As a commercial driver, different license classes and endorsements can open up new prospects for your career. These classes and endorsements control what you can do and not do while behind the wheel of a vehicle on the road. Some CDL endorsements allow the transport of hazardous materials and others provide for the pulling of multiple trailers. On the other hand, CDL class types determine the type of vehicle that you can drive. It pays to understand the system and to make sure that you are making the most of your knowledge to enhance your job opportunities.
Classes of CDL
There are three major classes of CDL designated A, B and C. Each class denotes the type of vehicle that can be driven by the operator.
The Class A license holder can operate vehicles capable of towing large weights. You’re allowed to operate vehicles with a GCWR (gross combination weight rating) of 26,001 including towed vehicles weighing in excess of 10,000 lbs. Vehicles such as tractor-trailers, tanker trucks and livestock haulers can be operated with a Class A CDL.
A Class B license nearly identical to the Class A with the exception of the towing weight which is capped at 10,000 lbs. Example of vehicles that can be driven with a Class B would include large buses, box trucks and dump trucks with small trailers.
A Class C license basically covers vehicles not included in the A and B ratings and allows the license holder to either transport up to 15 passengers or carry hazardous materials. Clearly, vehicles include small HAZMAT trucks or large passenger vans. A class C will also allow for a trailer pulled by a small truck.
Endorsements to Consider
While classes describe the type of license you have, endorsements enhance that existing license and allow you to do even more with it. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common endorsements and what they can do for you.
P – The P endorsement is for passenger vehicles and you have to pass both a knowledge and skill test to get it.
N – The N endorsement is for vehicles with tanks fro transporting milk, gasoline, etc., and requires a knowledge test to receive.
S – The S endorsement is for driving a school bus, and requires both skill and knowledge tests to receive.
X – X is a double duty endorsement covering the transport of hazardous material in a tanker truck. It requires a knowledge test and, for security purposes, a TSA threat assessment as well.
T – The T endorsement allows you to tow multiple trailers simultaneously. This endorsement requires specialized knowledge, but no skills test.
Each of these endorsements allows you to potentially enhance your career and open up new possibilities for driving. When you want to take on a new task, change your license class or add an endorsement.