Hazmat drivers have the authority to haul hazardous materials. In order to become a hazmat driver, you must obtain an endorsement on your CDL. Many truckers obtain both hazmat and tanker endorsements to gain more load opportunities and earn a higher salary.
But how much higher of a salary can you earn? How much do hazmat truckers really make?
Hazmat and Tanker Endorsements
Hazmat and tanker endorsements allow truckers to increase their earning capacity and progress in their careers. But what does it take to get a tanker or hazmat endorsement?
To obtain either endorsement, you must first obtain your commercial driver’s license (CDL), and then get a special endorsement. The endorsement is determined by the type of truck you’re using for the job:
“N” for tanker. This allows you to haul gas or liquids over 1,000 gallons in tanker vehicles.
“H” for hazardous materials. This allows you to haul a variety of hazardous materials, including gases, flammable liquids, infectious materials and radioactive material.
“X” for both hazardous materials and tanker endorsement. This allows you to haul gasoline.
It’s important to note that the Department of Transportation requires all Hazmat endorsements to have additional training in loading and unloading, accident management and paperwork.
Additionally, you will be required to:
Complete a written test
Pass a criminal background check
Meet certain requirements when it comes to vision and hearing
For tanker endorsement, you will need:
A current CDL
To pass the Tanker Endorsement Knowledge Test
Be at least 21 years of age
Pass a TSA screening
Once you pass the test, you will have the ability to haul liquid cargo. A tanker endorsement is required to haul attached tanks, portable tanks, filled cylinders or intermediate bulk containers filled with liquids.
The TSA screening can take a while – up to 60 days. Some criminal convictions can make you ineligible for this endorsement.
To obtain the X endorsement, you will need to take two separate knowledge tests. The X endorsement is the most sought after by trucking companies because it allows drivers to transport a wide range of substances.
An X endorsement will give you more employment opportunities in this field.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Tanker Endorsement?
One of the first questions truckers ask when obtaining a tanker endorsement is: how much is this going to cost?
The good news is that a tanker endorsement is relatively inexpensive. Obtaining your CDL will be the biggest expense. The cost of endorsements can be $100 or more, depending on where you live. The X endorsement will combine the cost of the tanker and hazmat endorsements.
The hazmat endorsement costs around $100, and this includes the $86 fee for the TSA screening.
Hazmat Tanker Jobs
Tanker drivers can haul liquid or dry loads, usually in steel tank trailers. Drivers play a hands-on role with the loading and unloading processes using pumps and hoses.
Trailers can be designed to transport chemicals or corrosives. They may be made to control product temperatures or may contain multiple compartments.
Hazmat Truck Driver Salary
How much can you expect to earn with a hazmat endorsement? Data shows that the average salary for a hazmat tanker driver in the U.S. is $62,471. However, salaries can range from $55,167 to $71,637.
The amount you earn will depend on several important factors, including your certifications, education, experience and skills.
Not only can you earn a great salary with a hazmat endorsement, but you can also enjoy job security. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for hazmat truckers is expected to grow at a rate of 23% through 2020.
While you don’t need a hazmat tanker endorsement to drive a commercial vehicle in the U.S., having them will benefit your career. With this endorsement, you will have more hauling opportunities and the ability to take on higher-paying loads.
What about tanker endorsements? How much can you expect to earn with this endorsement?
On average, tanker drivers earn $71,461 per year, according to the latest 2020 stats from Indeed.com. Owner-operators can earn $180,000 per year or more, depending on the location.
Actual earnings will primarily depend on your location, but experience will also be a factor. ZipRecruiter provides average salary information for each state. Here’s a rundown of some of those figures:
New York: $63,102/year
Rhode Island: $57,438/year
South Carolina: $54,309/year
New Mexico: $50,863/year
Hazmat and tanker endorsements can help you progress your career and earn a higher salary as a trucker. It requires additional exams, but it will give you the opportunity to haul a wider variety of loads and provide you with in-demand skills that trucking companies are looking for. Obtaining these endorsements earlier in your career will give you the chance to make more money early on in your career.