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How to Prepare for a DOT Hazmat Test: A Complete Guide

Suppose you have a state-issued CDL and want to transport hazardous materials. In that case, you need to pass the department of transport (DOT) hazmat test.

The benefit of a hazmat test endorsement means you can qualify for a greater variety of jobs. Not to mention, transporting hazmat materials pays better.

The stats bear this out:

The average truck driver salary is $46,000, whereas transporting hazmat materials, on average, pays $64,000.

If this sounds appealing, look no further. In this article, we'll be covering everything you need to know to prepare for a DOT hazmat test. Let's dive in!

A Quick Overview

The DOT hazmat test is an assessment that grants drivers a state endorsement to transport hazardous materials, such as gas, flammable or explosive materials.

Eligibility

You must be a US citizen; this includes

  • Lawful permanent residents
  • Naturalized citizens
  • Lawful nonimmigrant aliens, asylums, or refugees

You must have a CDL license issued by a US state. Plus, you can't have a disqualifying criminal offense. i.e., related to national security. Lastly, you must be at least 21 years old.

Application and Process

To apply for a Hazmat endorsement, you can submit an application online or visit your local application center.

  1. Once you've done that, book an appointment to provide the necessary documentation. They will also do fingerprinting.
  2. Pay for your test
    1. New applicant: $86.50
    2. New applicant reduced rate: $67. You will be eligible for the reduced rate if you hold a TWIC security threat assessment endorsement with at least one year remaining before expiration. (You may have more time on your TWIC depending on which state you come from).
  3. Once you've made your application, you'll need to provide a valid medical certificate. This is also known as a DOT medical card, or take a medical screening at your application center. (Medical certificates must be issued by a medical provider listed on the National Registry).
  4. Next, you will have to book your test.

The last step requires you to do a background screening with the TSA. After which, providing you have met all the criteria, your endorsement will be issued.

Documents You'll Need

You will need to bring your current US passport or a driver's license and birth certificate. Or one of the other accepted forms of identification. A DOT medical card (or take the screening at the application center).

Test Structure

The test is a 30 question multiple-choice test. You will have a score of 80% to pass the test. That is 24 out of 30 questions. Everything covered in the test can be found in your CDL manual.

The manual varies from state to state, so you will need to find the one that applies to you.

Regardless of which state, you will find what is covered in the hazmat test under the section on Hazmat materials (usually under section 9). You can look at an example here of the Texas CDL manual (page 110).

Topics

The main topics covered in the Hazmat test are as follows:

  • Dot hazmat regulations on hazardous materials: You will need to know what rules are in place and why they are necessary.
  • Driver's responsibilities: You will need to know the different responsibilities of carriers, shippers, and drivers.
  • Driving and parking rules: This tells you about the various regulations for parking vehicles and what routes and considerations are needed.
  • Loading and unloading: You will need to know the different types of hazardous materials and how they should be loaded and unloaded.
  • Emergencies: This tells you how to respond to different hazard emergencies, which should be contacted, and the different hazard levels. You can find an extensive list of hazard responses in the ERG handbook.
  • Communication rules: You will need to know the meaning of different signs and words for various products, labels, documentation, and placards concerning hazardous materials.
  • Bulk tank loading, unloading, and marking: This concerns the identification of different portable tanks (markings) and the loading and unloading of varying bulk tanks.

Lastly, the glossary will contain an overview of all the key terms you need to know.

Tips

To prepare for the test, it is a good idea to do the following:

  • Do all the questions in your handbook
  • Take dot hazmat practice tests beforehand
  • Make sure you have the correct handbook; each state has slightly different requirements for their tests
  • Consider breaking the sections down into different areas and preparing flashcards for each
  • Watch videos on youtube

Lastly, it's also worth getting a study guide.

FAQs

Last but not least, let's answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the DOT Hazmat Test, starting with "can I retake the test?"

Answer: Yes, you can. You can retake the test two additional times to reach a score of 80%.

How Long Does My Hazmat Endorsement Last?

Your hazmat endorsement will last for five years. After that, however, different state requirements may need you to take the test more often.

Your endorsement will typically take six weeks from the time you are fingerprinted for your letter to arrive.

Are You Ready to Do the DOT Hazmat Test?

Preparing for and taking the DOT hazmat test can be a drawn-out and complicated process.

If you want a reliable way to ensure you and your team pass, Compliance Training Online® provides online courses on everything you need to complete your hazmat training.

We offer a comprehensive breakdown of the DOT regulations for hazardous materials. Training is not just for employees; we provide training to managers and businesses.

You can start your online course immediately from anywhere in the country. All our courses are updated regularly to save you from sifting through different manuals.

If you want to get your endorsement the easy way, start your course with us today!

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