Obtaining a License to Drive a School Bus

Most Commonly Asked Questions on Obtaining a License to Drive a School Bus

What do I do first?

You will need to get the most recent Commercial Driver’s Manual (2013) and begin studying YOU CAN NOT PASS THE EXAM WITHOUT STUDYING!   You may get one from a Department of Driver’s Services (DDS) [Thomasville, Albany], or you can find the copy online ( www.dds.ga.gov ) .  Click “Driver’s Info” on the top tool bar, “ Forms and Manuals” on the far right of that panel, then the “Commercial Driver’s Manual” PDF file.  The manual is well over 100 pages.  You should consider that before printing it.  You will need to study sections 1-5 and 10-13 .

What type of license do I need?

To drive a school bus in the state of Georgia you will need a minimum of a Class B license and you will need a School Bus (S) endorsement and a Passenger (P) endorsement .  If you already have a Class A license, you just need to make sure you have the S and P endorsements.  Class A licenses are not required due to the vehicle weight and the lack of other characteristics and functions.  You may obtain a waiver from the transportation office to excuse the $35 general knowledge test fee, but you will have to pay for the endorsement tests (total of $10).  The waiver must be notarized by Dana Pritchett at the Board of Education office.  There is a 30 day expiration after notarization , so only get it stamped after you are sure that you are prepared to take the exams .  You must have the form when you go to DDS to take the exams as they will not reimburse you the $35 .

What training do I need?  What is the cost?

The state of Georgia Department of Education requires that a school bus driver must have 24 hours of training .  Twelve hours are on-road training that will be given by a certified driver under the supervision of a certified instructor.  Six of those hours (about 2 to 3 weeks) will occur without students and will include pre/post trip inspection instruction and driving on the road .  All of these skills will be performed during your final Third Party Test (the test that gets you your certified license).  The other 6 hours will occur on road with kids and a certified driver after you have obtained you license (about 3 to 6 days) .  The other 12 hours takes place in a 2 day classroom course given by Adrienne Cruel. There is a test taken at the end of the course that you will be well prepared for.  All of the training is free with the condition that you commit to at least 1 year of service to our school system.  Because we help our neighbor school system (Thomas Co.) meet their required quota of third party tests annually, you are exempt from paying the $50 fee .

What are the qualifications for employment?

Aside from obtaining the proper license, you must pass the Post-Offer and Annual Medical Examination (physical), a drug screening, and a state and federal criminal background check .  If not currently employed with the school system, you should complete an application for a substitute bus driver on the system’s website ( www.grady.k12.ga.us ).  Click on “Staff”, “Job Postings” , “New Applicant”, “Substitute Bus Driver-Apply” , then follow the directions to create a new profile and complete the application .  You should email or call the transportation office to inform Adrienne Cruel that you have posted an application and arrange an interview.  Applicants should be prepared to pay the $55 fee for the background check and fingerprinting .  Applicants are hired as a substitute driver for a probationary period of 60 to 90 days.  It may be possible for a substitute to be assigned to a route for an extended period of time during that period.  Request for services of a substitute driver is not required.  Requests may be discontinued or reduced at the discretion of transportation administration.  An evaluation will be made on whether to offer a full time position provided an opening is available after the probationary period has expired.

How long does the whole process take?

The length of time it takes to become a school bus driver almost entirely depends on you and your commitment level.   The sooner you study, take the permit tests, and obtain your permit, the sooner we can schedule training time and tests for you.  Because training involves many of our staff members to juggle and rearrange their responsibilities, sessions will only be available quarterly or as required due to a demand to replenish.  The average person seriously committed to completing the process finishes in 3 to 6 weeks .

What if I have a license from a different state?

If you are a resident of a different state, you will only need to possess the same class and endorsements Georgia requires (Class B minimum, P & S endorsements) as well as the 24 hour training (for record purposes).  Cost for exams and endorsements for licenses differ from state to state.  See your local DDS for that information.

If you are moving to Georgia, DDS will honor your commercial license and transfer your credentials.  You will only need to ensure that your license has the required class and endorsements, and you should have the required 24 hour of training.

What if I am coming from a different school system in Georgia and I have had the 24 hours of training?

If you have driven a school bus for another school system in Georgia, you should have training records on file with your last employer.  Simply obtain a copy or have them send a copy of your training records.  They may be mailed or emailed (preferred) to Adrienne Cruel at the addresses below.


Grady County Pupil Transportation Office
641 6 th Avenue SE Cairo, GA  39828
(Behind the Cairo High School Baseball Field-Please call and schedule an appointment before arriving!)

Adrienne J. Cruel, Transportation Coordinator & Certified Driver Instructor/Trainer
(229) 377-2124

Kevin Strickland, Assistant Superintendent of Operations
(229) 377-3701