July 30, 2015
IS GETTING A HAZMAT ENDORSEMENT WORTH IT?
The Department of Transportation defines a dangerous item as, any solid, liquid or gas that can harm people or anything else in the environment. The government regulates most dangerous goods by forcing companies to label containers carrying dangerous goods with specific symbols, making it clear what it contains. Dangerous goods are commonly called hazardous materials or HAZMAT for short. To handle these goods, you must be HAZMAT certified.
One of the most common questions we get asked is if getting HAZMAT certified is really worth it. It’s easy to just decide yes or no, but there are a lot of different situations to consider beforehand. Below are some reasons that a truck driver might want to get a HAZMAT endorsement.
- The DMV might require a HAZMAT endorsement.
For some drivers, they may wonder if they should get a HAZMAT endorsement and at the same time might be wanting to get their Tanker endorsement. There are some states that have decided that if you want a Tanker endorsement, you must also get a HAZMAT endorsement, but if you want to get your HAZMAT, then you can do that alone. It doesn’t matter if it’s milk or toxins, if it’s in a tanker, you must have a HAZMAT endorsement with the Tanker.
- Not having an endorsement might keep you from getting a job.
Not all CDL jobs require a HAZMAT endorsement, but it does make your application more attractive. If you’re a newer driver, you may want to consider a HAZMAT endorsement, even if your school or employer doesn’t require it. As a rookie with no experience, you have few options to choose from. Don’t let the best job you have available escape you simply because you didn’t want to go through a HAZMAT training course. If you find out you don’t need it later on, just don’t renew it in the future, but it’s good to have on hand when you’re applying for new jobs.
- You could get more loads with a HAZMAT endorsement.
Many companies don’t require an endorsement, but they do encourage drivers to have them. The reason is because dispatchers need to find drivers to cover all types of loads and you’ll be able to cover HAZMAT loads as well as regular loads if you have the endorsement. Not everyone has a HAZMAT endorsement so it puts you higher on the list to cover for other drivers.
- You could get paid more for having a HAZMAT endorsement.
Some companies will give you a few cents extra on your runs if you have a HAZMAT endorsement. This includes non-HAZMAT loads. That doesn’t mean you’ll only do HAZMAT loads, but it does mean you’ll have a few here and there. You only have to get your HAZMAT endorsement every 5 years so even a 1-cent raise can make you $6,294.20 extra in those 5 years.
Getting a HAZMAT isn’t as easy as walking into the DMV and asking for it, you have to study and take a test. Although it may seem like a hassle at first, it might be a great move in advancing your career. Take some time and look at the benefits and decide what’s right for you.