Truckers: Should You Get the HazMat Endorsement?

Truckers: Should You Get the HazMat Endorsement?

Is the Extra Hassle Worth It?


There is no one right answer. Every driver needs to decide for himself or herself. Following is some information to help you make your decision.


Some companies won’t hire you if you don’t have a HazMat endorsement. Other companies will pay a premium for a HazMat endorsement.

You will have more opportunities for employment if you have a HazMat endorsement.

The potential of being qualified for more jobs with a HazMat endorsement is discussed in detail in our

Hazardous Materials Study Guide, in the section called Why Bother?


There are potentially higher wages with a HazMat endorsement.

The pay advantages of having a HazMat endorsement are clearly illustrated in our blog,

What CDL Jobs Pay the Most?,

in the section called Exceptions (which uses examples from the oil industry).

Why Not Do It?

Basically, hassle.

There are extra steps when getting a HazMat endorsement.


You will need to get your fingerprints scanned on a Live Scan machine:

  • You will need your fingerprints rescanned every 4 years.
  • Scanning costs between $50 and $100.
  • Fingerprinting centers are always inconveniently located.
  • Fingerprinting centers never have parking for trucks.
  • Invariably, you will get your letter from Homeland Security (the department that controls HazMat endorsements) at the worst possible time.

The Written DMV Test

The written DMV test for HazMat is difficult. Very difficult. The written HazMat test is easily more complicated than all the other written tests combined.


Union Test Prep

has excellent study material to help you pass this test and all of the other CDL licensing tests—and all of it is free. So, if you’re thinking about getting a HazMat certification, check these out:

Hazardous Materials Study Guide

Hazardous Materials Practice Test

Hazardous Materials Flashcards

Note: Unlike other endorsements, you will be expected to retake the HazMat written test periodically. If you are required to retake the test, get a copy of your state’s Commercial Driver Handbook, use the

Union Test Prep material

and take some time to study the information.

Also, here is a PDF version of the California’s Commercial Driver Handbook.

Your state will have its own version of the handbook, so be sure and go by it for testing where you are.

Alert: If you walk into a DMV office (for unrelated business), it is possible that you will suddenly be required to take a written HazMat test. This has been known to happen. If this does, take 30 to 45 minutes to study the material. Don’t rush to the testing booth.


Many drivers never need a HazMat endorsement. Drivers won’t need a HazMat endorsement if they pull: dry van, non-hazardous bulk, timber, flatbed, etc. Some drivers never bother. But having a HazMat endorsement does provide additional driving/working opportunities.

My Personal Belief

I personally think it is better to have the endorsement, even if it is more bother. In my mind, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

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