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What is a HazMat driver? Duties, pay details and more

A HazMat driver in their PPE standing outside of their tractor-trailer.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes 

“HazMat,” or “hazardous material,” is a term drivers often see associated with tanker driving jobs. This is because many common hazardous materials, such as gasoline, oil and other chemicals, are liquid and must be hauled via tanker trailers. 

But what is a HazMat driver? And how much do HazMat drivers make? Keep reading to find out.  

What is a HazMat driver? 

HazMat drivers are professionals who are certified to transport corrosive, explosive, flammable, poisonous and otherwise dangerous materials, such as: 

  • Gasoline.
  • Propane.
  • Alcohol.
  • Paint and paint thinners.

HazMat roles are unique because they require drivers to undergo extensive safety training and have a HazMat endorsement for their CDL.  

HazMat positions are often, but not always, tanker jobs.

What is a typical HazMat driver salary? 

As of February 2024, tanker company truck drivers at Schneider currently earn between $1,280-$1,560 a week and have the potential, based on a number of factors, to earn up to $96,000 per year. 

Tanker drivers are among the highest paid in Schneider’s fleet, and those who have a HazMat endorsement on top of their tanker endorsement typically earn even more. Why is that? 

HazMat truck drivers tend to bring home bigger paychecks because of the specialized nature of transporting tanker loads that are hazardous. Having a HazMat endorsement also opens up more freight opportunities for drivers. 

What impacts a HazMat truck driver’s salary? 

1. Their driving experience.  

The level of experience a HazMat driver has can considerably influence their pay. As with many professions, those with more years on the job often command higher wages.  

2. Their employer.  

How much a HazMat driver makes is very dependent on the trucking company they work for. 

On top of a salary, many companies offer other forms of compensation through a benefits package. 

For example, truck driver benefits at Schneider include: 

Schneider also reimburses drivers for the cost of obtaining their HazMat endorsement. 

3. Their location. 

Where a truck driver works can also affect their salary. Certain regions may offer higher compensation due to factors such as the cost of living or high demand for drivers. The nature and volume of the freight being hauled in an area can also influence wages. 

4. If they’re on a dedicated account. 

Being on a dedicated account, which means hauling freight for just one customer, can greatly impact a HazMat driver's salary. Dedicated accounts generally offer predictable freight and miles which provide more consistent income for HazMat drivers. 

5. Their home time frequency. 

How often a driver gets home can also impact how much they make, as those who stay out longer frequently earn more than drivers who get home every day. 

6. Their additional qualifications. 

Additional qualifications, such as having a TWIC card, can boost a truck driver's earning potential. Additional certifications make a driver more attractive to employers and often lead to higher pay. 

Learn about the additional qualifications a truck driver can get by checking out our guide to CDL endorsements. 

What are the benefits of becoming a HazMat driver? 

1. Having a higher earning potential. 

HazMat drivers tend to earn higher salaries due to the specialized skills required to transport tanker loads that are hazardous materials. Having a HazMat endorsement also increases the selection of freight opportunities available to drivers.  

2. Standing out in your field. 

Those who have a HazMat endorsement stand out among their peers because they can haul freight that others cannot. Having more versatile abilities also means more job options to choose from and more job security for HazMat certified drivers. 

3. Doing hands-on work. 

One unique aspect of being a HazMat driver is the hands-on nature of the job. HazMat drivers are often responsible for loading and unloading the freight they haul, which can allow for a nice change in pace. 

Interested in getting a HazMat endorsement?

See what steps you need to take to get HazMat certified with our step-by-step guide. 
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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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