So You Want to Be A School Bus Driver?

The Regional Transportation Office often receives inquiries from individuals who would like to become a school bus driver. The following tips can point you in the right direction:

  • Contact the school district in which you live and speak to the student transportation supervisor to determine if they are looking for school bus drivers. Many districts provide free training and teach the necessary skills for you to obtain your commercial driver's license (CDL) and necessary endorsements  for school bus driving.  
  • Check with the district to see if they cover the full costs or reimburse any part or all of the training or testing fees.  This varies between school districts so it is important to clarify before you begin the process. Often times, school districts are willing to cover the costs of obtaining the necessary licenses and endorsements as well as driver training and testing.  However, where one district may only cover the cost of some items and reimburse testing fees after 90 days, another district may pay a minimal wage per hour x 40 hrs of training but no other costs.  Still another district may cover nothing -- not even the drug testing, medical card or first aid fees.
  • If you already have your CDL and experience as a driver, a school district will train you and may assist you in paying for your necessary endorsement and testing fees.  Check with the district as this also varies.
  • If you do not have a CDL or any driving experience, a school district may be willing to assist in the fees to obtain a CDL and will provide necessary training to help you become a school bus driver.  Check with the district as this also varies.

For requirements needed to obtain a commercial driver's license, please contact the Washington State Department of Licensing.

School Bus Driver Qualifications

Individuals must meet the following qualifications in order to become a school bus driver in the state of Washington.

  1. Be at least twenty-one years of age.
  2. Have at least one year of experience as a driver of a truck or commercial vehicle requiring a special endorsement or, in the alternative, at least five years of experience as a driver of a passenger vehicle.
  3. Submit to a criminal record check according to chapter 28A.400 RCW which shows that no offenses have been committed which would be grounds for denial of an authorization.
  4. Satisfactorily complete a school bus driver training course.
  5. Meet all applicable continuing school bus driver requirements in WAC 392-144-102.