how to get a hazmat endorsement

What is a Hazmat Endorsement?

A Hazmat Endorsement qualification is a specific endorsement on your CDL or CDL permit that means you are able to haul hazardous materials. All hazmat endorsement applicants must undergo a Security Threat Assessment, which includes fingerprinting and a background check. However, after September 11, 20001, the Federal government has also added regulations to the process to further ensure that no driver who hauls potentially dangerous materials is a threat.

Is a Hazmat Endorsement Worth It?

Professional truck drivers know endorsements can have a significant effect on earning potential. Transporting hazardous material typically means higher-paying truck driving jobs. Truckers with a Hazmat endorsement should have more job choices and are in higher demand. Carriers who move hazardous material often keep drivers with generous compensation packages and perks. You may even get to use today’s cutting-edge technology too. If you want to take your truck driving career to the next level, getting your hazmat endorsement should be a priority.

Here’s What it Takes to Get a Hazmat Endorsement:

Basic Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent legal resident status over 21 years of age.
  • Valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) in the state where you’re applying.
  • Valid medical examiner’s certificate, or DOT medical card, issued by approved DOT medical examiner.

Additional Requirements*

  • Pass Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge test. Hazardous Materials section of the Commercial Driver License Manual.
  • Complete online HazMat endorsement application.
  • Schedule an appointment online or call 855-347-8371, then visit a TSA Application Center with a U.S. passport or driver’s license and birth certificate, and application fee.

Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, residents should visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles to apply and fingerprint information.

Typically, a background check is complete in 30 to 45 days. Results are received in the mail, and your state’s DMV will be notified. Check your application status.

Steps in Getting a Hazmat Endorsement

The following are the steps you take to begin the process of getting your hazmat endorsement or HME:

  1. Meet the Requirements: To qualify for the HME, you have to meet the following requirements:
    1. Have a valid CDL permit or CDL.
    2. Be at least 21 years of age.
    3. Have proof of identity. (Certificate of citizenship, birth certificate or U.S. passport)
    4. Have a DOT medical card also called a medical examiner’s certificate (MEC).
  2. Fill out the Application. This is basically a background check.
  3. Visit an Application Center: After completing the application and submitting it, visit a Transportation Security Administration center. It’s a good idea to make an appointment, though walk-ins are usually welcome. During your visit, you will bring proof of identity, get fingerprinted, and pay a non-refundable application fee.
  4. Hear Back From Your Application: Once you have been approved, print out a copy.
  5. Visit Your Local DMV: Once your application has been approved, you should take your printed-out endorsement test to your local DMV office. Here, you will take the HazMat endorsement test. Use all the hazardous material sections in your CDL manual to study for the exam. In some cases, a vision test might also be part of your DMV visit.

What Can Disqualify You from Getting a Hazmat Endorsement?

There are some factors that can disqualify you either temporarily or permanently from getting a hazmat endorsement. Therefore, any driver will be disqualified from a hazmat endorsement if they were convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity within the last seven years or were released from prison within the last five years, or who are under indictment or wanted for any of the following crimes that are only disqualifying if they are considered felonies in the appropriate jurisdiction, civilian or military:

  • Immigration violations
  • Bribery
  • Aggravated sexual abuse or rape
  • Extortion
  • Robbery
  • Smuggling
  • Arson
  • Hostage-taking or kidnapping
  • Assault with intent to murder
  • RICO violations
  • Unlawful possession, manufacture, use, distribution, transfer, shipping, transporting, purchase, export of, import of, delivery, or dealing in firearms or other weapons
  • Misrepresentation, dishonesty, or fraud including identity fraud (false statements to the Federal government, perjury, tax evasion, or felony-level embezzlement.)
  • Possession with the intent to distribute, distribution of, or the importation of a controlled substance. (simple possession of controlled substance without intent to distribute is not considered a disqualifying charge.)

Applicants who have been convicted of any of the following crimes or found not guilty of said crimes by reason of insanity will be permanently disqualified from ever holding a hazmat endorsement:

  • Terrorism
  • Murder
  • Sedition
  • Treason
  • Espionage
  • RICO violations
  • Unlawful possession, distribution, manufacturer, use, sale, transfer, shipping, receipt, import, export, dealing in, storage of, or transporting explosive devices or explosives.
  • The improper transportation of hazardous materials (some minor infractions might not disqualify a driver)
  • A crime that involves a transportation security incident

How Long Does it Take to Get a Hazmat Endorsement?

It can take up to a month or two before you learn if your application for the hazmat endorsement was accepted. Then, you make your testing appointment and do the rest of the steps.

How Long is a Hazmat Endorsement Good For?

In most cases, you will need to renew your Hazmat Endorsement every five years. However, some states might require more frequent reviews as they are based on shorter licensing cycles. At each renewal, you will be required to submit new fingerprints.

Get Your Hazmat Endorsement and Work for Tri-State

Tri-State driver benefits include:

  • 100% employer-paid health insurance
  • paid vacation
  • weekly pay (Average pay is $1,300 – $2,000 per driver/per week)
  • $2,000 transition bonus payable in the first three weeks

Since April 1, 2020, we are privileged to pay out over $500,000 in additional COVID-related funding to our drivers.

Hazmat-endorsed truck drivers apply here.

*Tri-State Motor Transport requires drivers to be 23 years or older and have a minimum of one year of recent OTR experience.

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