When you’re a commercial truck driver, you’ve got an open road of opportunity before you. One way to increase your potential earnings is by adding trucker endorsements to your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Like certificates, endorsements allow you to transport different types of cargo. While the requirements vary by state, here are six options.
An H Endorsement, or hazardous material endorsement, allows you to operate a vehicle that is loaded with HAZMAT (hazardous material), which includes flammable and combustible liquids, gas, or explosives. To receive an H endorsement, you need to pass a written test, complete a TSA Security Threat Assessment application, provide fingerprints, and pass a background check. HAZMAT can be one of the most challenging CDL endorsements to earn, but also one of the most lucrative.
An N Endorsement is a tanker vehicle endorsement. It allows you to drive tanker vehicles that haul liquid or gas. Hauling liquids involves special training on safety rules, since they present additional driving challenges including a higher center of gravity and movement inside the tank. To receive this endorsement, you need to pass a written test.
A P Endorsement is a passenger vehicle endorsement that allows you to drive a vehicle or bus that seats 16 people, which includes the driver. Training includes steps such as pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection, vehicle loading, and trip safety practices. To obtain a P Endorsement, you need to pass a written and a road test.
If you are driving a school bus, you’ll also need to get an S Endorsement, which is a school bus transport endorsement. You’ll receive training on safety measures for children entering and exiting the bus as well as student management. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for a P endorsement, you’ll need to pass a federal background check.
A T Endorsement, also called a double and triple endorsement, allows you to drive a truck that tows double or triple trailers. Since this type of vehicle has multiple segments and is more prone to roll-overs, you’ll receive training on safe hauling. You’ll need to pass a written test to receive this endorsement.
And, finally, an X Endorsement is a combination endorsement covering tanker and hazardous vehicles. This allows you to operate a vehicle hauling HAZMAT within a tank. Since hazardous materials are often carried in tank trucks, this endorsement can provide greater flexibility for drivers. Like the others, you’ll need to pass a written test.
The type of endorsements you can get will depend on your CDL class, which can be A, B or C. A Class A CDL allows you to drive tractor-trailers and flatbeds, livestock carriers, tank vehicles, truck and trailer combinations, tractor-trailer buses, and semi-trucks with a flatbed trailer. With a Class B CDL you can operate straight trucks, city and tourist passenger buses, segmented buses, school buses, box trucks, dump trucks with a small trailer, and tractor-trailers. And a Class C CDL lets you drive small trucks equipped to transport HAZMAT, passenger vans, and small trucks towing a trailer.
Class A CDL holders can receive any of the endorsements. Class B CDL holders can obtain all except the T endorsement. And Class C CDL holders can obtain just the H, P, and S endorsements.
You can declare which endorsements you intend to pursue when you apply for your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). Some states may impose limits on the endorsements you may have. The more endorsements you hold, the more opportunities you give your career.
If you’re thinking about getting your CDL, Fortis can put you on the road to this new career by providing the classroom and behind-the-wheel training you need to apply for your license. Click here for more information on our commercial trucking programs or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.