How do I become a school bus driver?
Lumberton ISD Transportation Department
Josh Bennett, Director of Facilities and Operations
Dee Sims, Coordinator of Transportation Services
Sherry Leger, Administrative Assistant
Tina Campbell, Trainer
Welcome to the Lumberton ISD Transportation Department and preparation for obtaining your commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive a school bus.
The department covers the cost of the DOT physical and fees for the certification course and provides a training reimbursement/incentive of $1500.00, this reimbursement will be paid in three increments. The first $500.00 will be paid on your check following your permit with Lumberton ISD Transportation and the 2nd $500.00 will be paid at your 1 year anniversary with Lumberton ISD Transportation. The 3rd $500.00 will be on the first paycheck following next school year with Lumberton ISD Transportation.
Beginning the Process (No Class A/ B or CDL)
To drive a school bus you need three things:
- CDL Class “A or B” License with “P/S” endorsement
- DOT Physical & Medical Card
- Certification through the Region V School Bus Certification Program
Getting these three requirements:
Step 1: You need the CDL Handbook. The handbook is available online http://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/DL-7C.pdf. There are also copies available upon request at the Bus Barn or you can go to any DPS office to pick up a handbook.
There are a few sections to study that cover the material on the tests you will be required to take. Begin with Section 14 and all sections must be completed to get the Learner’s Permit and get the behind the wheel training started. Studying for the tests can take from 10-15 days. We do have videos and a certified trainer to help you prepare. This is done on your own time and scheduled with our trainer.
Study the following sections:
- Special Requirement for Texas Commercial Motor Vehicles (Section 14-1)
- General Knowledge (Sections 1-1, 2-2, 3-1)
- Air Brakes (Section 5-1)
- Transporting Passengers Safely (Section 4-1)
- School Bus (Section 10-1)
Step 2: Due to the COVID 19 protocols our trainer, Tina Campbell, will help you schedule an appointment for your written tests to obtain your Commercial Learner’s Permit. The fee is $25 for all five tests. You can take all 5 tests in one day as long as you pass them all on the first attempt, but if you fail a test you must wait one day before you can retake it.
Note: Upon passing the written tests and getting your permit, our trainer will schedule you an appointment time with DPS for your road tests. If you fail any one test 3 times you will have to start over from the beginning and pay the $25 fee again.
When you arrive to take the test make sure you have the following:
- Social Security card,
- Drivers license,
- Texas Commercial Driver License Application, go to www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/forms/CDL-1.pdf to print, or a copy can be provided for you upon request at the Bus Barn.
- Certification of Physical Exemption form, go to www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/forms/CDL-10.pdf to print, or a copy can be provided for you upon request at the Bus Barn.
After you pass all 5 written tests you will be given a paper copy of your Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP).
Step 3: Schedule a DOT Physical and a Drug/Alcohol test through Sherry Leger at Lumberton ISD Transportation Dept. Lumberton ISD will pay for your physical provided you use our doctors.
Step 4: After completing the written tests, you will begin hands-on training (behind the wheel of the bus) with our Lumberton ISD Transportation Trainer. This will cover the three parts you will be tested on during the DPS Road test (Pre-Trip, backing skills, road test). You will have a maximum of 3 weeks to complete your behind the wheel training.
Contact Tina Campbell at the bus barn to find out your training schedule. Our trainer will set up an appointment with DPS to take the road test.
Note: You will need to give a copy of your Department of Transportation medical certificate and a copy of your commercial learner's permit you received from DPS to your trainer at this time.
Step 5: The day of your Road Test, you and our Trainer will drive to the DPS site together. Contact Tina Campbell for your scheduled date so she can set up your road training schedule.
When you arrive to take the test, you will need the following:
- Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP)
- Driver’s license
- Medical Certificate
Note: You will have 180 days to take your road test before your CLP expires, you are permitted to renew the CLP one time for another 180 days and you must pay the $25 again. You have 3 attempts to pass each section of the driving tests. If you pass a portion then fail the next you will not have to retake the portion that you passed again. If you fail all 3 attempts on any of the 3 areas you will have to start completely over with the 5-knowledge test including paying all the fees again.
Once you pass this test you are permitted to drive a school bus on an emergency certification for 6 months. You have 6 months to complete the last and final step to become a fully licensed school bus driver.
Step 6: Take a 20 Hour Texas School Bus Safety Certification class. Lumberton ISD will pay for this course.
Note: You will be required to take an 8 hour course every 3 years to maintain your safety certificate.
That’s it, you are all set to get your license to drive a school bus. Download the driver’s handbook or contact our Transportation Department to get started!