Do You Need A CDL To Drive A School Bus In Florida? (The Truth!)

Do You Need A CDL To Drive A School Bus In florida

Do you need a CDL to drive a school bus in Florida? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

Being a school bus driver in the state of Florida isn’t just a job that entails picking up kids early in the morning and dropping them off later in the afternoon.

There’s a lot more to it than that, as bus drivers are responsible for not only the bus but for the precious cargo as well.

So, do you need a CDL to drive a school bus in Florida? Yes, In the state of Florida, as in most states, you have to have a Class B Commercial Driver’s License in order to work as a school bus driver. That’s just the standard CDL. You’ll also have to pass a written examination in order to get your “S” endorsement. 

The S endorsement is important because you can’t drive a school bus without it on your Class B CDL and also because it requires you to have solid, working knowledge of what driving a school bus full of boisterous young learners is all about. 

Steps For Obtaining A Class B CDL In Florida

Before undergoing instruction for becoming a school bus driver, you have to obtain your Class B CDL. All you’ll need—other than getting into a class—is your state-issued Florida driver’s license.

  • Pass a Vision, Knowledge, and Medical Exam
  • Submit to a background check, including driving history
  • Pay your application fees

This will get you as far as obtaining your CLP (Conditional Learner’s Permit), which you will have to hold on to through a 14-day waiting period.

During this period, you will practice driving with a CDL licensed driver. 

After the 14 days are up, you can go over to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website and find a testing location.

Once you’ve located a testing site and arranged for a date, you will be assessed through the following:

  • Vehicle Inspections Test
  • Basic Controls Testing
  • A Commercial Driving Test on the Road. 

You will have to have the following items on the list completed and/or passed before obtaining your Class B CDL: 

  • General Knowledge Test
  • Air Brakes
  • Pre-trip Inspection
  • Basic Skills Examination
  • CDL Road Test
  • Examination for the “P” Endorsement (Passengers)

The “S” endorsement comes with its own set of screenings and qualifications.

You’ll have to undergo a separate background check that includes a driving background check, along with a drug screening.

Your medical examination will be taken care of during the CDL portion of the process.

Your overall driving experience will be considered, with an eye for at least five years of driving experience with a standard license or a Class B CDL with the “Passengers” endorsement.

Process For School Bus Driver Training And Hiring

For most counties in the state of Florida, the curriculum follows the guidelines from the Florida Department of Education School Bus Driver Curriculum. 

The process involves 40-hours of instruction, with 20 hours within a classroom environment and 8 hours of on-the-road training in an actual school bus.

If you’re hired, you will also have to attend 8 hours of in-service training per year so long as you drive a school bus in Florida. 

Your “S” endorsement will be achieved throughout this 40-hour curriculum after which, you can begin driving a school bus. 

To get your “S” endorsement, you will have to take a General Knowledge Test, a Passenger Test, an Air Brakes Test, and a School Bus Test.

If you pass all of the above, you’ll receive your “S” endorsement on your Class B CDL, which should already include your “P” passenger endorsement. 

Read also: What Are CDL Restrictions? (Codes, Endorsements, O, E, M, and L)

Policies and Procedures For Being A School Bus Driver In Florida

Of course, it’s to be expected that there are many more guidelines, procedures, and rules for driving a school bus over, let’s say, driving a dump truck. All of the guidelines you will have to follow are found in the following:

The guidelines at both the federal and state levels are updated annually and usually don’t change much from one year to the next.

However, depending on whether or not you move from one county to another, the local guidelines could change drastically. 

It pays to be prepared for those changes if you decide to move and have been in the school bus driving business before or currently. 

Is It Difficult To Get A Class B CDL For Driving A School Bus?

It’s not necessarily more difficult, however, it is more time-consuming.

Your Class B Commercial Driver’s License requirements remain the same but you also have to take an additional 40 hours of instruction before obtaining your “S” endorsement.

It’s not just the “S” endorsement either. You also have to take the extra time and spend the extra money to get your “P” Passenger endorsement.

In the school system—regardless of which Florida county you drive in—you will also need to go through 8 hours of “brush-up” education throughout the year.

That’s not so bad, but it is something that you don’t need to do with a standard Class B CDL.

Read also: What Is The Class B CDL Max Weight Limit (Best Tips!)

Final Word

Not only do you have to have a Class B Commercial Driver’s License in the state of Florida, but you also have to have the “P” and “S” endorsements to go along with it. 

Also, there’s an additional level of education requirements and a far larger burden of responsibility.

It’s one thing to roll over a dump truck and it’s entirely another thing to roll over a school bus. 

You could easily say that the extra responsibility is the hardest part of obtaining and holding a Class B CDL with an “S” endorsement.

You’re carrying precious cargo, after all, so be safe out there.

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Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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