How Endorsements Help Your Trucking Career

cdl-endorsementsA career in driving—whether it’s moving products from one state to another or shuttling children to and from school—can be rewarding, satisfying and lucrative.

Endorsements Expand Options

Getting CDL endorsements will expand your career options immediately because you will qualify for more jobs. To make the most of your career, experts recommend getting as many CDL endorsements as possible. For example, even if you’re already a HAZMAT driver, you should consider getting a CDL passenger endorsement so that you could drive shuttle buses if needed. Getting the endorsement is not a waste of time or effort; it’s just good common sense because you never know where life will take you.

One trucking industry insider shared his story on TruckingTruth.com. He had driven a truck for several years and decided he wanted to go back to school to become a motorcycle mechanic. But he needed a part-time job to pay his bills. A company was looking for a shuttle driver to transport their workers in a school bus. The distance was one-quarter mile.

He was paid $400 a week to drive for about 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon. Fortunately, he had a passenger endorsement, so he was able to get right to work. The job got him through a year of schooling; he made more than $16,000 in little over 40 weeks. Was it just luck? Hardly. He had the foresight to get all his CDL endorsements, just in case he needed them.

Types of Endorsements Available

While each state has slightly different variations and restrictions on their CDL endorsements, the following six are available: Passenger (P); School Bus (S); Hazardous Materials “HAZMAT” (H); Tanker with Hazardous Materials (X); Tanker (N); and Doubles/Triples (T).

All of these CDL endorsements require a written test, with the exception of HAZMAT, which is a slightly more rigorous process. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the federal government has considered the possibility that terrorists will use trucks to attack Americans. Therefore, the HAZMAT CDL endorsement includes a couple of extra steps. For this endorsement, you’d need to take an initial written test, provide proof of citizenship, undergo a background check and re-take the written test every two years. The other endorsements simply require passing a written exam; no re-testing, background checks or driving tests are required.

The cost to apply for the endorsements is usually nominal and varies from state to state. For the best chance of success, and to be sure you don’t have to take it more than once, prepare for the endorsement exam by taking a practice test. You can see your score right away and get explanations for each question.

Keep Your Options Open

You don’t know what the future holds. When it comes to driving, keep your options open so you can stay ahead of the curve. TransForce offers its drivers the option of working on flex assignments – switching runs when they want, rather than having to switch employers. Drivers with a few endorsements find that they can change assignments easily, because they are qualified to handle a larger variety of runs. Talk to us today about training and jobs.