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So you need a Hazmat endorsement in your CDL?

Maybe you’re just curious to know about this endorsement. 

Whatever the case, we have the answers here. 

Today, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Hazmat endorsement — from what it is and when it’s required to how to get one.

Plus, we’ll also answer some of the most frequently asked questions. 

So let’s begin your complete guide to ‘what is an H – Hazmat endorsement’. 

What is a Hazmat Endorsement?

Hazmat Endorsement
Source: canva.com

In a few words, the Hazmat endorsement is a certification that allows you to transport substances that are deemed hazardous or sensitive under 49 CFR 172. 

Here are some materials and substances that are considered hazardous: 

  • Flammable materials such as diesel and petrol
  • Hazardous waste
  • Marine pollutants 
  • Anything the Secretary of Transport says is hazardous

When is a Hazmat Endorsement Required?

If it’s your job to transport any materials/substances that are deemed hazardous by the Secretary of Transport, then you must get a Hazmat endorsement in your CDL. 

Now, according to placarding requirements, some commercial drivers may not need a Hazmat endorsement for substances falling under Class 9 hazardous material. 

This means that, if your haul falls under the Class 9 hazardous material and doesn’t go over a specific quantity, you don’t need an H endorsement. 

However, if you’re not a fan of pouring over the legal technicalities to see if any loopholes exist, it’s best to get a Hazmat endorsement if you’re transporting anything deemed hazardous.

What are the Hazmat Endorsement Requirements?

To get a Hazmat endorsement, you’ll need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be a citizen or lawful resident of the US
  • Be at least 21 years old 
  • Have a valid CDL in the state you plan to apply in
  • Have a valid DOT card
  • Have no convictions of any disqualifying criminal offenses
  • Complete an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program
  • Complete and pass the TSA Threat Assessment
  • Take and pass a CDL Hazmat written test

How to Get a Hazmat Endorsement?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get your Hazmat endorsement:

  1. Fulfill the basic eligibility requirements.
  1. Complete an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program. 
  1. Apply for the TSA Threat Assessment check and pay the $86.50 fee.
  1. Wait for your background check to be approved.
  1. Go to your local DMV office (set an appointment if needed).
  1. Bring the following documents:
    1. Proof of identity and birth date
    2. Proof of citizenship or legal presence
    3. Proof of residency Valid DOT card
    4. Valid CDL 
    5. Fingerprints
    6. ELDT Certificate of Completion 
  1. Take and pass a vision test.
  1. Take and pass the CDL Hazmat endorsement written test. 
  1. Pay the test and endorsement fee (the price will depend on your state).
  1. Get your H endorsement. 

NOTE: The steps may vary per state, so make sure to look into the specific documents to bring. 

FAQs About the Hazmat Endorsement Test

In this section, we’ll go over some of the most frequently asked questions about the Hazmat endorsement written test. 

How many questions are on the Hazmat endorsement test?

The Hazmat endorsement test usually consists of 30 questions. These will test you on the proper ways of storing and handling hazardous material on the road.

Areas that you’ll be quizzed on include:

  • Bulk tank marking, unloading, and loading 
  • Responsibilities as a hazmat driver
  • Parking and driving regulations 
  • Communication rules 
  • Emergency procedures
  • Safety procedures

What is the passing score for the Hazmat endorsement test?

Most states need a score of 80% or higher to pass the Hazmat endorsement test. That means you need to answer 24 questions right (if there are 30 questions). 

How much does the Hazmat endorsement test cost?

Again, the cost varies per state. You can expect to pay as low as $10 in some states, while other states charge as high as $50. 

And remember, that isn’t your only expense. You also need to pay for the ELDT program and TSA Threat Assessment. 

Will I need to go through a background check?

Yes, you need to go through a background check (also known as the TSA Threat Assessment check) before you can take the Hazmat endorsement written test. 

NOTE: Besides the TSA Threat Assessment, separate background checks may be required by your local DMV. 

FAQs About the Hazmat Endorsement

Now let’s focus on questions about the Hazmat endorsement itself. 

What happens if you’re caught without a Hazmat endorsement?

Transporting hazardous materials without a Hazmat endorsement is a serious offense that comes with a variety of punishments.

For one, you will need to pay a high fine of $4,000, as well as serve some jail time. 

You’ll also get 3 Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points, which may lead to license suspension depending on how many points you have.

Businesses are fined even more, with costs that can go up to $150,000 if the intentional hauling of hazardous materials without proper endorsement leads to any injuries.

NOTE: Again it’s important to emphasize, there are different penalties for different states. That said, all states make sure to add harsh penalties.  

How long does a Hazmat endorsement last?

In most states, Hazmat endorsement lasts for 5 years, other states have shorter renewal cycles. Make sure to check your endorsement to see when it expires. 

Can a Hazmat endorsement make you earn more?

The simple answer is, yes, it can. Because transporting these materials needs extra safety precautions, companies are always willing to pay more. 

And if you have a Hazmat endorsement, then they’ll be more than happy to pay you for your services. So it’s a good idea to consider having this in your CDL. 


And there you have it — everything you need to know about the Hazmat endorsement. 

If you’re not sure whether you need this endorsement, then check when it is required. 

If you do need it, then follow the steps to getting this certification. 

Remember, if you transport hazardous materials without an H endorsement, you will face harsh penalties. 

And who wants that? 

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