What are some types of CDL endorsements?

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Many people believe that having a standard Class A, Class B, or Class C commercial license is the only qualification necessary for being a CDL driver; however, this is simply not true. Depending on the position you seek, various CDL endorsements may be required.

About CDL Endorsements

CDL endorsements give you added privileges as a commercial driver, allowing you to operate vehicles you would otherwise not be qualified to drive. There is generally a separate knowledge test for each endorsement you wish to add to your CDL. You can add endorsements when you get your license or when you complete the license renewal process.

The types of endorsements available for the CDL driver include:

  • T: Double and triple trailer
  • P: Passenger
  • N: Tank vehicle
  • H: Hazardous materials
  • X: Combination of N and H
  • S: School bus

There is no road test or driving test for adding an endorsement to your commercial driver license, only a written CDL test. Separate fees apply for each endorsement, including to renew license endorsements.

If you're not currently employed as a commercial driver, it may be helpful to contact companies in your area and ask them what CDL endorsements they consider a prerequisite for new hires. While some companies will allow you to add endorsements after you are hired, it's always better to be qualified to begin work immediately.

Your state's handbook for CDL drivers should include a study guide and practice test questions for each type of endorsement that is available. There are also many different third-party websites offering CDL practice test questions, although some may charge a small fee to access their drivers license study materials.

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