Have you ever thought about driving a school bus and wondered how you go about doing that? Well, you’re in the right place. We’re going to go over every aspect of getting your school bus endorsement. While it does differ by state, we’ll go over how the process works. Let’s dive in!
A school bus endorsement is a licensing requirement needed to drive a school bus. To get the endorsement, you must pass one or more tests and pay all required fees. The tests assess your skills and knowledge of driving a school bus. The school bus endorsement verifies you are legally permitted to drive school buses.
To get the school bus endorsement, you must pass a written exam and a driving skills test. Some states also require a training program or certification course. There are also some places, like Alabama, where you must pass a pre-trip inspection exam of a bus. The requirements and testing vary by state but all require tests.
The school bus endorsement allows you to drive large passenger vehicles like 20 passenger buses. Without a school bus or passenger endorsement, you can only transport fewer than 16 people. If you would like to transport students, you must have the school bus endorsement. The passenger endorsement alone will not allow you to transport students.
In most states you must demonstrate your ability to drive a large vehicle. This is done through a driving skills test in a school bus. There is also a written exam where you must answer questions about laws and safety when driving a school bus. Here are some cdl practice tests for the school bus endorsement.
The school bus endorsement adds an “S” endorsement to your CDL. If you don’t have your CDL , you’ll need to get this license to drive a school bus. A CDL is the commercial driver's license for operating large vehicles like 18-wheelers and school buses.
You must also pass a DOT physical to get your CDL and your school bus endorsement. You can learn more in our Complete Guide To The DOT Physical
Here is a bit more information contained in the complete guide to getting your CDL. It covers all restrictions and requirements. Know exactly what to expect by reading through the guide.
The cost of testing and licensing fees will vary by state. The main fees include application fees, testing fees, and training courses. Total fees may differ if you use a private testing site instead of the motor vehicle department.
The fees are broken down into separate categories. You’ll pay fees for CDL licenses, applications, testing, and endorsement. Licensing fees range from $5-$164.50. Application fees range from $0 to $90. Testing fees range from $0 to $250. Endorsement fees range from $0 to $60.
Here is an example of costs from a few different states:
Getting the school bus endorsement for your CDL license requires testing. Most states require both a written school bus test and a driving skills test. These two tests make sure drivers have the knowledge and skills to safely operate large and heavy vehicles like school buses. Testing varies depending on the state. Some states like Texas require a driver training course in addition to standard testing. Here are the testing requirements for school bus endorsement in a few states:
The CDL Class A allows drivers to operate combination vehicles with a semi-trailer or tractor-trailer. With this license, drivers can drive vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings of 26,000 pounds and more. You’ll need a Class A license if you are towing trailers with more than 10,000 lbs of GVWR. This class also allows divers to operate Class B and Class C vehicles.
Class B licensing allows you to drive any vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs and trailers that do not exceed 10,000 lbs GVWR. The Class B license allows you to operate Class C vehicles but not Class A vehicles. This license is good for drivers looking to operate box trucks, straight trucks, city buses, tour buses, dump trucks, and school buses.
Both Class A and B licenses allow you to operate a school bus. A Class A CDL gives you more privileges as you can operate any Class A, B, or C vehicle. The Class B CDL is sufficient for operating a school bus in most states.
The passenger endorsement and the school bus endorsement are often confused. There are a few significant distinctions between the two endorsements. Let’s look at what makes each endorsement unique.
The school bus endorsement or “S” endorsements are specifically for operating school buses carrying students. This means you must have the S endorsement to transport students to and from school or to authorized school events. The S endorsement is unique to school bus drivers. Having a passenger endorsement does not authorize you to transport students.
The passenger endorsement or “P” endorsements refer to all other passenger vehicles carrying 16 or more people. This covers all passenger vehicles except school buses carrying students. This means you’ll be able to operate any passenger vehicle. You’ll still be able to operate school buses so long as students aren’t your passengers. Drivers must qualify for this endorsement to get the school bus endorsement.
All states have a school bus endorsement. This means to transport students to and from school and authorized school events you must get your S endorsement. Specific laws and regulations vary between states but all states have a school bus endorsement.
There are many places both in-person and online to study for the written skills test for the school bus driver endorsement. The written test is a series of multiple-choice questions. Taking a course or online program will help to make sure you pass the first time. There are also some training courses in person that help you get ready for the driving skills portion.
Our High Road Training Program is a fantastic option for an online course to get you ready for the test. It is a complete CDL preparation course. It is designed to teach you everything you need to know to pass the CDL exam.
We organize the High Road Training Program to contain the entire CDL manual. It is split into small sections to make it easily digestible. The program features multiple-choice questions after every section to make sure you’re taking in the material. One of the best things about this program is the score tracking and review system. This helps to focus on areas you may have trouble with. The review system helps to reinforce correct answers so you’re ready for the CDL exam.
There are many resources for CDL and school bus endorsements. Navigating all the different sources can be a bit overwhelming. This complete guide to getting your school bus endorsement will show you exactly what you need to know.
Here are some other great resources for learning more about getting your CDL and school bus endorsement:
Getting your school bus endorsement is easy once you have all your resources. Our complete guide walks you through all associated testing and fees. While these specifics vary by state, they all have a similar process for getting your school bus endorsement. The first step is to get your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and add the “S'' endorsement. Happy driving!
A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.
Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.
A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:
A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.
The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle
The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.
What Does The FMCSA Do?
A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.
State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.
GVWR is the maximum operating weight of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer, minus any trailers.
Operating While Intoxicated