A CDL Benefit You May NOT Know: How a CDL Can Make Flying Easier!

Getting a trucking CDL can provide a lot of benefits for a hauler – you get access to bigger, better-paying loads, “job security” feels more secure, and it gives you a marketable edge as you took the time and commitment to learn or add onto your industry’s skills. However, those who also have their Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) have a new, exciting benefit they may not even be aware of!

CDL

Any qualifying HME holders may be eligible for TSA Pre-Checks at no additional costs or extra enrollment, according to the Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov)! The TSA identified efficiencies across the two vetting programs that eliminates redundancies between Hazardous Material Endorsements and Pre-Check Qualifications; according to the TSA, the “HME Threat Assessment Program has a regulated vetting program that requires the TSA to conduct a Security Threat Assessment (STA) to determine if an individual requiring specific transportation-related access poses a threat to nation or transportation security.” For TSA Pre-Check members, there is similar security and threat assessment done before one is approved for expedited security screenings.

So many HME holders already meet the criteria for the TSA Pre-Check Application Program and may have no idea!

TSA Pre-Check

If you’re reading this and don’t yet have your HME but have been considering it, you may be wondering what the other benefits come with obtaining a HazMat endorsement. For one, it makes you as a hauler more desirable as you can transport more, unique types of loads which in turn leads to you potentially earning more.

The process that goes into getting these CDL endorsements isn’t necessarily difficult, but it is lengthy. If you’re a trucker interested in expanding your cargo types to include hazardous material, keep reading and follow the five steps below to get started:

How to Get Your HME:

Step 1: Meet All Endorsement Requirements

The first step to getting any specialized CDL endorsement is to ensure you meet all of the requirements beforehand. For Hazardous Material, these requirements include:

  • Being at least 21 years old
  • Having a valid CDL or CDL Permit
  • Proof of Identification (Passport, Birth Certificate, U.S. Citizenship Certificate)
  • Have a medical examiner’s certificate (MEC), or a DOT medical card
How to Get Your CDL

Step 2: Fill Application Out

If you fit all the requirements necessary to begin the process, next you must fill out the online HazMat endorsement form from the TSA’s Universal Enrollment website.

This application operates the same way as a background check, so have all paperwork and documentation ready during this application process. However, if you’re in the following states you must check with a local DMV about this process in order to begin this process:

Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Step 3: Go to an Application Center

Once you’ve completed the application form and it’s been submitted, you next need to look up and find the nearest Transportation Security Administration (TSA) application center and schedule an appointment.

At your appointment, you will need to do the following:

  • Bring the two required documentation from Step 1 and a hard copy of your application from Step 2
  • Get fingerprinted
  • If necessary, pay a fee for the endorsement (will be valid for up to five years)

Step 4: Wait for Application Update

Now is the hardest step in any process: waiting. It can take up to two months to hear back about an application, so be patient. If you submitted the application online, you may be able to check the status of it through the same TSA website.

Once your application has been approved, print it out.

If you find your application was rejected, you do have the chance to appeal it.

Step 5: Visit Local DMV

With your printed-out accepted application and the two identification documents from Step 1, you can finally go to your local DMV to take the CDL HazMat test. For this test, study the hazardous materials section in your CDL manual.

If you complete all these steps then congratulations! You will soon be the owner of HME and, as a result, are eligible for the TSA Pre-Check application as well.

HME

FAQ’s:

1. Are all HME holders eligible for the TSA Pre-Check?

No. Only CDL holders with an active or updated HME will meet the requirements for a TSA Pre-Check. HME’s obtained through waivers may also not be eligible for this Pre-Check.

2. Do you need to apply for the TSA Pre-Check separate from the HME enrollment?

No. All active HME holders who meet the TSA Program’s requirements will be eligible for the Pre-Check without needing to do a separate enrollment for the TSA application.

3. How much will it cost to add the TSA Pre-Check eligibility?

Nothing! There is no additional cost for eligible HME holders!

4. When will HME holders be eligible for this benefit?

This new TSA Pre-Check eligibility benefit went into effect on April 15th, 2020. As of the current year, 2022, this is still active for all eligible HME holders.

5. How do you know if you have the TSA Pre-Check?

When booking a reservation, supply your two-letter State abbreviation and state-issued CDL number as your KTN. If the airline is participating in the Pre-Check Program, then the Pre-Check indicator will be printed directly onto your boarding pass.

6. Can you use a State-issued CDL with HME to enter the TSA Pre-Check airport lane?

To enter the TSA Pre-Check lane you will need to present a valid boarding pass with the Pre-Check indicator on it. Your CDL with HME must be a real ID for it to serve as valid identification at the checkpoint.
Visit https://www.dhs.gov/real-id to learn more about what a “real ID” means.

7. Where can you find more information about the TSA Pre-Check?

Visit https://www.tsa.gov/precheck for all information regarding the TSA Pre-Check.

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