If you love working with children and meeting them every morning working day, a school bus driver is a perfect job for you! However, in order to do that, you must obtain a CDL School Bus, which allows you to drive your vehicle legally. In this article, we are going to introduce detailed information on the CDL School Bus Study Guide, explain why you should obtain one, and steps to do it!

cdl for school bus
Do you need a CDL to drive a school bus?

1. What CDL do you need to drive a School bus?

The answer to the question “Do you need a CDL to drive a school bus?” is yes. In short, to operate a school bus, you must have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) class B. If you are still unclear about the CDL classes, you can take a quick look at the table below:


Type of CDL class Description Vehicles 
  • Combination of vehicles with a Gross combination weight rating (GVWR): more than 26,0001 pounds
  • Towing vehicle: greater than 10,000 pounds
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Truck and trailer combinations
  • Tanker vehicles
  •  Livestock carriers
  • Flatbeds.
  • Any single vehicle that isn’t hitched to a trailer
  • Straight trucks
  • Large buses (city buses, tourist buses, and school buses)
  •  Segmented buses
  • Box trucks (including delivery trucks and furniture trucks)
  • Dump trucks with small trailers. 
  • Some Class C vehicles have the correct endorsements.
  • A single vehicle with a Gross combination weight rating (GVWR): of less than 26,0001 pounds
  • Towed vehicle weight: less than 10,000 pounds
  • Transports more than 16 passengers 
  • Double/Triple Trailers
  •  Buses
  • Tank Trucks
  • HazMat Vehicles


In addition, most states require drivers to have a P (passenger) and S (school bus) Endorsement. Those added endorsements are belonged to the CDL Endorsements and can be gained after your CDL is completed. However, you should note that you only can apply for the S endorsement after you have a P already, or apply for both at the same time.


2. What benefits do you have when owning a CDL School bus?

If you still thinking about “Do you need a CDL to drive a school bus?” you can look at some benefits we listed below:

First and foremost, a CDL for a School bus is a must if you want to become a school bus driver. Your responsibility is to transport children from their homes to school while their parents are busy at work.

In addition, while other jobs take years to study and train, a CDL for School bus can solve this problem. You do not need to spend at least four years at the college or university, You will only spend a short time training and practicing to receive the CDL. However, you should find a trustworthy source for the CDL School bus practice test before taking the actual test. 

In addition, owning a CDL School bus can help you meet the term work-life balance. Based on some trusted statistics, the average salary for CDL School bus drivers is about $44,000 per year, quite stable for US life. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 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. 

Besides, your schedule is more flexible than an office job, so you can consider taking the extra job to earn more money if your desire is bigger than the average wage.

cdl school bus
Working as a CDL school bus driver is more flexible than the office job

3. What does a CDL School Bus require?

The requirements vary among each state, so you should check for your state’s requirements to make sure you don’t miss anything. However, there are some needed qualifications that all states require:


3.1. Obtain your CDL from a reputable truck driving school

To obtain a CDL School Bus, you should take and pass the CDL class B knowledge test. You have to complete 50 questions in 90 minutes. This test covers the information on CDL rules and requirements, safe driving, cargo transportation safety, and pre-trip vehicle inspections, among other topics. You can look for a CDL General Knowledge Test Study Guide and the CDL Air Brakes Study Guide to get more information and know how to master those endorsements successfully. 


3.2. Complete the Passenger endorsement (P)

To get the CDL Passenger Endorsement, you must pass the Passenger Endorsement test. Here’s what is expected on this test:

  • Procedures for loading/unloading passengers
  • Usages of emergency exits, including push-out windows
  • Responding to emergencies as fires and unruly passengers
  • Procedures of railroad-highway grade crossings and drawbridges
  • Braking procedures
  • Other procedures

>>Read more: CDL Passenger Endorsement Study Guide

3.3. Complete the School bus endorsement (S)

To get the CDL School Bus Endorsement, you must pass the School Bus Endorsement test. This test is mainly about:

  • Safe operation of stop signal devices, external mirror systems, flashing lights, and other warning and passenger safety devices when loading and unloading children.
  • Emergency exits and protocols for evacuating passengers safely in the event of an emergency
  • Highway rail grade crossings are governed by state and federal rules and regulations.


3.4. Complete a successful background check

Most states require all potential CDL school bus drivers to undergo a criminal background check with the FBI or state investigators to ensure their background is clean. It plays an important part in your job requirement because you will work with students, and their parents are always concerned about their kids’ security.


3.5. Complete a clean drug screening

They will test your alcohol and drug situation. It is related to bus safety when you are a bus driver. In addition, you will be tested randomly while driving your bus or in an emergency situation.


3.6. Be able to speak and read English

CDL School bus is used in the US, so of course, your ability to use English is a must. 


3.7.Have a clean driving record

As a school bus driver, it is important to not have a complicated driving record. A clean driving record is a proof of how skillful you are in real life besides the skill test.

school bus cdl
You should have a clean driving record to obtain a CDL

3.8.Meet vision and hearing requirements

CDL school bus drivers must also be able to distinguish between red, green, and amber traffic lights and have natural or corrected eyesight of at least 20/40 in both eyes. You can also hear a forced whisper in the better ear from a distance of five feet, or that an applicant’s average hearing loss in the better ear is less than 40 dB at 500 Hz, 1,00 Hz, and 2,000 Hz, with or without a hearing aid.


We’ve answered the question “Do you need a CDL to drive a school bus?” and provided an overall look at the CDL School bus test. We hope this article will help your school bus driver career develop flourishingly. In addition, to score high on the actual test, take some CDL Practice Test now!