Endorsements for CDL Class A
CDL Class A, CDL B, or CDL C are the three options available while obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are advantages and disadvantages to consider for each class, each of which has its own training standards and testing processes.
Which license is right for you depends on your lifestyle and future ambitions for your work. As it permits you to drive most types of vehicles, the CDL Class A is the most often attained. Additionally, there are six different extra endorsements that can be obtained for it.
CDL Class A Fundamentals
The Federal Motor Carrier Association defines CDL A trucks as any combination of vehicles having a gross paired weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater, including any towed component(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.
Different CDL Class A endorsement types
Once you obtain your CDL Class A, you can add endorsements to your license that will let you operate more specialized vehicles. For these endorsements, additional written and possibly skills testing is necessary.
Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT)
Hazardous material transport is possible with a HAZMAT endorsement. These positions frequently pay more and have a broader pool of openings. Once you have your CDL Class A, you may get a HAZMAT endorsement by completing the necessary TSA background checks, written tests, and DOT doctor medical tests.
In many circumstances, obtaining the X endorsement requires having a HAZMAT license.
Tanker Vehicle (N)
With the tanker endorsement, a driver is able to transport gas or liquid goods in a tank or “tanker.” These services often pay more and are local or nearby runs, so you would spend more time at home than at other employment. There is an extra written test necessary for this endorsement.
If the tanker is not loaded, a tanker truck driver must be able to adapt to having his cargo move about periodically. It requires considerable experience and skill development to manage the “surge” brought on by the motion of the liquid within the tank while driving.
Passenger Transportation (P)
The endorsement process for passenger transport is rather simple. It permits a driver with a valid license to operate a vehicle with more than 16 passengers, such as a municipal commuter bus. To acquire this endorsement, you must take additional written and skills tests.
These are excellent occupations for folks who wish to have a regular driving schedule and come home every night or who want to explore the nation while driving for cross-country travel agencies. You will engage with people all day long, so this is not the kind of work for someone who prefers to be by themselves.
In order to drive school buses for kids, you often need to first receive this endorsement. These two recommendations frequently go together.
Passenger/School Bus Transportation (S)
Driving school buses require a school bus endorsement. This involves a separate written and driving skills exam, exactly like the “P” endorsement we just wrote about. But in order to receive the “S” endorsement, applicants must also pass background checks, criminal background checks, and physical fitness examinations.
They also frequently need further training and testing when school bus regulations change. Additionally, these drivers ought to be a little more patient and absolutely able to put up with rambunctious kids on the road.
Trailers with two or three axles need their own endorsement. Drivers can tow several trailers behind their trucks with the “T” endorsement. There is also an extra written test necessary for this endorsement. The “T” endorsement is particularly useful since it enables drivers to tow twice as much freight—or even three times as much—while traveling the same distance in the same amount of time as with a single trailer. Due to the additional expertise and driving abilities required, these truck driving professions sometimes pay more.
Tankers and hazardous materials (X)
The “X” endorsement, last but not least, enables a driver to transport substantial amounts of any kind of gas or liquid HAZMAT load inside of a tanker. These drivers and their skill sets are further distinguished by having this “X” certification.
There is an additional written test needed for this endorsement. A driver will undoubtedly need an “X” endorsement if they intend to work in the gas and oil carrying industry.