Hauling Hazardous Materials: What is it worth to Truckers?

What Is the Added Pay for Hazmat Endorsement?

It’s long been argued that truck drivers aren’t paid nearly enough for the number of hours they’re behind the wheel, the time spent away from family, and the dangers that come with the job. While there are different ways for truckers to increase their salary, it’s always debatable whether the risk is worth the reward, especially when it comes to earning special certifications, like hauling hazardous materials.

Hazmat Trucking

What is a Hazmat Endorsement?

Salary caps are typically higher for CDL drivers with a Hazmat endorsement. Because hauling hazardous material requires more attention, certification is required to prove to officials and trucking companies that truckers have completed the necessary steps to haul the loads. Not all truckers will earn the Hazmat endorsement, and because of the demand for these specialty drivers, most companies are willing to pay more for the certification.

What are Hazmat materials?

There is an innate danger with hauling hazardous materials, much greater than that of transporting regular retail goods. Trucking Truth defines the hazardous materials as “explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo.” The truckloads include items like:

  • Corrosive materials
  • Explosives
  • Flammable and combustible liquids
  • Flammable solids
  • Gases
  • Oxidizers and organic peroxides
  • Poisons
  • Radioactive materials

A truckers’ state will issue the Class A CDL, but the Hazmat endorsement must come from the federal government.

Does a Hazmat Endorsement Mean More Pay?

Some companies will give a driver a per mile bonus for hauling Hazmat cargo, as well as additional Hazmat safety bonuses, according to Trucking Truth. Roadmaster documents the higher pay offered by Covenant to Hazmat endorsed CDL truck drivers:

  • Are guaranteed a minimum of $1000/week with at least one year of experience
  • Earn 52 (cents) per mile with 5-24 months of experience
  • Earn 54 (cents) per mile with 2-5 years of experience
  • Earn 56 (cents) per mile with 5+ years of experience

How to Get a Hazmat Endorsement?

Requirements will differ by state, but DMV.org specifies the below documents as what truckers will need when applying for a Class H endorsement:

You must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the state in which you’re applying. It must be valid (not currently suspended or revoked) and not checkered with serious road violations.

  • Provide proof of your full legal name. Photocopies will be rejected.
  • Furnish proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent legal residence.
  • Provide proof of identity and date of birth.
  • Show proof of Social Security Number.
  • Present a valid medical examiner’s certificate (DOT medical card).
  • Present, if applicable, a medical waiver.
  • Pass the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge Test. Study the chapter on hazardous materials in your state’s CDL driver’s manual.
  • Pass a vision screening test.
  • Pass a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) criminal background check. Give yourself plenty of time with this. Some criminal background checks can take up to 60 days. The background check includes submitting fingerprints. Be prepared to pay. Most background checks cost in the $80-$110 range.
  • Pay all applicable test and endorsement fees.


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