HazMat drivers earn nearly $11,000 more per year more than non-HazMat commercial drivers and are eligible for the best jobs in the industry. This endorsement will open many doors for you, helping you secure a better future for yourself and your family. However, the written exam for the HazMat endorsement is challenging. You don’t want to fail it and have to retake it. Use our free HazMat practice test to study for the exam and pass it the first time.

Transporting hazardous materials can be a lucrative career but to qualify as a hazardous materials driver you must first pass this endorsement test. Select your state to begin practicing.

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What is HazMat?

“HazMat” is an abbreviated form of “Hazardous Materials.” These substances, due to their chemical, physical, biological, radiological or nuclear properties can potentially pose risks to health, safety, property or the environment. HazMat encompasses a range of materials found in both household settings. To ensure safety and prevent accidents strict regulations govern the handling, transportation and disposal of these materials.

Some key characteristics of materials include;

  • Flammability: Materials that have a risk of catching fire or exploding easily like gasoline or propane.
  • Corrosivity: Substances that can cause damage to skin, metals or other materials through corrosion such as acid.
  • Reactivity: Materials that can undergo reactions under conditions or react dangerously with other substances.
  • Toxicity: Substances that can be harmful to humans and animals if inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin.
  • Radioactivity: Materials that emit ionizing radiation like uranium or plutonium.

At both the national and international levels numerous agencies and laws regulate the handling and transportation of HazMat. In the United States, for instance DOT (Department of Transportation) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) play roles in overseeing HazMat regulations.

These rules encompass the packaging, labeling, transportation and disposal of substances in order to reduce the chances of accidents and guarantee public safety.

Individuals involved in handling hazardous materials particularly in transportation or waste management fields typically need specific training and certification to safely handle these substances while adhering to legal guidelines. This training includes being able to identify materials knowing how to respond during HazMat emergencies and understanding the correct usage of protective gear.

Tanker Vehicle

What is a HazMat endorsement?

A HazMat endorsement, within the context of driving in the United States, is a certification that a holder of a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) can acquire to legally transport materials that are considered hazardous. The term “HazMat” refers to Hazardous Materials, which encompass an array of substances that can pose dangers to public health, safety or the environment if not handled appropriately.

The reason for requiring a HazMat endorsement is because transporting materials necessitates knowledge and skills due to the inherent risks involved. These risks encompass scenarios such as chemical spills, explosions, environmental contamination and health hazards in case of an accident or mishandling.

How to get a HazMat endorsement

To obtain a HazMat endorsement individuals, with a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) you need to follow these steps:

1. Submit to a Background Check

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducts a security threat assessment and background check. This is to ensure that applicants don’t pose any security risks particularly considering the misuse of materials.

2. Pass the HazMat Written Knowledge Test

Applicants must pass a knowledge test focused on hazardous materials. This test covers topics such as identifying hazardous materials, understanding placarding and labeling requirements, knowing proper loading and unloading procedures as well as being familiar with emergency response information and procedures.

3. Begin the Application Process

Drivers must complete the required application forms. Pay any fees. Usually this process is handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or a similar agency in your state.

4. Renewal and Ongoing Training

It’s important to note that the HazMat endorsement is not permanent; it requires renewal. This typically involves passing updated background checks. May sometimes require retaking the knowledge test or completing training.

By obtaining a HazMat endorsement CDL holders gain permission to transport materials such, as chemicals, fuels, nuclear waste, biological waste and other dangerous goods.

CDL HazMat Test Overview

Exam Format Total Number of Questions Questions Needed to Pass Passing Score
Multiple choice test 30 questions 24 80%

The hazardous materials endorsement test features 30 multiple choice questions. To pass this test you need to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly. That means you need to get at least 24 of the questions correctly. Each question will have four possible answers and you will need to carefully read the question and select the answer that correctly answers it.

Before you go to the DMV to take the test there are a few things that you should do:

    • First, you should determine that you are eligible to take it. Most states require applicants to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. If you are planning to drive state to state then you will need to be 21 years of age to take the test. You can find exact requirements for your state at your DMV website.
    • Next, if you are eligible to take the endorsement test you should then find out what identification materials you will need to present at the DMV. You can also find this information at the DMV website.
    • Finally, be sure to check both the fees that you will be charged as well as what payment methods are accepted. For example, some DMV sites may only accept cash. Other sites may not accept checks. This information should also be available on the website.

One last thing, if your DMV accepts appointments we recommend that you schedule one to ensure you don’t have to go through the frustration of waiting for an extended amount of time. If you are tired and frustrated that could affect your test performance.

What’s on the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Test?

The CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Endorsement Test is not intended to be a simple test to pass; it is intended to thoroughly check that you have the knowledge to transport hazardous materials safely. Here are the top 10 topics typically found on this test:

  • Identifying Hazardous Materials: Learn how to recognize materials by examining labels, placards, shipping documents and other indicators.
  • Placard Usage Guidelines: Understand how to display placards on a vehicle to indicate the presence of hazardous materials.
  • Safe Loading and Unloading Procedures: Follow protocols, for loading and unloading materials including ensuring compatibility, segregation and proper cargo securing.
  • Emergency Response Guidelines: Be familiar with emergency response procedures in case of accidents or spills as the utilization of emergency response guides.
  • Transporting Different Types of Hazards: Gain knowledge about the requirements and precautions for transporting classes of hazardous materials like flammable liquids, corrosives and explosives.
  • Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance: Acquire knowledge on inspecting and maintaining a vehicle that carries materials. This includes leak checks. Ensuring proper functioning of safety equipment.
  • Communication Protocols: Understand the communication requirements such as using shipping papers, manifests and adhering to specific document carrying methods.
  • Security Risks Assessment and Plans: Be aware of security risks related to transporting materials. Familiarize yourself with security plans and protocols to ensure transportation.
  • Hazardous Materials Regulations: Knowledge of the rules and regulations surrounding the transportation of materials is essential. This includes familiarity with state and local regulations the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) overseen by the PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration).
  • Incident Reporting: It is also important to be aware of the procedures and requirements for reporting incidents involving materials, such as spills or leaks.

One important thing to keep in mind when it comes to the hazardous materials endorsement test is that you are required to know both federal requirements as well as requirements particular to your state. Refer to your state’s CDL manual for more information.

Because of the risks involved and the potential consequences these risks impose, all levels of government regulate the handling of hazardous materials – and if you are going to be transporting these materials you must understand all of these requirements.

cdl holder

CDL HazMat Test Sample Questions

You should expect to see questions on such topics as explosives, flammable and combustible liquids; classes of hazardous materials; labeling or placarding requirements; specialized training requirements and much more. Here are some examples of the types of questions that are on this endorsement test:

  • If you are hauling hazardous materials and have this type of tires you must check them every time you stop?
  • If required to stop at railroad crossings, what it is the correct procedure for doing so?
  • Where can the shipping papers for hazardous materials be found?
  • If hazardous materials are classified as “forbidden” what should you do?
  • Who is responsible for certifying on a bill of lading that the hazardous materials are prepared properly?

As mentioned earlier, all questions on the hazardous materials endorsement test are in multiple choice format. Each question has four possible answers and you must select the right one.

How to Prepare for the HazMat Endorsement Test

Study, study, study! That means reading your state commercial driver’s license manual again and again. In particular, you must focus on the hazardous materials section which will contain all the information you need to pass this endorsement test.

When studying the CDL handbook, it can be difficult to properly assess your understanding of the material. That’s why we also recommend that you supplement your handbook study by taking practice tests online.

We offer practice tests formatted exactly like the real hazardous materials endorsement exam right here. That means these tests will not just prepare for the content on the test but also for the experience of taking the test as well.

You can also use your results from practice tests to direct your studies. You can identify areas that you are strong in and can study less as well as areas that you are weak in and need to study more.

Test Taking Tips – Improve Your Chances to Pass

To improve your chances of passing the hazardous materials endorsement test be sure to do these things:

  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before the test! Don’t stay up all night cramming. Trust that you have prepared adequately and get a good night’s rest. This will help you be at your peak mentally the next day.
  • Map out your route to the DMV and be sure to leave early. You don’t want to be stressed and running late to your appointment. You want to feel calm and comfortable when you arrive at the DMV.
  • Eat a good meal before the test. Food is fuel and by eating a good meal you will ensure that your brain has the fuel it needs to function at its best.


Transporting hazardous materials is serious business. Being qualified to transport these types of materials can also result in you being eligible for higher-paying driving assignments. But that won’t be possible if you don’t first pass this endorsement exam.

That means you must study. Start well before your test appointment so that you are fully prepared to pass. An approach that involves studying your CDL handbook and taking practice tests has shown to be most effective. Use that approach, give yourself adequate study time and in no time you’ll have your valuable hazardous materials endorsement!

What is the HazMat knowledge test like?

The HazMat knowledge test is typically administered as a multiple choice exam, in written form or on a computer at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. It covers topics related to hazardous materials, such as identifying hazardous materials, placarding and labeling requirements, procedures for loading and unloading, emergency response protocols, transportation of specific types of hazards, vehicle inspection and maintenance guidelines, security risks and plans, and regulations.

How many questions are on the HazMat test?

The number of questions may vary depending on your state’s regulations; however, it generally ranges from 30 to 50 questions.

What score do I need to pass the HazMat endorsement test?

The required passing score differs from state to state. It is typically around 80%. This means that you must answer 80% of the questions correctly in order to pass. If you don’t succeed on your initial attempt, most states allow you to retake it. However, there might be a waiting period and an additional fee involved.

How much does it cost to get a HazMat endorsement?

The cost associated with obtaining a Hazardous Materials (HazMat) endorsement on a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) can vary based on factors such as state fees, expenses related to background checks, if applicable, and any preparatory courses or study materials that may be required. The overall cost of the process can range from $100 to over $200, excluding any study courses or materials that you may choose.

How long is the HazMat endorsement valid?

Typically, the HazMat endorsement remains valid for a duration of five years. However, this timeframe may vary based on state regulations and individual driver circumstances.

Do I need to renew my HazMat endorsement?

To renew a HazMat endorsement, drivers typically need to pass the TSA background check again and may also be required to retake the HazMat knowledge test. Some states might have additional requirements.

What are the benefits of having a HazMat endorsement?

Obtaining a Hazardous Materials (HazMat) endorsement on your Commercial Drivers License (CDL) offers benefits for drivers. These include expanded job opportunities in sectors that involve transporting hazardous materials. Drivers with a HazMat endorsement often enjoy increased earning potential due to the nature of their work. Moreover, this endorsement enhances a driver’s skill set by providing knowledge about safety protocols and regulatory compliance, ultimately leading to improved job security.