Career Advice

How to Become a School Bus Driver in NJ

Become a School Bus Driver in a few simple steps

Are you looking to become a bus driver in New Jersey? To become one, there are some requirements that you must meet. Being a bus driver is a fulfilling job and reasonably easy to become once you have the needed licenses. There are many job openings with current schools advertising their hiring fairs on our events page. 

Commercial Drivers License 

An essential first step to becoming a bus driver in New Jersey is to get a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). You have to have a driver’s license that is valid in the state of New Jersey, be at least 21, and have had a clean record for three years if you want to apply for a CDL. 

Getting a school bus license requires getting an “S” endorsement and passing driving and written tests about transporting students safely. The test will ask fundamental questions on commercial driving that the  CDL manual will help prepare you for. Depending on what you need, you will also need to answer specific questions to get special authorization to a school bus and a bus with air brakes.

In addition, a certification in air brakes may be needed, which includes studying how to operate, use, and inspect them. A driver can only drive vehicles with hydraulic brakes in the absence of one. 

The vehicle must undergo an inspection before the test to ensure it meets its safety requirements as part of the road test. A thorough inspection is required, and it requires basic mechanical knowledge. Drivers must then pass a vehicle control test followed by a traffic road test. Once the driver obtains their CDL, a federally approved doctor must administer a card to be carried as proof that the driver has passed a health exam. 

When you are ready to get your CDL, you can find a licensing center near you. 

Training

Once you have your CDL permit, you will need training. Most school districts will provide training as a benefit of working with them. The CDL manual recommends using a commercial driving school or training through a different program. 

Other Requirements

There are some other requirements for potential drivers wanting to get a CDL. They must pass a U.S. Department of Transportation physical, drug, and vision test.You could also be disqualified from getting a CDL for medical reasons such as:

  • Severe diabetes 
  • A serious heart condition.
  • Loss of consciousness caused by a medical condition
  • Major vision loss

A criminal background check and fingerprinting are also required for future school bus drivers. The fingerprinting process can take about a month, so get started on it right away is essential. Once they have passed the written and road tests for the CDL, they can obtain approvals for driving school buses. Once the written exam is passed, the driving test can be taken in 14 days. 

Once you have your CDL, you can begin looking for and applying to job openings. To help in your job process, you can find tips on how to write your cover letter.

To find more K-12 jobs in New Jersey, create a free account on K12JobsNJ. Visit the career advice section for tips on improving your resume, cover letter, or interview skills.