To operate a school bus in North Carolina, an individual must be at least 18 years old, have at least six months of driving experience, have a School Bus Driver's Certificate and hold
a commercial driver license with both "S" (school bus) and "P" (passenger) endorsements.
To obtain a School Bus Driver's Certificate, an individual must be specially trained and pass an examination by a Driver Education Program Specialist that demonstrates the fitness and competency required to operate a school bus.
The requirements for the driver of a school activity bus are the same except a School Bus Driver's Certificate is not required.
An individual must certify at the time of application that they do not hold more than one driver license and that their license is not suspended, disqualified or revoked.
Some convictions will make a driver ineligible to operate a school bus. Individuals interested in operating a school bus should contact their local school system for further qualifications, requirements or restrictions.
The below documents and training are required. Contact the transportation department of any local school system for a list of school-bus driver training classes.
Medical & Physical
School bus drivers must meet federal qualifications to be certified as being physically and mentally competent to operate a school bus.
If questions arise about a driver's physical condition, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles may require the driver to submit a completed medical report (provided by the NCDMV Driver License Section), before or after certification.
Training & Testing
School bus drivers must:
- Successfully complete the required three-day school bus driver training class
- Pass up to four different knowledge tests with a score of 80 percent or better on each test
- Successfully complete the required behind-the-wheel training with a driver education program specialist
- Pass a skills test
Under North Carolina law, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles does not issue or renew a commercial driver licensing with a "P" or "S" endorsement to anyone required to register under sex offender and public protection registration programs.
Suspensions & Revocations
In addition to the rules that apply to the driving public, commercial driver license holders are required to follow rules specific to commercial motor vehicle drivers and comply with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act to maintain their commercial driver license and keep their school-bus driver certification.