of ID, like a United States passport, birth certificate, or some other certificate proving your citizenship to the country.

Finally, you will need a medical examiner’s certificate (or a MEC). This can also be known as a DOT medical card. To get this, you will need to pass a medical exam that’s provided by a physician who’s been approved by the Department of Transportation.

Once you pass all of these hurdles, then you can move on to filling out your application.

How to Apply for a Hazmat Endorsement

First, you will need to complete an online application for the hazmat endorsement. You can think of this as essentially a background check. Once you submit this application, then you will need to visit a Transportation Security Administration center in person.

Find the one that is closest to you and schedule an appointment. You can also try a walk-in visit, but it’s better to go by appointment. At the center, you should bring all of the things that we listed in the hazmat endorsement requirements.

You will also be fingerprinted. Finally, you will need to pay a $90 fee that’s non-refundable. Assuming your application is accepted, then this endorsement will be valid for five years.

Once accepted you must visit a DMV and complete the CDL Hazmat test. The DMV will likely also give you a vision test. If all goes well, then you’ll finally be ready to transport hazardous materials.

Want More Content? Keep Reading

We hope this article helped you answer the question, What is hazmat? As you can see, a huge number of materials fall under this category. So, anyone who gets a hazmat CDL endorsement can make a lot of money transporting them.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this freight industry, then get your proper licenses by submitting your application today. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep exploring to find more topics that you’re sure to love.