Is There Special Training to be a Pennsylvania School Bus Driver?

Being a Pennsylvania school bus driver is not like being a regular bus driver. The noticeable difference is, of course, that a school bus driver transports students to and from school and follows a fixed route for picking up and dropping off students. A school bus driver also transports students to field trips, sporting activities, and other off-campus events.

While driving skills and route knowledge are some of the core requirements of being a school bus driver, there are other unique but also essential skills that an aspirant should have for this job.

Since this job involves young students, it would be preferable to love being and working with children. If you love kids, this career can be gratifying. This job is not only confined to driving. Since you will drive the school bus every day, you will become a constant presence in the students’ lives.

So, you now have an idea that this job involves working with different sorts of people – not just the students, but also their parents, teachers, and other folks you’ll meet along the way. Therefore, having strong communication skills is also vital for bus drivers.

All aspiring school bus drivers receive extensive training in traffic laws and regulations and behind-the-wheel training. Trainees spend half of the training in the classroom and the other half showing their ability to drive the bus and follow traffic laws.

New drivers may also spend their training alongside experienced school bus drivers until they can drive on their own.

In Pennsylvania, drivers must complete a minimum of 20 hours of school bus-specific instruction, including at least fourteen (14) hours of classroom training and at least six (6) hours of in-bus training. In addition, aspirants must pass a road test, which consists of basic maneuvers and an on-road driving test. They will also have to execute a simulated student discharge and a simulated and actual railroad crossing.

Aside from the training, drivers will also need to pass a physical examination, a vision screening test, and knowledge tests (including, but not limited to, the Commercial General Knowledge Test, Passenger Endorsement, School Bus Endorsement, and Air Brakes, if applicable). Drivers will have a criminal history check (conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police) and a child abuse history check (the Pennsylvania Department of Huma Services conducts this).

Even when someone becomes a certified school bus driver, it doesn’t mean the training has ended. They should maintain a school bus endorsement every four years. The driver is required to finish a minimum of at least 10 hours of refresher training (including classroom training and in-bus training), pass the School Bus Knowledge Test, and pass a Road Test on a school bus.

All of these training requirements and skills may sound overwhelming, but the school bus contractor you choose to work with will help you succeed to become a community hero.  The training can be pretty rigorous for a school bus driver, but that is because it is a school bus driver’s job to ensure that all students have the safest transportation possible.

Check out for available full and part-time school bus driver jobs in Pennsylvania. And, of course, be ready to undergo training and meet the specific requirements to prepare yourself for the challenges – and enjoy the rewards – of being a school bus driver, reading this article will also be helpful What Training Do You Need to Have as a School Bus Driver in Pennsylvania?