To be able to drive a school bus in Florida and California, you are required to own a commercial driving
license (CDL) along with endorsements for School Bus (S). These requirements vary across the states in
USA and it is necessary that you do you research well before applying at the school district office.
So, how do you go about it?
The first part of the process is the CDL and is more or less the same steps in all states in the USA.
– A physical test – the driver needs to obtain a medical card from the Department of
Transportation, which can be obtained after a paid test. This is prior to obtaining the
Commercial License Permit (CLP). The physical exam will evaluate if:
– You are qualified to drive students
– Whether you possess the physical requirements expected of commercial drivers
– You don’t have limiting physical conditions like impairments that limit your skills behind the
steering and health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis.
– Have the corrected vision of minimum 20/40 in both eyes
– Aren’t any kind of addict
Next is about the application:
– You will need to carry personal documents like the birth certificate or your passport. Further,
Florida requires you to have a document on your state residency – rent agreement, bank details,
– To obtain a (S) endorsement, your driving record for the past ten years will be thoroughly
checked, including your driving stints in other states in the USA. Your performance would be
rated and you require getting four points on your license.
– Lastly, you should be at least 21 years of age to drive a school bus
Apart from the physical abilities and identifying documents, school bus drivers are also expected to pass
a general knowledge test. The areas for the assessment include your knowhow on safety, repairs,
controls like horns and lights, skid control, vehicle controls like backing and shifting and air brake
operation. The (S) endorsement also seeks your knowledge on safe loading and unloading of passengers
(kinds in this context), emergency vehicle procedures and school bus specific signals.
The test requires you to pay a fee before you sit for it.
Before you obtain a CDL, you will have to possess a CPL for a minimum of 2 weeks. It would be advisable
to take a training designed especially for school bus driver candidates. The tests must however be
passed before your CPL expires.
Certified in first aid:
Another important requirement to obtain a CDL(S) license is to get trained in basic first aid. Having a
certification does increase your chances of employment. You can take up training and subsequent
citification from Red Cross, any licensed organization in the locality or even at a local school.
Lastly, it will be about your background check, drug/alcohol test and agility training.
Once you are through with all the above process, you can seek the right employment. The process is
rigorous but is designed to make you a responsible driver.