How Can I Find School Bus Driver Training Programs?
A commercial driver's license is necessary to become a school bus driver. Requirements for bus driver training and licensing vary by the state you plan to work in. Read on for more details on education and duties.
What Do I Need to Enroll in a Training Program?
You'll need to be at least 18 years of age and fluent in English to enroll in a training program or to obtain a commercial learner's permit. You'll also need to pass a physical screening for signs of visual impairment, hearing loss, respiratory issues, high blood pressure, drug abuse, seizure disorders or mobility impairment.
In general, you can't have any health condition that impairs your ability to operate a school bus. Once you've been proven medically qualified and earned a passing score on the knowledge test for a permit, you can operate a school bus in a training program.
|Program Requirements||18 years of age, English fluency, physical exam|
|Job Requirements||Commercial driver's license with proper endorsements, background check, additional requirements vary by state|
|Training Topics||Safety and mirror checks, mechanical knowledge, first aid, emergency situations|
|Job Duties||Driving logs, assisting children on and off buses, child supervision|
|Median Salary (2020)||$32,320 (for school or special-client bus drivers)*|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||4% growth (for all school or special-client bus drivers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Do I Need to Become a School Bus Driver?
To work as a school bus driver, you'll need a commercial driver's license with passenger and school bus endorsements. You'll also need to complete a training program administered or recognized by the state you plan to work in. These training programs require a certain amount of classroom instruction and road time behind the wheel of a bus. In some states, you might be able to complete some of the instruction required to drive a bus, receive your license and finish your training within a few months.
You'll also need to meet health and background requirements to drive a school bus. For example, you'll need to pass an FBI background check and have a clean driving record. You'll also need to pass drug, hearing and vision tests as well as taking a physical examination.
You might also have to meet additional requirements to work as a school bus driver. For example, the state of California holds school bus drivers to a higher standard of training than any other type of commercial or passenger driver. In California, you'll need to attend regular safety meetings, complete CPR training and be able to demonstrate defensive driving techniques. Other states may have similar requirements.
After you earn a commercial driver's license with a passenger and school bus endorsement, you'll need to meet continuing education requirements that vary by state in annual, biannual or longer intervals. This refresher training usually includes classroom instruction, supervised bus driving and a knowledge test.
What Can I Learn?
In a training program, you'll learn how to operate a school bus. This includes making safety and mirror checks before you pick up students as well as learning how to identify mechanical failures that may occur during a bus route. You'll also learn how to address emergency situations that require first aid or bus evacuation. Otherwise, the subjects covered in a government-supervised or other training program vary by state.
What Will I Do on the Job?
As a school bus driver, you'll be responsible for keeping track of the students on your bus route. You may also have to assist students getting on or off the bus. Other responsibilities include maintaining records or a log of how many students you picked up, where you drove the bus and how many miles you traveled. In some school systems, you may be responsible for driving a bus during field trips or performing maintenance tasks.