Congratulations! By deciding to learn how to become a bus driver, you’ve taken the first steps into one of the most joyous, fulfilling career paths around. Working in school bus services gives you the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of children everywhere, as well as to make good money on a flexible schedule—when you work with the right company, of course.


No matter your motives for pursuing a rewarding career in school bus services, you must complete certain licensing procedures and training, just like with many other jobs. Don’t know where to begin? Fear not; Northstar Bus Lines, a Maple Grove school bus contractor, will outline the road to working in group transportation services, from getting your class B CDL to the recommended training.

Class B CDLs: The Basics

In order to become a bus driver in Minnesota, you’ll need to be licensed by the government; this license is a class B CDL, though certain classes of bus drivers can get by with class C licenses. CDL stands for Commercial Driver’s Licence, and to get one, you’ll need to hold a CLP—a commercial learner’s permit—for at least fourteen days. The permit is valid for a period of six months, and it is nonrenewable. You’d better move up to a full class B CDL before it expires!


Of course, not just anyone can get a class B CDL and learn how to become a bus driver. Minnesota state regulations require that you pass a vision test and turn in applicable medical paperwork, which must be completed by both the future bus driver and his or her doctor.


In addition, as is similar to a standard driver’s license, obtaining a class B CDL requires that the applicant complete a road test, as well as a pre-trip inspection and demonstration of control skills. CLPs, in contrast, are given solely based on written examination scores and your ability to pay applicable fees.


This process, as extensive as it is, isn’t all that’s required to become a school bus driver! In order to drive a school bus and other passenger vehicles, you’ll need to get both additional passenger and school bus endorsements for your class B CDLs. Endorsements are, essentially, permits that enable you to operate a specific type of vehicle. Failure to get these endorsements can result in you landing in legal hot water. A “P” endorsement on your CDL must be obtained before you can obtain an “S” endorsement; in other words, you must demonstrate that you can operate a passenger vehicle safely by passing both a written test and road exam before moving on to school buses and obtaining the appropriate licensing.


However, if you’re a veteran, the federal government has made it a little easier to get a class B CDL. You may be eligible to bypass certain sections of the road testing process if you can provide the proper paperwork.

Do I Need Professional Training to Get my Class B CDL?

Well, yes and no. Legally, both federal and Minnesota governments do not require it; you must simply hold a commercial learner’s permit for fourteen days, then take the required road tests. You are not obligated by law to participate in class B CDL driver’s education. However, why would you deny training in the first place? Studying the rules on their own doesn’t compare to the ropes from a professional school bus driver behind the wheel. On its own, going through the licensing process can be a complicated and exhausting process. You read the section above; we need not say more!


All that being said, don’t let that deter you from pursuing your ideal career in school bus services. There are companies out there that are glad to lend new drivers a helping hand. Of course, one of those companies is Northstar Bus Lines! We’re a family-owned school bus contractor that’s been around for decades. We have been helping future bus drivers all over the Maple Grove area achieve their vocational dreams. We offer amazing training and will lead you, step-by-step, through the licensing process.


What’s so special about our training?


●        It’s paid | Yes, paid. We’ll pay you to learn how to become a bus driver and come work for us. This includes a sign-on bonus and once you’re fully employed, great benefits, and a supportive workplace culture.

●        You’ll learn from practicing school bus drivers | It’s one thing to study the books, but another to get practical experience from somebody who’s been driving for years. When you train with Northstar, you can trust that you’ll be learning from experienced teachers.

●        Your job will be amazing | We pride ourselves on our tight-knit team of drivers and strive to make working with us as enjoyable of an experience as possible. We believe bus drivers should love their jobs!


If you’re looking for a guiding hand in the complicated school bus licensing and training process, contact Northstar Bus Lines today. We’ll make the process easy, fun, and above all, fulfilling. Contact our Maple Grove terminal at 763-425-2542.