Shipping Biological Substances & Dry Ice - USDOT and IATA Training


In order to comply with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and International Air Transportation Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations, persons who prepare hazardous materials for shipment (including shipping papers) or who transport hazardous materials in commerce must complete training in accordance with the requirements of these transportation safety authorities.

This training must include:

  • General awareness training
  • Function-specific training
  • Safety training
  • Security training (if applicable)

At the completion of training, the trainee must successfully complete a test to demonstrate their knowledge of training materials as it relates to their shipping function. Then the trainee will receive a certificate of training specific for the class of materials they may ship. In order for this certificate to meet all required elements under the transportation safety regulations, the trainee’s supervisor must also sign the certificate to acknowledge that the person has demonstrated that they can apply the required packaging and documentation practices as they relate to their shipments. Because of this, it is advisable that either the PI or a lab manager who may sign training certificates also complete this training to be fully aware of the requirements, regardless of whether they will be shipping materials themselves.   

There are currently two types of shipping training offered by VEHS Biosafety: Biological Materials and Dry Ice Shipping Training and the Dry Ice Shipping Training Module.  Consult the descriptions below to determine which training covers the materials shipped by the trainee.

Biological Materials and Dry Ice Shipping Training

If a trainee performs any of the following functions, the trainee will need to complete this training:

  • Package or ship human or animal clinical specimens or tissues
  • Package or ship any human or animal clinical specimens as part of a study where the sponsor has designated these materials as Category B biological substances (or prepare paperwork for such packages)
  • Package or ship any materials that may contain an agent infectious to humans or animals (i.e., microbiological cultures).

This training will also cover shipping Dry Ice.  Because of the nature of the training requirements for biological materials shipping, this shipping training will only be offered through in-person sessions that are held at least monthly by VEHS Biosafety.  This training is not provided online.

Retraining is required.   Once initial training is completed, the person must complete refresher training at least once every 24 months or when significant regulatory changes occur.

If you have completed training in the past but the session was not an in-person session, you will need to complete an in-person session to "renew" your training at your earliest convenience in order to be compliant for shipping any of the materials mentioned above going forward.

Biological Materials & Dry Ice Shipping Training Schedule

Registration is REQUIRED.   Each class is limited to 10 participants.

To register for training, sign in to Vanderbilt’s RATE system at using your VUnetID and password.  Under the Courses tab look for the Environmental Health and Safety heading for the Biological Materials & Dry Ice Shipping Training course.   If you have any difficulty with signing up for the course using RATE, contact Richard DiTullio ( for assistance.

These 2.5 hour classes are held in A-0201 MCN (VEHS Conference Room) unless otherwise indicated.

Additional group training sessions may be scheduled upon request. Contact Rich DiTullio, at 322-1988 or for assistance.

If you need to ship biological specimens but have not yet received training, contact Robin Trundy (, VEHS Biosafety Officer at 322-0927 or contact Richard DiTullio ( at 322-1988 for assistance.

PLEASE NOTE:   Trainees that have successfully completed the Biological Materials and Dry Ice Shipping training class do not have to complete the Dry Ice Shipping Training module as well.

Dry Ice Shipping Training Module

If the trainee performs the following shipping function only, then the trainee should complete this training:

Package or ship temperature-sensitive, non-hazardous materials on Dry Ice (or prepare the paperwork for such packages)

This training is provided online.  The module is a 30-minute narrated presentation that covers the general requirements of the regulations, the standard triple packaging system, and the regulations specific to Dry Ice. 

Retraining is required.   Once initial training is completed, the trainee must complete refresher training at least once every 24 months or when significant regulatory changes occur.

To enroll in this course, click here or search for this title in the Learning Exchange,   Once you have completed this course, send a copy of the Learning Exchange certificate to Richard DiTullio (  A certificate with required USDOT information will be sent to you in return.

Additional Resources