Applying for a Pennsylvania CDL - Endorsement H (Hazardous Materials)

by Joshua on September 12, 2014

In order to drive large-sized vehicles in the United States, you need a Commercial Driver’s License . More specifically, most vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of over 26,001 pounds require a CDL to drive. Specialty vehicles like school busses or hazardous material transports require additional licensing on top of a CDL. These additional privileges are known as endorsements. In order to drive vehicles that deal with hazardous materials (Hazmat), the CDL holder must also hold Endorsement H . Another related endorsement is Endorsement N , which allows the holder to drive tank vehicles. Driving a tank with hazardous materials requires both of these endorsements, which are referred to together as Endorsement X .

Qualifying and Applying For A Pennsylvania CDL

The requirements to apply for a basic CDL in Pennsylvania are fairly simple and less strict than in some other states. All you need is a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, a social security card, proof of identity and residency, and the completed forms (available online from the Pennsylvania DMV). These forms are taken in to a Driver’s License Center to apply for a CDL Learner’s Permit . Part of this form involves submitting medical information in the form of a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (DOT Physical Card) issued under the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Pennsylvania does not have its own additional medical requirements beyond that for a non-commercial license. Instead, CDL applicants must meet the requirements of the FMCSA. These requirements include a vision test, epilepsy, hearing test, no diagnosis of various potentially disrupting cardiovascular conditions, disabling mental conditions, respiratory conditions, hypertension (high blood pressure), diagnosed alcoholism, diabetes that requires insulin injection, or usage of prohibited substances. The applicant must be free of any muscle or joint impairment that could impede driving ability, such as chronic arthritis or muscle spasms.
Once this application is approved, you will have to take a knowledge test for the CDL itself, as well as for any endorsements that you selected in your application. After the application process is approved, the permit is good for one year from that date. You must past the test before you can actually use the permit on the road. The time it takes you to pass the knowledge test is deducted from that one year period. In other words, if it took you 6 months to study for and pass the test, you would only have 6 months remaining on your permit.
You may take a road test after you have passed the knowledge test and held the active learner’s permit for at least 15 days. Once you pass this road test, you will be issued a Pennsylvania CDL.

Qualifying and Applying For Endorsement H In Pennsylvania

The requirements for Endorsement H are the strictest amongst all of the endorsements. After passing the knowledge test, you must pass a Federal Security Threat Assessment, be fingerprinted at an approved station, and not have any disqualifying criminal convictions. The Security Threat Assessment is filled out through a form and submitted along with a fee. Fingerprinting in Pennsylvania is now handled by 3M Cogent; an FBI approved company, rather than the police force.
Numerous criminal convictions will automatically disqualify you from obtaining Endorsement H in Pennsylvania, or anywhere else in the United Stated. Furthermore, the length of disqualification for traffic or other violations is longer if you hold Endorsement H. Some of the automatic disqualifying convictions for Endorsement H include:

  • Terrorism
  • Murder
  • Assault with intent to murder
  • Kidnapping or hostage-taking
  • Rape or aggravated sexual abuse
  • Extortion
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Firearm or other weapon Distribution of
  • Intent to distribute
  • Improper transportation of a hazardous material
  • Plus more…

H2. Fees for Applying For a CDL w/Endorsement H In Pennsylvania

The basic application fee for applying for a CDL with Endorsement H is $74.50 for the initial permit plus a 4 year license, as well as an additional $60 that applies specifically to Endorsement H. There is a $60 fee for the Security Threat Assessment, a $34 fee paid to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for the fingerprinting processing, and a $26 FBI fee collected by 3M Cogent.
This amounts to $254.50 in total fees that to obtain a CDL with Endorsement H in Pennsylvania . It may be wise to budget some extra money for practice tests and for CDL driving lessons. Be aware that cash is not accepted at Pennsylvania Driver’s License Centers.

Other Information for Obtaining a CDL with Endorsement H in Pennsylvania

Keep in mind that Endorsement H does not allow you to operate tanker vehicles. If you plan on driving tankers that carry hazardous materials, you will need to obtain Endorsement N as well. This only requires an additional knowledge test, and of course, an additional fee.
To save time when applying at government driver’s license stations, try to arrive as early as possible (arriving when they open is ideal) to avoid a long line. Try to obtain practice tests found in the links below and study for your CDL knowledge test before applying so that your study and testing time does not cut into your learner’s permit length.

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