How to Become a Driver

How to Become a School Bus Driver with American Student Transportation

For many people, the extensive licensure process that’s required to become a school bus driver is what scares them away. Class B? Class C? What does that even mean? And what’s with all the testing you have to do?

At American Student Transportation, our experienced staff is ready and willing to help you through the licensing process. Rest assured that even though the training and paperwork can be taxing, the end result is worth it. When you become a school bus driver with us, you’ll join the ranks of supported and content school bus drivers and immerse yourself in a close community of dedicated service people.

We’ll help you through the licencing process, but below, you’ll find an in-depth rundown of what the journey to becoming school bus driver looks like.


First, Get a Practice Permit

To become a bus driver, you have to obtain what’s called a CDL— a Minnesota Commercial Driver’s Licence. On some levels, getting a CDL is similar to getting your regular, noncommercial driver’s licence that most people get upon turning 16. We’re just not taught about these CDLs in schools, which means that for a lot of people, getting a CDL is very confusing.

There are many different classes of CDL, which dictate what kinds of vehicles you can drive. To become a bus driver, most people get a Class A or B. Special endorsements (permits) enable drivers to carry students.

Just like with a regular driver’s licence, before getting a CDL, you’ll need to hold a CLP: a Minnesota Commercial Learner’s Permit. And just like with a regular learner’s permit, you’ll simply need to pass a written exam and pay a small fee to take one.

Fast facts about the Minnesota CLP:

  • A CLP is nonrenewable
  • It is only good for six months.
  • You receive it from the Department of Vehicle Services, not the DMV
  • With a CLP, you are only allowed to drive on public roads
  • You must have a full CDL-holder in the vehicle at all times
  • At this point, you are not allowed to drive students
After your Permit, Test for the CDL

Just like with a regular licence, you’ll need to take a skills exam to get your CDL. This is comprised of:

  • Pre-trip Inspection Test
  • Control Skills Test
  • General Road Test

Make sure to take these tests in the same vehicle you want to drive under your CDL! Unlike your standard driving licence, CDLs can and will impose restrictions on which types of commercial vehicles you’re licensed to operate. These caveats can get confusing; if you’re training with us, however, we’ll go through all of them with you.

Once you pass the above tests, you’ll make another appointment for the paperwork. You’ll need to bring to this appointment:

  • Your CLP
  • Your social security number
  • Your regular driver’s licence

During this appointment, you’ll also undergo a vision exam and have your picture taken, much like with a regular driver’s licence. Be prepared for a background check, as well; some felonies will automatically disqualify you from obtaining a full CDL.

Endorsement Procedures

To become a school bus driver, you will need a special permit, called an endorsement, on your CDL. This endorsement allows you to carry passengers. You’ll undergo the full procedure for a CDL described above, but with the following additions:

  1. A criminal background check
  2. A “driver history” check, which scans your record for traffic offenses and DUIs
  3. A health check
  4. An additional written exam
  5. A demonstration of applicable road skills

Still Confused on How to Become a Bus Driver? We Don’t Blame You.

All the hoops you have to jump through can seem daunting. So contact American Student Transportation today to begin your training with us. We’ve been in the business for three generations; we know school bus licensure. You can get ahold of our Blaine location at 651-621-8900.

Ready to apply for employment instead? Use our online form, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.