The Value of Trucking Endorsements

If you are interested in new trucking job opportunities or a way to increase your income, consider adding one or more trucking endorsements to your commercial driver’s license (CDL).

These certifications are beneficial and go a long way in the industry. Learning more about the available endorsements and their value will help you better expand your eligibility as a trucker.

What are Trucking Endorsements?

While a CDL allows you to drive commercial vehicles, a CDL endorsement expands your capabilities. An endorsement is a certification that you have learned safety and operational skills beyond the standard CDL requirements. These certifications give you permission to operate a specific type of commercial vehicle or transport a certain type of freight. 

Types of Trucking Endorsements

There are several types of trucking endorsements that drivers can receive, three of the most beneficial being tanks, doubles/triples, and hazardous materials. 


A tanks or tanker endorsement allows a driver to operate a vehicle with a tank to transport liquid or gaseous materials. This includes fuel, water, and industrial chemicals.


While a standard semi-truck will only carry one trailer, a driver with a doubles or triples endorsement can operate a truck with two or three attached trailers, known as long combination vehicles (LCVs). This permits them to transport more cargo at once.

Hazardous Materials 

A hazardous material, or hazmat, endorsement lets truckers transport substances labeled by the Department of Transportation as potentially harmful to human health. Drivers with this endorsement can earn more money per mile than other truck drivers.

Why Earn Endorsements?

Obtaining endorsements requires an investment of time and money beyond what is required of being a truck driver. While they are not necessary to be successful in the industry, having one or more endorsements is beneficial in many ways.

Broaden Your Job Opportunities

Earning CDL endorsements will set you apart from other drivers. Every endorsement you obtain gives you a chance to join a whole subset of truck driving jobs. Specializing in a certain type of vehicle or cargo makes your services even more desirable to transportation companies. This allows you to apply for a variety of opportunities, enhancing your career track in today’s competitive landscape.

Earn More Money

Drivers with endorsements, especially the tanker endorsement, are currently in high demand. Most companies are willing to pay more for drivers with certifications beyond a CDL because they are more difficult to achieve. Companies also give these drivers favorable hours and routes. The hazmat endorsement in particular pays much better than regular loads due to the perceived risk involved in hauling hazardous materials. Earning these endorsements makes you a valuable asset to any trucking company.

Keep Your Knowledge Fresh

Endorsements are an avenue for a driver to continue their education and further prove their value on the road. Studying and testing for these certifications will keep your knowledge of the industry fresh and up to date. It can also help you avoid the boredom that comes with hauling the same cargo in the same vehicle for every job.

High-Quality CDL Training is Waiting For You

No matter what type of trucking endorsement(s) you plan to pursue, you can earn them alongside your CDL at Phoenix Truck Driving Institute. We do all that we can to help our students succeed, and that includes providing them with opportunities for additional training.

Call us today to learn more about our available trucking endorsements. 

Types of Trucking Trailers

Trucking is the preferred method of shipping for most goods, accounting for over 70% of all the freight transported in the United States. There is a wide variety of semi-truck trailers available, each suited for a different kind of cargo. Finding the right trailer for your job will make all the difference in facilitating the safe arrival of your shipment. In this guide, we will break down some of the most common types of trucking trailers found in America and what cargo they can haul. 

Dry Van Trailers

Dry vans are the most commonly used trailer in the trucking industry. Also known as dry box trailers, they are enclosed to protect cargo from the elements and other hazards on the road. Some of the largest corporations in the US use dry vans to transport their inventories, including clothing, non-perishable food, and household goods. These goods are loaded on pallets or boxes into the back of a dry van through a loading dock. While dry vans can carry up to 45,000 pounds of freight, their boxlike shape makes them unable to transport oversized loads.

Flatbed Trailers

Another popular type of trailer is the standard flatbed. Flatbed trailers are generally dry van trailers without the top or sides. They are used to carry large, bulky items, like construction material, that won’t fit in a dry van. Flatbeds are extremely versatile due to their open back and sides, which makes loading and unloading easy with a forklift or overhead crane. Flatbeds also come in extendable versions to avoid overhanging freight. For both types of flatbeds, drivers must properly secure their load with chains, straps, or tarps since they are not contained.

Refrigerated Trailers

Refrigerated trailers, or reefers, are the best option for shipping goods that need temperature control. This type of trailer is insulated and will maintain a cool temperature for chilled or frozen cargo despite the weather. Items like fruit, pharmaceuticals, and ice cream are commonly moved using reefers. Similar to a dry box, refrigerated trailers have a maximum weight capacity of around 45,000 pounds. Since they are enclosed trailers, they cannot haul anything that exceeds the length of their deck.

Other Types of Trailers

In addition to the three most common types of trucking trailers, there are others made for more specific purposes.

  • Drop-Deck Trailer: These trailers are an alternative to flatbeds when the height of a load is a factor, such as with building materials and various types of machinery.
  • Lowboy Trailer: A lowboy, or double drop trailer, is closer to the ground than any other type of trailer and is used for heavy hauls.
  • Removable Gooseneck Trailers: A RGN trailer has a debatable front, allowing it to be dropped on the ground and used as a ramp. It is capable of carrying freight weighing up to 150,000 pounds.

Earn Your CDL Today

No matter what type of trucking trailer you wish to haul, you will need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) first. Phoenix Truck Driving Institute has been offering high-quality CDL training for over a decade. With our accelerated program, we can get you on the road in as little as four weeks.

Contact our Phoenix location today to learn more about our CDL training program.

Trucker Budgeting Tips

Managing your money and time are two of the key aspects of being a successful truck driver. Living on the road introduces unique budgeting challenges for truckers, especially when it comes to meal planning. With a bit of effort, however, it is possible to create and follow a budget to save your hard-earned money.


Follow these trucker budgeting tips to save money on the road:

Keep Track of Income and Expenses

The first step in creating a budget is keeping a record of how much money you are taking in each month relative to how much you are spending. Budgeting one month at a time is beneficial because it allows you to be more exact with your estimates. For each trip, track all of your income and expenses in a spreadsheet. After a few months, take a look at the data to see where you may be overspending, then adjust your habits to improve the balance. 

Pay Close Attention To Food Costs

Food is a big expense on any budget, especially for over-the-road truckers who spend a lot of time away from home. If you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a truck stop or restaurant five days a week, the money you spend on fast food can quickly rack up. Instead, invest in truck-specific kitchen gear like a microwave, crockpot, or refrigerator, and meal prep before you leave on a trip. Even if you cover one meal a day in your truck, the savings will accumulate over time.

Take Advantage of Amenities 

Gas stations and rest stops have a variety of free resources available to truck drivers. Take advantage of everything gas stations have to offer, from free water for showers and filling up your water bottle, to lounges with WiFi. The same goes for rest stops. Do your laundry and work out if they have a laundromat or fitness center available. There are also many novelty rest stops across the United States that offer unique amenities and entertainment for truckers.

Join Loyalty Programs

Becoming a rewards member for companies you frequent is another easy way to rack up savings while on the road. Establishments like restaurants, gas stations, truck stops, and hotels have loyalty programs that can save you money when you make purchases you were already going to make. These points can turn into a free cup of coffee, a meal, a shower, or even a night’s stay in a hotel. Certain companies offer commercial driver’s license (CDL) discounts to truckers as well, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Avoid Tickets by Driving Safely 

Speeding tickets and traffic violation fines can add an unexpected expense to your trip. Speeding may seem tempting because you can get more miles in and therefore make more money. However, it is in the best interest of your budget, driving record, and (most importantly) safety to avoid violations at all costs. Receiving several tickets in a certain period of time can result in the suspension of your CDL, which you need to continue working as a trucker. This means you will actually save money in the long run by following traffic laws.

Get Rewarded For Your Hard Work

One of the biggest items that affect your budget is your income. When you earn your CDL at Phoenix Truck Driving School, you are setting yourself up for success in the trucking industry. Our programs can help you get on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

Get started on earning your CDL by contacting us today. 

Understanding Home Time in Trucking

Time off for truckers looks a bit different than it does in most other fields. Whereas an office worker typically gets home every night and gets weekends off, long-haul drivers spend longer stretches of time away from home, then get more days off in between these hauls. This is known as home time, and it’s important to understand how this works so you know what to expect and can plan for your truck driving career.

Home Time vs Paid Time Off

Home time is not the same thing as paid time off. During paid time off, you are still getting compensation. Many trucking companies offer this after you’ve spent some time with the company. By contrast, home time is more like weekends in other professions. It’s unpaid time that you take at somewhat regular intervals.

How Much Home Time Do Truckers Get?

Your home time depends on the type of trucking job you pursue – local, regional, or over-the-road (OTR). Each company within these categories has a different policy, so be sure to read this before you commit to a job and ask questions if you aren’t sure how often you can expect home time. 

Local truckers stay within a region close to home, and report to the same location at the start and end of every day. These drivers often have longer daily shifts, but come home every night and get regular days off. These may be every weekend, or sometimes during the middle of the week depending on the job.

Regional truckers travel further from home than local drivers, but not as far as OTR truckers. Their exact home time schedule varies depending on the job. Many are able to get home once a week, typically on the weekend.

OTR drivers spend the longest amount of time on the road, often four to six weeks. Different companies offer different lengths of home time between hauls, usually based on the amount of time spent on the road. For example, a motor carrier may offer one day at home for every week spent on the road.

You’ll likely start as an OTR trucker after school to get experience. However, after spending some time in this niche, you may decide to look for a regional or local job. These are typically more competitive and often pay less, but may be a good fit if home time is a primary concern.

Can You Guarantee Home Time on Certain Days?

Some trucking jobs, such as dedicated freight for one customer, are easier to predict a stable schedule for. These are harder to get as a rookie, but may be possible to move into later in your career. For a standard dry van OTR job, freight can be harder to predict. You can always put in a request with your company to be home at a certain time, but it’s helpful to be prepared for the unexpected in trucking.

Do You Have to Take Home Time at Home?

Despite the name, you don’t necessarily have to return home for your home time. Many motor carriers will allow you to take this time elsewhere. This can be a great way to see more of the country and try something new. Keep in mind that many companies do have additional requirements for this.

What Do You Do With Your Truck During Home Time?

Different motor carriers have different policies for what you need to do with your semi-truck during home time. In most cases, you’ll leave it at a terminal so that it is secure. In some cases, your company may allow you to bobtail, meaning drive without a trailer, home as long as you have a secure and large enough space for it. Just make sure you’re also in line with any local regulations for where to park, that you have enough space to leave safely.

Start Your Trucking Career

At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we can help you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and start your trucking career. We offer job placement assistance for our students and can help you find positions with home time that matches your needs.

To learn more about our CDL training, contact us today.