How to Obtain a School Bus License

In order to drive a school bus, there are special requirements that the driver must fulfill. As of August 2011, according to the DMV, school bus requirements extend beyond obtaining a commercial license and passenger endorsement. A school bus endorsement or SPAB certificate is the additional requirement on top of a commercial license and passenger endorsement. Contact your local CHP office or the school district that you intend to work for to get more information on specific training locations. California Career School does not offer SPAB certification– but we can get you halfway there with the passenger endorsement training.

A SPAB (School Pupil Activity Bus) Certificate is specialized certification required for transporting minors to events like grad night, baseball games, field trips, etc. in Class A or B commercial vehicles. You can apply for SPAB with your local CHP where you will be fingerprinted & have a background check. Once you have been cleared, you will need to complete a 35 hour course (35 hours is the minimum requirement but depending on the program you choose, the course may be longer) consisting of 15 hours of classroom time and 20 hours behind the wheel. The course must be taught by a certified instructor (an approved list can be found by contacting your local CHP office). After you’ve completed the course, you will take a written test with the CHP (40 questions) and complete a driving test (includes pre-trip, road, skills). Once you’ve passed the written/driving tests you will receive a SPAB Certificate, which is valid for 5 years (after 5 years you must complete the entire process again to renew the certificate). In addition, SPAB drivers are required to complete 10 hours of recurrent classroom instruction or behind-the-wheel training each year. The training consists of, but is not limited to, current laws and regulations, defensive driving, accident prevention, emergency procedures, and passenger loading and unloading. (Source: Dept. of Education)

From the DMV school bus website: “This section does NOT provide information on all the state requirements needed before you drive a school bus with pupils aboard.”