CDL Endorsements in Pennsylvania

Your CDL endorsements are not the only factors you should consider when getting a CDL in Pennsylvania. Applicants should also know that when you add endorsements to your CDL, the license requirements will vary, based on classification. These two factors will not only alter types of CDL tests an applicant will need to take, but also influence the type of vehicle he or she will ultimately be certified to drive. Additionally, each classification and CDL endorsement combination has unique requirements that will preclude some drivers from application. Below, learn the differences between each CDL classification, the subsequent CDL endorsements each class may require and how these two factors will affect you, as a commercial driver, in Pennsylvania.

Why do I need CDL endorsements in Pennsylvania?

When you are getting a CDL license in PA, part of the application process will involve choosing your classification. This is important in that your selected classification will require certain types of CDL endorsements, and as a result, will also affect the type of vehicle you will drive.

To add endorsements to your CDL license in Pennsylvania, you must first recognize that each CDL classification is different. As such, the CDL license endorsement types you will be able to add will differ within each class. However, a characteristic that each CDL license class shares is that anyone over the age of 18 can register. Conversely, driver under the age of 21 will see a restriction to travel simply within the state, and may be limited depending on the endorsement for CDL they select. Download our free, informative guide to read more about CDL licensing in Pennsylvania.

Different CDL License Endorsement Types in Pennsylvania

All PA CDL classifications are based on the weight of the vehicle and what it may be towing. This is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), and is a key factor to differentiating between each class. Aside from these two traits, the CDL classifications will differ as follows:

  • Class A: This is the highest and heaviest class of CDL licensure that a driver can attain in Pennsylvania, and as such, there are also CDL endorsements that are more relevant to this class than others. A CDL license in Class A is awarded to drivers with the demonstrated ability to operate combination vehicles with GVWRs of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the weight rating of the vehicle - or vehicles - in tow is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B: This is the second-heaviest classification a driver can attain, with its own CDL endorsement relevancy. Licenses in Class B are awarded to those drivers who have a demonstrated the ability to drive single vehicles with GVWRs of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that any vehicles in tow are not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C: This is the lightest classification available to applicants in Pennsylvania that also has CDL endorsements encompassing passenger transport. This class is awarded to those operators with the proven ability to drive a single vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds that also may be transporting either hazardous materials or more than 16 people.

Download our comprehensive guide to review more details about CDL license classes.

Choosing CDL Endorsements in Pennsylvania

If you have wondered, “Which CDL endorsements should I get?” you should consider the CDL endorsements information specifically surrounding the type(s) of vehicle(s) you will be driving. Will you be transporting passengers? Multiple trailers? Hazardous materials? In every case, when getting a CDL license, your selected classification will set the foundation. However, different types of CDL endorsements will enhance your license. The following CDL endorsement list will further explain the types of certifications available to you, and which vehicles are encompassed by each.

  • “H” - CDL license endorsement “H” is necessary for anyone driving a vehicle carrying hazardous materials in Pennsylvania. Although this CDL endorsement is commonly used in combination with Classification C, holders of either Class A or B are also eligible, should the vehicle reach the weight requirements. Additionally, level “H” PA CDL endorsement drivers must recertify every four years, pass a criminal background check, submit to fingerprinting and comply with other federal regulations.
  • “N” - This CDL endorsement is required for operators of tanked vehicles. There is a narrow definition of a “tank,” in that it must be either permanently-mounted and rated at 119 pounds or more, or portable and rated at 1,000 pounds or more. This designation is typically only relevant to Class A and B CDL drivers, as the vehicle weight is often well over the limitations of Class C. This is something to consider if you are the operator of a tanked vehicle in PA.
  • “T” - This is an endorsement applicable to drivers of combination vehicles. As such, PA CDL endorsement “T” only applies to members of Class A. This may also be referred to as a “Doubles/Triples” designation, as it allows the driver to haul two or more trailers. Classes B & C do not reach the weight requirement for this endorsement, and are also only meant for drivers of single vehicles.
  • “P” - CDL endorsements in Pennsylvania named “P” for commercial drivers are necessary if they are operating vehicles designed to carry 16 passengers or more. This number includes the driver. Typically, this type of CDL endorsement applies to a vehicle that is a bus, and is sought out by holders of a Class B or C licenses. However, when operating a school bus specifically, Endorsement “S” is the designation needed.
  • “S” - Including the driver, CDL endorsement type “S” is needed when operating a school bus in Pennsylvania that is designed to carry 11 people or more. Holders of the level “S” endorsement type for CDLs will also need to recertify every four years and pass other requirements, as determined by state and federal law, similar to level “H.” Furthermore, like designation “P,” endorsement “S” is sought out by Class B and C CDL drivers.
  • “X” - Endorsement “X” simply reflects a combination of CDL license endorsement types “H” and “N,” as these kinds of vehicles are typically one in the same. As such, those with “X” CDL endorsement designations must comply with all of the regulations, as mentioned for designations “H” and “N.”

Learn more about CDL endorsements by downloading our complimentary guide.