Do you need a CDL to drive a school bus in Texas? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.
Driving a school bus in the state of Texas means being held to a higher standard of responsibility, safety, expectations, and conduct.
Of course, it also goes without saying that there are plenty of instructional courses and background checks involved as well.
So, do you need a CDL to drive a school bus in Texas? Yes, you are required to have a Class B Commercial Driver’s License in order to drive a school bus in the state of Texas. That also includes the Passenger “P” endorsement and the School Bus “S” endorsement.
Prior to submitting an application to become a school bus driver in one of the 254 counties within the state of Texas, you have to obtain a Class B CDL license, as well as a “P” endorsement for passengers.
You will obtain the “S” endorsement throughout the instructional period as you go through the process of obtaining it and becoming a school bus driver.
Process For Obtaining A Class B CDL In Texas
If you want to drive a school bus in Texas, the process begins here, with at least a Class B CDL.
You can also obtain a Class A CDL if you like.
It will not only cover you for driving a school bus but open up other opportunities during the downtime and long, summer breaks.
As a holder of a Class B CDL, you’ll be able to operate any vehicle that weighs over 26,000lbs GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) and tow any additional vehicles so long as their weight does not exceed 10,000lbs GVWR.
If you are applying for a Class B CDL for the first time, you will be required to first obtain a CLP (Conditional Learner’s Permit) for a period of 14 days, during which you will train and drive with a professional CDL holder.
By Texas law, you are required to provide the following when you apply for a CLP:
- Proof of Citizenship
- Proof that you reside in Texas
- Driver’s License
- Social Security Number
- A CDL-4 and a CDL-10 form
- Proof that you own a vehicle that’s registered in Texas
- A completed CDL Application
It’s a lot of stuff, however, most of it is to not only make sure you are a U.S. resident and a resident of Texas but also to conduct the proper background checks necessary for traditional employment.
Following your application submittal, you’ll have to locate and schedule a place to take care of your testing requirements.
Once you have obtained and held your Conditional Learner’s Permit beyond the required fourteen-day period, you can apply for your CDL, which is basically the same experience all over again.
You will find a list of requirements for the written and participatory phases of your testing process here.
Once you’ve obtained your Class B CDL, you’ll also have to get your “P” endorsement, which will take place during the instructional and testing phases for your CDL.
The “P” endorsement is optional, however, but you’ll need it to apply as a school bus driver.
Requirements To Be a School Bus Driver In Texas?
In order to be a school bus driver in Texas, you’ll have to undergo a physical and be declared physically qualified for the position.
You cannot take a physical until after you have applied and are currently going through the process.
A Purchase Order will be sent out from your local district to a school-approved doctor and then you will undergo a physical with that doctor.
You’ll also have to undergo a drug screening, which is conducted during the required physical evaluation.
The Purchase Order should include that as well. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to return to the same doctor only after the Purchase Order has been released.
As with most—if not all—school districts in the United States, you will be subject to random drug screenings so long as you’re employed as a school bus driver in your district.
Following the physical and drug screening, you will also have to undergo a 20-hour instructional training session which doesn’t include training time behind the wheel.
Actual time behind the wheel in a school bus will be conducted throughout an additional 20-hour instructional period.
After the written test is complete, you will undergo further driving training behind the wheel of a school bus before your final evaluation examination.
If you haven’t achieved your “P” and/or “S” endorsement at this point, here is where you will get them. You will then have to undergo five, separate tests:
- Permit Test for Commercial Rules
- General Knowledge
- Air Brakes
- Passenger Bus
- School Bus
As part of the application process, you will also have to pay $11.00 to take the Permit Test for Commercial Rules and $61.00 to proceed through the General Knowledge portion of the testing process.
Once you have completed all of the above, you will have a Class B Commercial Driver’s License with “P” and “S” endorsements.
When everything is submitted and you have passed the qualification process and the testing process, the Director of Transportation will clear you for driving a school bus.
Read also: What Are CDL Restrictions?
Last But Not Least
You have to have at least a Class B CDL to drive a school bus in any state, but Texas is a little more involved, with more tests and a little bit longer of an examination phase than most states.
However, the process is mostly the same.
You’ll also walk away with two additional endorsements on your Class B CDL, which is always a plus because it generally means more pay.
That will become especially important if you decide to do side-work during the summer or during downtime.
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