What Is a Hazmat Driver—and How to Become One

What Is a Hazmat Driver—and How to Become One

Many people become interested in truck driving because of the pay, and with the current truck driver shortage, pay packages and benefits are better than ever. But some kinds of truck driving pay better than others. If you’re looking for an exciting trucking job that pays better than most other types of trucking, then becoming a hazmat driver might be right for you.

What Is a Hazmat Driver?

Hazmat is short for hazardous materials. Often materials designated as hazmat travel by tanker truck and can include materials or chemicals that are explosive, corrosive, poisonous, or flammable. Transporting these materials takes special care, and because they are more dangerous, the pay is much higher than for most other types of freight. Hazmat drivers must take extra precautions to ensure their hazardous loads reach their destinations without causing harm to people or the environment.

Becoming a Hazmat Driver

Like with other truck driving careers, you’ll need to have a good driving record and earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Hazmat drivers also require additional training, and some regulations restrict how hazmat drivers can work safely. It’s a good idea to drive nonhazardous materials first and gain experience before looking into hazmat driving. You can gain open road experience and earn a living while taking your hazmat courses. You’ll want to look into special certifications, including:

  • Tank vehicle endorsement: Train to drive the tanks used to transport hazmat
  • Hazardous materials endorsement: Learn how to handle and transport hazmat safely
  • A combination endorsement: Combine hazmat and tank training in a single endorsement

Benefits of Becoming a Hazmat Driver

Becoming a hazmat driver can open the door to better pay and create additional opportunities. Having your hazmat certifications makes you a more versatile driver, meaning you likely won’t struggle to find work. Having job security is a great feeling. Your hazmat certifications also help you stand out from other drivers and make you an attractive candidate.

Whether you’re new to truck driving or you’ve been driving for a while, earning your hazmat certifications can be the difference-maker in your trucking career.

At the CDL School, we now offer a Hazmat Course to get you started!