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Truck Driver Endorsements That Will Help Your Career

Earning a commercial driver’s license (CDL) can open many employment opportunities and increase your earnings, and an endorsement on your CDL can take your trucking career even further.

Essentially, a truck driver endorsement defines a truck driver’s unique skills and competencies in a specific area of freight transport. Although drivers with CDLs can transport most freight types, some freight is restricted to drivers with special endorsements. 

There are four major CDL endorsements you could and should consider earning to advance your career.

1. CDL T Endorsement

One of the more common truck driver endorsements is the CDL T. As your career grows, you may look to transport higher loads because it leads to higher pay. The T endorsement allows you to do just that. 

The CDL T endorsement enables truck drivers to transport trailers with either double or triple the capacity of other trailers. Securing this endorsement involves taking a written exam that covers federal rules and regulations concerning hauling two to three trailers at a time.

2. CDL N Endorsement

Commercial truck drivers looking to transport tank vehicles need to secure the N endorsement. This endorsement covers drivers who transport tankers containing mostly harmless liquids or gases. To obtain the N endorsement, drivers must take a written knowledge test on the rules and safety regulations governing transporting liquids and gases.

3. CDL H Endorsement

The H endorsement covers the transportation of hazardous waste and materials, including dangerous gases or even radioactive material. Drivers interested in the H endorsement must take a written exam covering hazmat protocols and state and federal safety regulations governing the transportation and unloading of hazardous material and waste.

4. CDL X Endorsement

Much like the H endorsement, the X endorsement covers the transportation of hazmat and other dangerous liquids and gases in a tanker. Drivers must take a written knowledge test to earn this endorsement. 

Benefits of Earning CDL Endorsements

There are several immediate benefits to earning multiple CDL endorsements:

  • Increased Earnings: You could potentially earn higher pay for transporting unique materials and liquids or even larger loads in a double or triple trailer.
  • Increased Skills: The more CDL endorsements you secure, the higher your skill set and the more likely you’ll be able to find work.
  • Career-Proofing: Like any industry, trucking and transportation are constantly growing and expanding. Securing CDL endorsements is a great way to increase your employability and can even help you become an owner-operator.
  • Constantly Challenged: Doing the same job day in and day out can lead to boredom and stagnation. Securing multiple CDL endorsements ensures you’re always taking on new challenges, learning, and improving your career opportunities.

Driver Certification Programs

Pursuing CDL endorsements involves taking driver certification programs from organizations like the National Safety Council (NSC), the National Traffic Safety Institute (NTSI), or the North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI). 

  • National Safety Council (NSC): The NSC primarily focuses on certifications relating to driver safety. They offer several certifications, including the NSC Professional Truck Driver Certificate, the NSC Advanced Safety Certificate, and the DDC Professional Truck Driver Certificate.
  • National Traffic Safety Institute (NTSI): The NTSI provides multiple transport certifications for every state. A large percentage of the classes and training can be taken online or in person. The certifications include the Van and High Profile Certificate, the SAFER Driver Certificate, and the Public Safety Certificate.
  • National American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI): The NATMI also provides job-specific certifications. Most of these certifications can only be taken after a driver has completed two consecutive years of driving. These include the Certified Driver Trainer (CDT), the Certified Cargo Security Professional (CCSP), the Certified Director of Safety (CDS), and the Certified Safety Supervisor (CSS) courses.

Grow Your Career at TSI

For over 40 years, TSI has helped numerous long-haul drivers, short-haul drivers, and owner-operators secure multiple truck driver endorsements. Our goal is simple; help you better understand how these truck driver endorsements work and how they can help you further your career.

We even offer a hands-on training program for new drivers that only takes six weeks to complete. You don’t need any experience to join this program—we’ll teach you everything you need to know about operating a commercial vehicle, including federal, state, and local regulations and endorsements you’ll need. Contact us today to learn more, or visit us online to sign up for our program.