The Class A CDL is the most widely obtained CDL, as it allows you to drive the most vehicles. On top of that, there are 6 types of additional endorsements you can get for it.
The six CDL Endorsements you can get are “H” for HAZMAT, “N” for Tanker, “P” for Passenger, “S” for School Bus, “T” for Double or Triple Tailers, and “X” for HAZMAT Tanker.
Drivers who wish to operate certain types of commercial vehicles must pass additional tests to obtain endorsements for their CDL.
How many CDL endorsements are there?
More thorough definitions of each endorsement can be found further down this page.
H Endorsement (Hazardous Materials)
The CDL (commercial driver’s license) H endorsement is a type of endorsement that allows a driver to haul hazardous materials over the road.
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) defines hazardous materials as articles or substances which are capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment.
Once you have your CDL A, you can obtain a HAZMAT endorsement passing the required TSA background checks, written test, and medical exam by a DOT doctor.
N Endorsement (Tanker Vehicles)
To be a tanker truck driver, you’ll need to add a tanker endorsement (N) to your commercial driver’s license (CDL).
You could also be required to haul nonhazardous liquids, including milk and water, or solid dry bulk materials, including sugar or cement mix.
The N endorsements require you to pass a written exam and a TSA background check.
P Endorsement (Passenger Vehicles)
The P endorsement allows you to operate a bus or passenger vehicle with 16 or more people (including the driver).
This endorsement is required for drivers who transport passengers for compensation, such as charter bus drivers and tour bus drivers.
The P endorsement requires a separate knowledge test and road skills exam, and the driver must meet specific eligibility criteria before obtaining the endorsement.
S Endorsement (School Bus Transport)
Drivers who wish to drive a school bus, must add an S endorsement to their CDL/CLP. This endorsement allows a driver to operate a commercial vehicle that is designed to transport school children.
Drivers who are interested in obtaining an S endorsement must first obtain a “P” endorsement, which allows them to transport people.
They must pass a special knowledge examination on safety considerations when transporting passengers in a school bus and must take part in a background check, as drivers will be operating a school bus.
T Endorsement (Double or Triple Trailers)
Many drivers who are qualified to drive Class A vehicles may wish to to operate a commercial vehicle that is designed to transport double or triple trailers.
The T endorsement is often referred to as the “doubles and triples endorsement” and can only be obtained by Class A CDL holders.
A special knowledge examination on the problems associated with pulling multiple trailers must be passed.
X Endorsement (Tanker and Hazardous Materials)
Drivers of tank vehicles who haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts requiring placards must add an X endorsement to their CDL, showing that they have passed the special knowledge examinations for both tank vehicles and hazardous materials.
It’s important for drivers to have the proper endorsements, as transporting materials without the proper endorsement is a serious offense and can result in significant penalties, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment.
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