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Looking to get behind the wheel of a big rig?

Well, if you’re planning to take the CDL test, then you’ve probably already aware of the training courses you’ll need to take.

However, something new truckers often struggle to get is the various endorsements that you may be required to get depending on the vehicle and load you’ll be carrying.

Endorsements often require extra tests, and/or training which is good to know before you apply for a test.

If you’ve learned you’ll need Hazmat Endorsement, or just want to know what this endorsement offers then keep reading on,

As I’ve gone into everything you need to know about the H – Endorsement, to help you figure out what it is, and whether you’ll need to get it.

Let’s get into it!

What is a Hazmat Endorsement?

In a few words, Hazmat Endorsement is one of many certifications, that’ll allow you to transport substances that are deemed hazardous or sensitive under 49 CFR 172.

Wherever a placard is required for potentially dangerous substances, a Hazmat endorsement is required.

Substances that may fall under this category include:

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

Here regardless of the quantity hauled, a hazmat endorsement will be required

When is a Hazmat Endorsement Needed?

A Hazmat Endorsement will be required if you’re planning to haul any substances that the Secretary of Transport deems hazardous.

Some drivers however may not require hazmat endorsement for substances falling under the Class 9 hazardous material according to the placarding requirements. 

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

What are the Requirements for a Hazmat Endorsement?

To be eligible for Hazmat Endorsement you’ll need to satisfy the following:

  • Be a lawful resident or national of the US
  • Be 21 or older
  • Have a valid CDL/CDL permit in the state you plan to apply in
  • Have a valid DOT card
  • Have not been convicted of any disqualifying criminal offenses
  • Complete and pass the TSA Threat Assessment

How to Get a Hazmat Endorsement?

If you’ve got a CDL and are above the age of 21, then you’ll need to complete the TSA Threat Assessment check, which you can apply for here.

The TSA Threat Assessment check will look into your background to determine if you’re safe to haul hazardous materials.

Here a background check will be conducted to see if you’ve committed any disqualifying criminal offenses, such as a DUI.

If you successfully clear the assessment, then you’ll have to appear for and pass the DMV’s Hazmat Endorsement CDL written test.

FAQs Questions About the Hazmat Endorsement Test

How long does the Hazmat Endorsement test take?

While taking the written test is relatively straightforward, the Hazmat Endorsement process can be prolonged by the background checks conducted by the DMV.

When you apply for Hazmat Endorsement, you’ll be required to provide your fingerprints which will be run through the system, producing an all-clear response in around 30 days or more.

If you’ve got a checkered past, then you may have to wait longer than the average 30-days it takes.

How many questions are on the Hazmat Endorsement test?

The Hazmat Endorsement test consists of around 30 questions, that’ll test you on the proper ways of storing and handling hazardous material on the road.

However the test can vary based on the state you’re applying in, but seeing as they’re relatively straightforward MCQ questions, you’ll probably have no problem acing the test if you put a few hours in.

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 minimum score to pass the Hazmat Endorsement test?

Most states require a minimum of 80% to pass the Hazmat Endorsement test, which amounts to 24 out of 30 questions correct if you’ve only got 30 questions in the state you’re applying.

How much does the Hazmat Endorsement test cost?

The Hazmat Endorsement test’s cost will vary from state to state, but you can expect something around the range of $90.

However, you’ll also have to pay for the TSA Threat Assessment check that’ll cost around $90 as well.

Will I need to go through a background check?

Yes, a background check is required to apply for a Hazard Endorsement, considering the nature of the substances that you’ll be transporting.

Separate background checks may be required by the TSA, through the Threat Assessment check, along with the DMV.

FAQs Questions About Hazmat Endorsement

What happens if I’m caught without a Hazmat Endorsement?

Transporting hazardous substances falling under 49 CFR 172 without a Hazmat Endorsement is a serious offense that comes with a variety of punishments.

Being a misdemeanor, there is potential for actual jail time, including a $4,000 fine that’ll burn a hole right through your pocket.

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

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

However, getting jobs without Hazmat Endorsement would be difficult, as it’s unlikely clients would trust you without the proper documentation.

Additionally, getting Hazmat Endorsement is beneficial financially, with firms willing to pay more due to the added technicality involved in transporting hazardous materials.

How long does Hazmat Endorsement last?

In most states, Hazmat Endorsement lasts for around 5 years.

However, some states may require greater review checks, or have shorter renewal cycles.

Every time you renew your endorsement, you’ll have to provide your fingerprints all over again.


So there you have it, the complete list of things you need to know about the Hazmat Endorsement if you’re looking to haul hazardous materials.

Drivers with Hazmat Endorsement enjoy higher salaries compared to the average trucker, with the complexities involved with hauling potentially dangerous freight being rewarded.

However the higher stress levels involved may not be worth it to everyone, so you should really consider it if you’re looking to get into this trucking niche.

Good luck with your trucking tests!

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