What's Required To Become a School Bus Driver?

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Training Requirements for School Bus Drivers

This section gives you information on what a School Bus Driver must accomplish prior to transporting the most valuable cargo there is on earth, our children.  We take great pride in our training program at Tempe Elementary School District.  Our goal is to ensure every school bus driver is confident and proficient when they begin to drive their route.

Health & medical
Before an employee begins any training they must successfully complete a Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) Physical and pass a Federal and State controlled substances test.

License and testing
School Bus Drivers must pass a written exam at the Motor Vehicle Division (M.V.D.). They must obtain a Class “B” Commercial Drivers License (C.D.L.) with Passenger (P), School Bus (S) and Air Brake (A) endorsements.  The written exam consists of four separate tests; 115 total questions, requiring a passing grade of 80% or better on each section. Once the written test is successively completed, M.V.D. issues a permit for training and testing purposes.

Training - Road
A trainee will spend valuable time with one of our three State Certified Trainers and Third Party Testers.  Arizona Department of Administration Minimum Standards for School Bus Drivers states that all new school bus drivers complete 20 hours of “Behind the Wheel Training”. Our Training team has developed a 10 level driver training program, each level is structured so the trainee will experience approximately 2 driving hours at a time. They will be instructed through exercises and practices that build confidence and gradually develop the necessary skills to safely transport students each and everyday. Specific details on loading and unloading students at bus stops and other destinations, defensive driving techniques, various road and weather conditions, parking and securing a school bus, rail road crossings, freeway driving, mountain driving and emergency procedures are covered.  Additionally they spend 10-15 hours learning how to conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection and vehicle preventive maintenance.  

Training - Classroom
Arizona Department of Administration Minimum Standards for School Bus Drivers mandate that all new school bus drivers attend a minimum of 14 hours of classroom instruction, and a minimum of 6 ½ hours every 2 years there after. All training is provided and paid for. Bus drivers and bus assistants will become certified in First Aid and CPR.