become a school bus driver

What does a Bus Driver do?

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A bus driver transports students to and from home, school, and school-based events safely and on time. Some bus drivers may transport a specific age group or population as well, such as elementary students, or students will special needs. They ensure students get safely on and off the bus and watch for unsafe behavior when the bus is in motion.

Watch a video to learn more about what a school bus driver does.

How to Become a School Bus Driver

To become a school bus driver, you’ll need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). You’ll start out with a commercial learner’s permit that gives you the opportunity to practice driving a bus without passengers on board. Next, you would take a written exam, show that you have a history of safe driving, complete a road skills test in the vehicle you will be driving, and then apply for your CDL endorsement. Requirements do vary by state, so you would want to find out what your state’s requirements are.

Next, you’ll need to gain two specific endorsements to operate a school bus. The first endorsement to gain is a passenger (or “P”) endorsement. This is an endorsement allowing you to carry at least 16 passengers in a vehicle. You should understand how to board your student passengers and ensure they exit properly, how to respond to emergencies that may occur, and even how to handle a difficult passenger. Once you gain an endorsement to carry many passengers, you may then earn an school bus (or “S”) endorsement to operate a school bus. This “S” endorsement requires you to pass a written school bus endorsement test and a skills test. An additional air brake endorsement is also needed if you plan to drive a bus equipped with air brakes.

Job Description of a School Bus Driver

bus driver

A school bus driver would operate a large bus (or sometimes large charter van) that can accommodate multiple students. Your main task is to ensure students are transported safely to and from their destinations. You would do this obeying all traffic laws, the policy and procedures written out for bus drivers for your district or school, and address students who may behave inappropriately onboard. For example, you may need to give warnings for any student who stands or moves while your bus is en route or give warnings for those passengers disrupting others.

Though you may have outside variables that are not in your control (such as weather, construction, or other accidents on the road), it is also vital that you pick up and drop off students on time.

Bus Driver Career Video Transcript

There might not be a vehicle more recognized across the United States than the yellow school bus. School bus drivers transport students in those buses, to and from school and other activities. Every school day, drivers pick up students in the morning and return them home in the afternoon. They also drive students to field trips and sporting events. Between morning and afternoon trips, some drivers work at schools in other occupations, such as janitors, cafeteria workers, or mechanics. These drivers work only when school is in session.

School bus drivers are responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers, attending to the needs of children with disabilities, and enforcing the school district’s rules. Most employers prefer drivers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. All bus drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (or CDL) along with endorsements for driving a school bus. Some employers offer the chance to earn a CDL on-the-job. Whether on a kindergartner’s first day of school, or for a college visit for the senior class, school bus drivers make sure students arrive safely, day in—day out, year after year.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bus Drivers.

National Center for O*NET Development 53-3022.00 and 53-3021.00.

The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

State of California. Department of Motor Vehicles. Driver License (DL) and Identification (ID) Card Information.

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