Before you go through and complete your CDL test and are issued your license, it’s important to know as much about the process and know everything that is offered to you first. Getting your CDL opens the doors to the truck driving industry to you, but there are also other doors that get neglected, which could prove to be a career-boosting road that you would have driven past if you didn’t know all about the CDL’s various endorsements and how to get them.
CDL Endorsements Available
While it will depend on which state you live in, there are CDL endorsements that you will always see listed, including:
- Hazardous Materials
- School Bus & Passenger
- Doubles & Triples
- Air Brakes
- Receiving CDL Endorsements
The process is not too different form receiving the actual CDL test, in that you need to take a written test, pass a background check, and, for Hazardous Materials Endorsement, you will be subject to an inspection of your truck by the government to prevent it from being used as a potential weapon or terrorist operation.
The HAZMAT clearance must be renewed every two years, along with the background check, but it typically goes much quicker during the subsequent updates. For all other endorsements, though, there is no retesting or renewal process necessary, not any truck inspection.
Why should you get CDL Endorsements?
Besides the endorsements that you know you will be using, the question remains whether or not it is worth the time and the money to be endorse for all the other clearances. If you ask any experienced truck driver, they will tell you that you are better off getting them all done at the same time because it will be much less likely that you will ever want to go back and get them, unless you have a sure-thing waiting for you once you pass the endorsement test.
If you want to, you can skip the HAZMAT endorsement, as that one takes the longest to complete, but all the others are done by a short test, a small fee, and no other commitments.
Never say “Never”!
The motto for CDL endorsements should be “you never know.” As in, you don’t know if sometime in the future you’ll ever find yourself needing that job driving a tour bus around, hauling sensitive materials around for a pretty penny, or whatever the case may be. It’s better to have that stamp on your license, than to be handicapped for no reason during a time of need. You can’t say for sure that you’ll be driving a truck for the rest of your life, right? So, the minor inconvenience of passing all the endorsements will be more than worth the effort if it helps your transition from one career to another or allows you to do something that is both economically convenient and personally convenient, like driving a shuttle bus around a nice private community, where the passengers tip well and the sights are heavenly.
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