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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 from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).

Registry of Motor Vehicles

The Details

What you need

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 from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) and 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 ertificate from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU).

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.
  • Pass a DPU road test.


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

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. This permit will be valid for two years.

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.

Current CDL holders who need to get a DPU school bus driver’s certificate must complete a minimum of 40 hours, which will consist of any combination of classroom and behind the wheel training to be determined by the 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 certificate to drive a school bus (available through your bus company). This application must also be signed by the school bus instructor who provided your training.

  • Mail the completed application, the results of your physical, and payment for the DPU fees to the address on the top of the application.
  • The fee for the DPU road test is $20.
  • The fee for the school bus driver certificate is $40.

If 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, DPU will run a background check to ensure that you do not have a criminal record and are not a sex offender. DPU 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 DPU approves your application, an inspector will contact your bus company and set up an appointment for your DPU road test.

5. Take the road test, which is administered by DPU. 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 from DPU in the mail within 60 days of passing the DPU road test.

More info

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.




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