Do You Need a CDL to Drive a School Bus?

For those interested in a career working with children and schools, consider a career as a school bus driver. School bus drivers not only transport students and faculty, but they often develop relationships with the children they see every day. Students, parents, and school staff come to see their school bus drivers as friends and trusted figures.

Working as a school bus driver is a gratifying career but requires the right training in order to achieve success and security. Read on to find out what it takes to start a career as a school bus driver, and how Truck Driver Institute’s training program is the best way to begin your journey.

Do You Need A CDL To Drive A School Bus?

The short and simple answer: yes. You will need a commercial driver’s license (or CDL) to drive a school bus and get hired as a school bus driver. It is one of the few, but essential requirements when applying for jobs. With so many truck driving schools available, it can be difficult to understand which school offers the best value and preparation as you look to start a career as a school bus driver. In order to become a school bus driver, you will need to complete a formal CDL training program.

In addition to obtaining a CDL license, schools will look for passenger and school bus endorsements. Many schools will require a clean background check and successful drug screening in order to hire future school bus drivers. While a college degree is not essential to a successful career as a school bus driver, all school bus driver requirements include needing to obtain a CDL. In addition to school bus driving, there are several other types of truck driving jobs that might surprise you.

What Class CDL Do You Need to Drive A School Bus?

You may be asking, what class CDL do you need to drive a school bus? Different states, schools, and employers may ask for different requirements in order to drive a school bus. All employers will look for a CDL, while some will look for a Class A, B, or C class designation. However, most employers will also look for an S (school bus) endorsement and P (passenger) endorsement in order to successfully hire and retain drivers. Remember, the driver’s licenses are issued by each individual state, and by each state’s respective Department of Transportation. Most Class B CDLs will be used for driving school buses, city buses, tourist buses, and private event buses. The additional testing for P and S endorsements can only be gained after your CDL has been completed.

School Bus Driver Requirements

To be hired as a school bus driver you must:

  • Obtain your CDL from a reputable truck driving school
  • Complete the passenger endorsement (P)
  • Complete the school bus endorsement (S)
  • Complete a successful background check
  • Complete a clean drug screening

A completed college degree is not required to land a job as a school bus driver. However, complete formal training through a reputable driving school is essential to finding success and security in your future job hunt. You will need a CDL to drive school buses, and with Truck Driver Institute’s trusted programs, students will be able to learn the federal and state rules, regulations, and skills needed to meet and exceed the requirements to be a school bus driver.

Is It Different by State?

Each state or employer may have their own requirements to become a school bus driver. It is important to check what your state requires by contacting your local Department of Transportation. Many employers will look for the aforementioned requirements but also look for a health physical screening, vision test and other school bus-specific requirements including varied time spent in the classroom and behind the wheel.

What Qualities Make a Great School Bus Driver?

Before considering a career as a school bus driver, it is important to envision what a day as a driver requires. In addition to the requirements of becoming a school bus driver (like needing a CDL), working with children can be difficult, especially when driving a large vehicle like a school bus. The safety of the passengers is a heightened priority, which means that any loss of focus or concentration can be an even greater cause for concern for any bus driver.

Those who enjoy their work as a school bus driver tend to share many similar characteristics. The main qualities that make for great school bus drivers include:

  • A desire to work with children
  • A passion for students and youth
  • Outstanding patience
  • Calm demeanor
  • Ability to focus with distractions present
  • Focus with loud noises present
  • High value for safety and interest of the safety of little ones
  • Sociable
  • Approachable
  • Punctuality
  • Strong time management skills
  • Excellent route management
  • High driving awareness

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that working with kids and students may often be challenging. School buses get loud, messy, and may need an adult to occasionally settle the bus down. However, working with kids can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of all. If any of the above characteristics sound like you, becoming a school bus driver might be the perfect career path.

What’s an Expected Salary?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a six percent job growth for school and special client bus drivers from now until 2024. The increasing number of job openings is sure to continue and climb in the coming years. As of 2016, there have been 687,200 filled school bus drivers employed in the United States. The Labor Bureau also estimated that as of 2018, the median pay for school bus drivers averaged at $34,450 a year, or $16.56 per hour. Some employment organizations, including ZipRecruiter, have conducted research and shown that as of 2019, the average weekly pay for a school bus driver has been reported as high as $827 a week.

What to Expect on A School Bus Drivers Test?

Truck Driver Institute will prepare and equip everyone with tips and resources so that they can enter their school bus drivers test with absolute confidence. For your convenience, we now offer a Class B training course in Indiana.

As drivers prepare for the written school bus test, they can expect to be tested on several categories, including:

  • Loading and unloading children
  • Safe operation of stop signal devices, external mirror systems, flashing lights, and other warning and passenger safety devices
  • Emergency exit procedures
  • Vehicle inspection

Let TDI Help You Become A School Bus Driver

With countless success stories, TDI is one of the best options for anyone looking to start a career in driving school buses, trucks, commercial vehicles, and more. The professional team at TDI has helped over 90% of TDI graduates find CDL jobs upon graduating. Compared to other driving schools, TDI not only helps prepare drivers but also helps drivers find the right job.

With tens of thousands of some of the nations most qualified licensed truck drivers, TDI has now developed key partnerships with over 20+ carrier partners. TDI graduates are better educated, trained, and prepared to transition into any role they pursue after their graduation. Learn more about TDI’s outstanding training programs and how to get your CDL today.