Apply for a school bus learner’s permit

To operate a school bus in Massachusetts, you need a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with a Passenger (P) Endorsement and a School Bus (S) Endorsement. You also need a school bus driver certificate.

Registry of Motor Vehicles

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The Details of Apply for a school bus learner’s permit

What you need for Apply for a school bus learner’s permit

To become a school bus driver, you will first need to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). The learner's permit, along with endorsements to drive passengers and school buses will allow you to become a school bus driver.

Necessary Endorsements Exams
P - Passenger Transport Written and Road Exam
S - School Bus Written and Road Exam

You also need a school bus driver certificate which can be coordinated through the school bus company.

To operate a restricted school bus (a yellow school bus with a maximum seating capacity of fourteen passengers), you need a Class D driver's license and a restricted school bus driver certificate.

You must also:

  • Have three continuous years of driving.
  • Pass a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check.
  • Pass a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check.
  • Pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam.
  • Have a clean driving record.
  • Pass the required RMV written exams.
  • Complete the required training.
  • Pass a road test.

Fees for Apply for a school bus learner’s permit

For a complete list, see our schedule of fees.

Name Fee Unit
CDL Endorsement (with CDL permit application) $10 each
CDL Endorsement (after CDL permit issued) $30 each

How to apply Apply for a school bus learner’s permit

To obtain a Class A, B, or C license to drive a full-sized school bus, you must complete the following steps:

1. Study for your written exams with:

2. Go to any RMV Service Center office (up to two hours before closing time and take a CDL general knowledge test, as well as written tests for the Passenger (P) Endorsement and School Bus (S) Endorsement.

  • The fee for the general knowledge test is $30.
  • Each endorsement test is an extra $10, if taken at the same time as the general knowledge test. If taken separately, each endorsement test is $30.

If you pass these exams, you will get a CLP with the "P" and "S" endorsements. 

3. Visit the bus company you will work for and arrange with them to receive 60 hours of pre-service training (32 hours behind the wheel and 28 hours classroom) from a certified school bus instructor.

 

You also need to schedule a physical exam to get a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical certificate. Your bus company will provide you with the forms your doctor will need to complete.

4. After completing the training and the physical, complete and sign an Application for a School Bus Certificate.This application must also be signed by the school bus instructor who provided your training.

f you are over 70, the fee for the road test is $10 and the fee for the school bus driver certificate is $20.

Upon receiving your application, the RMV will run a background check to ensure that you do not have a criminal record and are not a sex offender. We will also look at your driving record and will check the results of your DOT physical. These background checks will take approximately two weeks.

If approved, an inspector will contact your bus company and set up an appointment for your road test.

5. Take the road test. If you pass, you will be given a temporary school bus driver certificate, which is valid for 60 days.

6. Visit any full-service RMV Service Center with your permit and with your temporary school bus driver certificate as soon as possible to have your permanent CDL license issued.

  • The fee for your license upgrade is $50.

You will receive your permanent school bus driver certificate in the mail within 60 days of passing the road test.

More info about Apply for a school bus learner’s permit

You may only operate a vehicle for the same class permit that you hold. You must be accompanied by a licensed operator who holds a valid license with the correct class and endorsements for the vehicle you are operating. Your permit must be with you while you are operating the vehicle.

Drivers of commercial vehicles over 10,000 lbs. must carry a valid US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved medical certificate.

To operate a restricted school bus (a yellow school bus with a maximum seating capacity of fourteen passengers), you need a Class D license and a restricted school bus driver certificate.

Contact for Apply for a school bus learner’s permit

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