by Pride Transport | Dec 07, 2023
Becoming a commercial driver and having a license to drive goods locally or cross-country gives you an opportunity to build a strong career that pays well and allows you to travel. Starting out, many people have only their basic CDLs, but you can quickly grow your skills and potential income by educating yourself in driving other kinds of vehicles and loads.
After you have a commercial driver’s license, your next step is to add endorsements to be able to drive different kinds of loads. A tanker endorsement is a type of certification you can obtain to transport large tanks of liquids or gasses with your commercial vehicle.
The tanker endorsement is represented by the letter “N,” and shows that you have the safety and equipment training necessary to drive a potentially hazardous liquid or gas load, and it also opens up your opportunity to do more with your career in the trucking industry.
With an “N” endorsement, you’ll be able to drive any tanker full of materials that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration doesn’t consider hazardous. Generally speaking, “N” endorsement loads pay more, so you can make the most of your time behind the wheel and see a real payoff for taking the time to get this endorsement. And, if you decide to seek additional endorsements (such as your hazmat or combined “X” endorsement), your skills will become even more valuable.
Why You Need a Tanker Endorsement
You need a tanker endorsement for a number of reasons.
- It opens up new opportunities to drive different kinds of loads. From transporting simple loads of water in a tank to moving gasoline, you’ll need to have your “N” endorsement to get the job.
- It gives you the right training. With your “N” endorsement, you’ll show that you passed a knowledge test on how to drive safely with moving liquids and gasses in your tank. Liquids, in particular, can unbalance your vehicle easily, so knowing how to accommodate their movement will help prevent accidents and injuries.
- You want to have your choice of local or regional runs. Oftentimes, gasses or liquids are going shorter distances than other kinds of freight, so having this endorsement may keep you closer to home.
Without a tanker endorsement, trying to move large quantities of liquids or gasses could be downright dangerous. The correct training and testing prevent accidents and make you a safer driver.
What Test Is Required to Get a Tanker Endorsement?
To get a tanker endorsement for your vehicle that requires a Class A or B CDL, you will need to take and pass the tanker endorsement “N” test.
The test mandates safety and equipment training, which you will need if you want to transport these goods safely. Bulk liquids don’t act the same as solid goods, so when you transport them you have to think about how their weights may shift or affect the way you drive. The liquid can impact how quickly you can start or stop, too, which you need to be aware of in order to keep yourself and others safe.
When you take the “N” test, you will have to answer 20 questions on a written knowledge test. Utah does not require a driving skills test to go with this endorsement.
The Requirements for the Tanker Endorsement
To take the tanker “N” endorsement knowledge test, you will first need to complete your commercial driver’s license skills test and complete your Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT). Once you’re licensed with your basic CDL, you will need to show the following to take your “N” endorsement test:
- You’re 18 or older
- You have a valid residential status or a valid U.S. passport
- You can pass an eye exam
- You agree to have your photo taken at the Department of Motor Vehicles
- You can pay the fees associated with the test. The fee is $9 in Utah as of 2023.
If you take and pass the knowledge test for your tanker certification at that point, you will qualify for your “N” endorsement. If you would like to also drive hazmat vehicles as well as tankers, you can take the “X” test instead, which will require you to pass a TSA background check in addition to all of the above. The hazmat test is 30 questions long in addition to the tanker written knowledge test and is $18 in total in Utah.
The Differences Between Tanker and Hazmat Endorsements
Tanker and hazmat endorsements are not the same, but you do have the option to get certified with both endorsements at the same time if you wish. The reason you may want to do so is because there are tanker shipments that also qualify as hazardous shipments, and having a hazmat endorsement could be beneficial (or required) for those loads.
Tanker drivers with a tanker endorsement get an “N” endorsement, but hazmat drivers obtain the “H” endorsement. You can also opt for an X endorsement, which signifies that you’ve passed the hazmat written exam as well as the tanker endorsement exam.
You will need to have a tanker endorsement to drive:
- Commercial vehicles designed to transport gasses or liquids in one or more tanks of over 119 gallons
- A thousand or more gallons of a gas or liquid attached to your vehicle or chassis
- Class C vehicles if those vehicles transport hazardous materials in gas or liquid form in the abovementioned tanks
If you have a hazmat endorsement, you will be able to drive:
- Materials defined as hazardous via the Department of Transportation
To open more doors, it may be a good idea to move directly to earning your “X” endorsement, so you can drive all of the above loads.
Ready to Drive? Find Your New Role at Pride
Starting or building your career in commercial driving can require you to participate in ongoing education and gather endorsements for the kinds of loads you want to transport. Not all drivers have the same endorsements but keep in mind that the more you add, the more loads you can transport and the more opportunities you will have.
Whether you have your “N” endorsement, “H” endorsement, or you’ve gotten the combined “X” endorsement for your CDL, we’re interested in seeing you thrive with our company at Pride Transport. Ready to apply? Take a look at all our current job openings and get more information here.