CDL Endorsements. Everything You Need to Know About

Earning your commercial driver's license is the first step towards a successful career as a professional truck driver. Through New Sound Trucking School's comprehensive commercial truck driver program, you will receive the highest quality of training to become a safe and competent truck driver. Professional drivers are in high demand: many employers go to great lengths to find skilled drivers. However, to advance your career, you'll want to pursue additional endorsements to increase both your experience and career advancement opportunities in the future.

Drivers who operate special types of CMVs must pass additional tests to obtain any of the following endorsements placed on their CDL:

Endorsement code
Double/Triple Trailers (Knowledge test only)
Passenger (Knowledge and Skills Tests)
Tank vehicle (Knowledge test only)
Hazardous materials (Knowledge test only)
Combination of tank vehicle and hazardous materials endorsements (Knowledge test only)
School Bus (Knowledge and Skills Tests)

Here, we will go more in-depth about the primary endorsements available and what requirements you need:

H Endorsement

CDL endorsements are essential for commercial drivers to operate specific types of commercial motor vehicles. The most common endorsement is the Hazardous Materials Endorsement or HazMat. This endorsement is required when transporting hazardous materials, such as flammable and combustible liquids, gases, or other explosives. These materials could be motor oils, pesticides, kerosene, or any chemicals, substances, or materials that can jeopardize the public's safety while in transport.

To obtain your HazMat endorsement, you will need to receive your HazMat training from a registered commercial driving school, program, or employer. Secondly, you must complete your application for the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment Program, which conducts a threat assessment for any driver seeking a hazardous materials endorsement on a commercial driver's license. You will then need to submit your fingerprints at an authorized collection site. For information on applying for your HazMat Endorsements, visit the TSA website. Lastly, you must schedule an HME written knowledge test at the Department of Licensing. To get more information on what classifies as Hazardous Material, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website.

X Endorsement

The X endorsement allows you to operate a vehicle that is transporting hazardous materials within a tank. To get this combination endorsement, you will need to pass a written knowledge test. Getting your X endorsement allows you to combine HAZMAT and tanker training to transport hazardous liquid loads, which can help you find more lucrative loads.

P Endorsement

Another endorsement is the Passenger, P, endorsement. This one is far less complex than the previous one but just as important in terms of safety. The Passenger endorsement is required to operate a vehicle that seats 16 or more people, including the driver, as stated by the Department of Licensing. A written knowledge test and road skills test is required to obtain a passenger endorsement.

S Endorsement

The School Bus endorsement, S, is required for any driver who regularly transports children, in any size bus, to and from school or any school-related activity. A written knowledge test, road skills test, separate application forms, fees, and a background check is required to obtain a school bus endorsement.

N Endorsement

A Tanker Endorsement allows a qualified commercial driver to operate a tanker vehicle that transports liquids or gasses. The Tanker endorsement, otherwise known as the "N" endorsement, requires a written knowledge test to obtain a tank vehicle endorsement, so be sure to schedule your test in advance.

When looking into receiving your Commercial Driver's License, it is essential to be knowledgeable about various endorsements to increase your earning potential and give your career a jump start.

Remember that obtaining these endorsements will make you a more competitive job applicant and give you more career advancement opportunities in the future. A successful career in the trucking industry means job security for life.

  • Written by: Agnessa Slobodchikov