Being a school bus driver can be an enriching career with many benefits. There are several required steps when pursuing becoming a school bus driver. These include a variety of tests, a safe history of driving, and a CDL endorsement. The main task of a school bus driver is to safely transport students to and from school and other related activities. Drivers also have to obey traffic laws, adhere to driver policies within their school district, and be able to address students who misbehave while riding the bus.
Here are the specific requirements for becoming a school bus driver:
Requirements can vary from state to state, so you may want to research what you will need to become fully certified in the state in which you reside or plan to work.
To work as a driver, you must also be a U.S. citizen and be 18 years of age or older with at least a high school diploma.
Physical Exam – According to Federal law, all commercial drivers are required to carry a Department of Transportation medical card. This physical exam must be conducted by a licensed medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration National Registry.
This physical exam will need to be updated every two years during the drivers’ career to ensure that they can safely perform all of their required duties.
Drivers may also be required to pass a drug and background check. Because they will be transporting children, it is imperative that the driver is deemed safe.
Training – For people with no prior knowledge of school bus driving, there are training courses that teach the necessary knowledge and practical skills required for employment as a CDL driver. This is a prerequisite for taking the CDL test, which all school bus drivers have to complete. Prices for training courses may vary, but many schools offer to pay for driver’s training course fees.
Commercial Driver’s License – Drivers will be required to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). There are a few different types of CDLs; however, school bus drivers must have an (S) endorsement. This shows that they have passed additional tests specific to school buses.
State Requirements – Requirements can vary from state to state, but most states require drivers to be first aid certified. Even if this is not needed, it is a valuable skill, especially for those working with children. This certification may also increase your chances of getting hired.
Practice – Before beginning your job, you may be required to practice with an existing school bus driver for several hours. This is an opportunity for you to learn the routes, specific rules for your school, and best driving practices.
Here are a few other skills school bus drivers should have:
- Excellent Communication – School bus drivers will need to communicate with students, parents, and the school, so it is important that they are comfortable doing this in a clear and respectful manner.
- Patience– Students can be particularly rowdy on the bus at times, and it is key for drivers to have patience and remain calm even in seemingly stressful situations.
- Quick Reaction Time – Drivers need to react to changes on the road quickly to ensure their own safety and the safety of the students on the bus.
With these steps completed, you will be on your way to a rewarding career in the school bus driving industry.
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