Earning a certification can enhance your career by providing you with credentials that highlight your skills and expertise. Certification can also sometimes help you qualify for more advanced jobs with specialized responsibilities. In the commercial driving industry, most drivers have one or a combination of certifications that allow them to drive different types of vehicles and work in leadership positions. In this article, we explore nine common certification programs for drivers and endorsements drivers can add to their commercial driver’s license.
What is a driving certification?
A driving certification is a credential for commercial drivers that identifies the holder as being skilled or experienced in a particular area of the industry. Many driving certifications cover topics that relate to safety regulations and standards, as driving large vehicles can offer the potential for hazards unless drivers take all necessary safety precautions.
Another popular reason for a driver to pursue certification is if they want to drive a specific type of vehicle, such as a van or a cargo truck. Because operating each type of delivery vehicle requires different skills and processes, drivers can earn certification or endorsement in several vehicle types to show employers that they’re ready and permitted to complete various kinds of deliveries.
Driving certification programs for commercial drivers
Here are some popular certification programs for commercial drivers:
National Safety Council (NSC)
The National Safety Council (NSC) is an agency that focuses on promoting driver safety. This includes educating drivers about how they can maintain safety standards on the job and evaluating existing safety regulations for drivers to find areas that might benefit from improvement.
Because the National Safety Council offers a few different types of certification, the specific requirements for earning certification through the NSC might vary depending on the credential you want to pursue. However, most NSC certifications involve completing several hours of coursework on various elements of road safety, such as safety inspections, incident investigations, and industrial hygiene.
Here are a few certifications that the National Safety Council offers:
NSC Advanced Safety Certificate
NSC Professional Truck Driver
DDC Professional Truck Driver Online
Coaching the Van Driver
National Traffic Safety Institute (NTSI)
The National Traffic Safety Institute (NTSI) provides training and certification for drivers in all states and in several types of transport. For commercial drivers who work in fleets, the National Traffic Safety Institute has a number of programs that can help them prepare for and earn certification in road safety, specific types of vehicles, and more. Many courses from the National Traffic Safety Institute take place online which can help drivers obtain certification conveniently and from their own homes or workplaces.
However, the National Traffic Safety Institute also holds in-person classes where instructors give candidates opportunities for hands-on practice and application of concepts they learn in the course. Here are a few certifications that the National Traffic Safety Institute offers:
Van and High Profile
Golf Cart and Utility Vehicle
National American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI)
The National American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI) is an organization that offers credentials for fleet drivers and commercial truck drivers. Many certifications from the National American Transport Management Institute apply to specific job titles, some of which are in leadership positions, which can be helpful for commercial drivers who want to advance their career to a certain job in the industry.
Because the NATMI has several different options for certification, the experience and course requirements for applying can vary between each certification. However, most NATMI certifications require at least two years of experience in the field and a minimum of one training course. Here are some of the certifications that the National American Transport Management Institute provides:
Certified Safety Supervisor (CSS)
Certified Driver Trainer (CDT)
Certified Supervisor of Maintenance/Equipment (CSM/E)
Certified Director of Safety (CDS)
Certified Director of Maintenance/Equipment (CDM/E)
Certified Cargo Security Professional (CCSP)
Here are the main driving endorsements for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) that you can apply for:
The N endorsement gives CDL drivers the ability to operate tank vehicles. A tanker vehicle, or tanker, is a vehicle that’s designed to transport liquids or gases safely. To obtain the N endorsement for tankers, candidates have to take and pass a written knowledge exam.
The H endorsement allows holders to drive vehicles that contain hazardous materials or waste. To earn the H endorsement, candidates need to pass a written knowledge exam that covers topics like safety measures, hazmat protocol, and regulations for transporting hazardous materials.
The P endorsement is designed for drivers who want to operate vehicles that can seat large groups of 16 people or more. This can include vehicles like school buses, service buses, and limousines. In order to earn the P endorsement, candidates need to pass one written exam on knowledge and another exam on road safety that has one section of written questions and another that involves a practical test of candidates’ skills on the road.
The S endorsement gives drivers the qualification to drive a school bus. Because a school bus is a vehicle that can transport 16 or more people, candidates who want the S endorsement first need to obtain the P endorsement. Then, candidates can complete a written knowledge test and a road test, submit application forms and fees, and undergo a background check to earn the S endorsement.
The T endorsement is for commercial drivers who want to tow a trailer that has double or triple capacity. To earn the T endorsement, candidates have to pass a written knowledge test about safety regulations and road laws that apply to double and triple trailers.
The X endorsement is a combination endorsement that permits drivers to operate tank vehicles and transport hazardous materials. In order to obtain the X endorsement, candidates need to pass a written knowledge test.
I hope you find this article helpful.