How Do You Become a School Bus Driver in Pennsylvania?

Here are the requirements (they may vary slightly depending on the school district or contractor). In many, but not all, cases, your employer will cover the expenses for your clearances and your annual physical after you’ve been with them for one year.

  • You must be 18 years or older
  • You must have a valid Commercial Driver’s License with Passenger and School Bus Endorsements (see “How to Maintain a School Bus Endorsement?” below)
  • You must obtain a School Bus Driver Physical Examination Form (DL-704) from your potential employer.
  • Once you pass the examination, you will have to submit the Form DL-704, Form DL-31CD, “Application for Commercial Learner’s Permit,” and the appropriate fee to PennDOT.
  • You must pass the Vision Screening and Knowledge tests, which includes (but is not limited to) Commercial General Knowledge Test, Passenger Endorsement, and Air Brakes (if applicable).
  • You must complete at least 20 hours of school bus-specific instruction that includes 14 hours of classroom training and at least six hours of in-bus training.
  • You must pass a Road Test that consists of pre-trip inspection, performance of basic maneuvers, and an on-road driving test. You are also required to execute a simulated or actual railroad crossing and a simulated student discharge.
  • You must allow the school district to do a background check. (Most employers will pay for the clearance as well as the yearly physical after you have worked for the employer for one year.)

Please keep in mind that, since school bus drivers work with children, you are also required to pass some background checks including FBI fingerprinting. They include a criminal background check conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police, as well as a child abuse history check conducted by the Department of Human Services. FBI fingerprinting and child abuse training will also be required. Drivers will also be expected to maintain fitness for duty.

How to Maintain a School Bus Endorsement?

To maintain a school endorsement every four years, a school bus driver must comply with the following:

  • You must complete at least 10 hours of refreshing training, including at least seven hours of classroom training and at least three hours of in-bus training.
  • You will be required to pass the School Bus Knowledge Test.
  • You will be required to pass a Road Test in a school bus. The Road Test is typically administered by the employer.