If you live in Pennsylvania and aspire to be a PA school bus driver, you’ll want to find out the school bus driver requirements in the state. Requirements may be different depending on each state.
Most school bus drivers are employees of a school district or bus service companies that have contracts with school districts. They have the primary duty to transport students to and from school. Most school districts have routes and stops for school bus drivers, and school bus drivers are responsible for keeping and following those routes. They may also transport students to special off-campus events, such as field trips and sports events.
Besides transporting students to their schools, school bus drivers ensure the safety of the students while they’re still in transit. They may assist students (especially students with disabilities or carrying heavy bags, etc.) in getting in and out of the bus. School bus drivers should obey all road and traffic signs as well as all traffic rules and laws.
School bus drivers also act as disciplinarians to maintain a safe environment during transit. They control the behavior of rowdy students or prevent any instance of bullying. They have complete authority over all their students and the power to implement rules and enforce and maintain order inside the bus. If any issues or troubles happen inside the school bus, the driver can report them to the school supervisor.
A bus driver does their job with the safety of the students in mind. They perform inspections on the vehicle before and after each route to ensure its roadworthiness.
Here are the following requirements to become a school bus driver in Pennsylvania (requirements may differ depending on the school district):
- Must be 18 years old and above.
- Must have a valid Commercial Driver’s License with Passenger and School Bus Endorsements. Find out how to maintain a school endorsement below.
- Must obtain a School Bus Driver Physical Examination Form (DL-704) from your potential employer.
- Upon passing the examination, you will have to submit Form DL-704, Form DL-31CD, “Application for Commercial Learner’s Permit,” and the appropriate fee to PennDOT.
- 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).
- Must complete at least 20 hours of school bus-specific instruction, including 14 hours of classroom training and at least six hours of in-bus training.
- Must pass a road test consisting of a 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.
- Must undergo and pass background checks, including:
- A criminal background check conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police
- The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare conducts a child abuse history check.
To maintain a school bus endorsement every four years, a school bus driver should:
- Complete a minimum of 10 hours of refreshing training (including at least seven hours of classroom training and at least three hours of in-bus training).
- Pass the School Bus Knowledge Test.
- Pass a Road Test while driving a school bus.
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