There are many different types of truck driving jobs that you can start once you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Each type of freight or route has different benefits. Before you begin your trucking career, you should consider your goals and decide what kind of CDL job you would prefer. Hauling hazardous material (hazmat) is one option and jobs involving potentially hazardous freight often pay more.
Here is what you should know if you are considering a career hauling hazmat:
What is Hazmat?
The Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM) defines hazmat as any item or agent with the potential of causing harm to the environment, animals, or humans. Dangerous goods need to be identified according to strict safety standards and anyone transporting them must meet certain qualifications.
There are 9 broad categories of hazardous materials:
- Flammable Liquids
- Flammable Solids
- Oxidizing Substances
- Toxic and Infectious Substances
- Radioactive Materials
- Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods
In the trucking industry, one example of hazmat is gasoline. Gas tankers are necessary to bring fuel to gas stations across the country and qualified drivers for these vehicles are in high demand. Most industries interact with hazardous materials in some way and as a result, there are a wide variety of hazmat trucking jobs.
Safe Truck Driving
Safety is essential in any industry and it is especially important for truck driving. When you haul freight, you are responsible not only for protecting yourself and the goods you are transporting, but also for ensuring the safety of others on the road. When it comes to hazmat, there are even more factors to keep in mind. This is why jobs involving hazmat require additional qualifications.
You can add CDL endorsements to your license by taking additional knowledge tests. These exams cover information related to truck driving safety beyond what is included in the standard CDL test. Some truck driving jobs require an endorsement or multiple endorsements. Hauling hazardous freight is one example. As a student at Phoenix Truck Driving School, you can earn your hazmat endorsement.
It’s important to note that you will need to undergo an additional background check to earn this endorsement. Unlike the background check to obtain your CDL, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will complete the screening process, not the Department of Transportation (DOT). Certain offenses can disqualify you and the TSA lists these on their website. Additionally, federal law prohibits you from applying for the hazmat endorsement until you are 21 years old.
In addition to the hazmat endorsement, some jobs will require what is called an “X” endorsement. This is the combination of a hazmat and tanker endorsement. Our students earn both of these, giving them more employment options after graduation.
Start a Hazmat Driving Career
If you are interested in a career hauling potentially hazardous freight, you can get started at Phoenix Truck Driving School. Our program allows you to earn your CDL as well as endorsements for hazardous materials, tankers, and doubles/triples. We teach you the safety and operation skills you need to succeed as a truck driver.