Why You Should Become a Hazmat Driver

Lindsey Woods
4 Minutes


Hazmat stands for ‘Hazardous Material’ which is “a chemical or agent (biological, chemical, radiological, or physical) which has the potential to cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment, either by itself or through interaction with others” (Hazmat Solutions). The term Hazmat is a general term to cover the different categories of hazardous materials.


Hazardous material is considered to be anything (solid, liquid, or gas) that can cause harm to your health or the environment. If this material is spilled, it has a requirement that it be reported in a specific way.

With extremely hazardous materials, under Section 302 of the Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), all companies that have hazardous materials on site are required to have a plan with the Local Emergency Planning Committee in case of emergency (Hazmat Solutions).

Sometimes you’ll hear something called Hazardous Waste. That’s when the material has either spilled or reached the end of its lifespan. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), when the chemical is disposed of it is classified as as a Hazardous Waste.


A Hazmat Tanker Driver is simply a truck driver that has earned the Hazmat and Tanker endorsements, saying that they are able to transport hazardous materials over the road. There is a wide variety of endorsements a truck driver could get, but to be able to transport cryogenic materials or hazardous materials, getting these endorsements is a requirement.

Is being a Hazmat Driver really all it’s cracked up to be? The short answer to that is yes, but it depends. If you’re wanting to make more money, then it’s the right move for you. Along with more money, there are other benefits for making this career move.

Stand out to your employers

Getting endorsements isn’t an easy task, and those with a Tanker and Hazmat endorsement on their CDL stand out. Employers who see those endorsements see the driver as adaptable, and trustworthy, with is something companies are looking for over other drivers.

Great Benefits and Pay

Because hauling Hazmat has higher risks than other types of CDL driving, companies make up for it with better benefits and higher pay. Tanker drivers typically have better health insurance, life insurance, and more vacation days compared to other drivers.

The typical starting pay for tanker drivers is about $20.32/hr across the US, which is higher than most non-tanker drivers. With more experience and more endorsements, that pay will increase. Another thing that affects pay is the type of material you are hauling. Certain hazardous materials pay more than others due to the extra risks involved in transporting.

Job Security

With a Hazmat and Tanker endorsement, you are able to take on more general and specified driver jobs. The more skills you have and the more versatile you are means the more jobs you can do,  whether that be regular freight or hazmat. The hazardous materials industries, like the cryogenics industry, is ever-expanding and more experienced drivers are always in need to haul these goods over the road.

Short Unload and Load Times

While trying to unload your reefer or dry van can take hours, typically hazardous materials are loaded in about 45 minutes. Unloading is even shorter, usually taking 15-20 minutes. Typically a hazmat driver is no touch, meaning the clients will handle all the unloading and loading. The job is hands on as well, but a lot of the time hazmat drivers are paid additionally for loading and unloading.

State of the Art Equipment

Hazmat drivers are well aware of the risks, which is why safety is a top priority for companies. Many Carrier Companies, like LGT, stay up-to-date with the latest safety technology for drivers to reduce the risk and severity of accidents.


If this sounds right for you, the first step to take is to get your tanker and hazmat endorsements. If you don’t have that already, read here on How to Get a CDL. After you get your endorsements, the choice is yours. Start looking for companies that meet your needs, such as home-time, pay, and benefits offered.

Interested in Driving with LGT? Check out what we offer and Let’s Move Forward Together.

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