If you have an interest in working with children and youth, driving a school bus may be a great job for you! Approximately 18,000 school buses travel two million kilometers in Ontario every school day. Professional school bus drivers provide 300 million safe rides each school year. School bus drivers are an integral part of our communities, and you could play an important role in student safety and transportation!
School bus drivers are professionally trained, highly skilled, and must complete the most comprehensive courses on safety. The first steps will be to apply to a school bus operator company for a position as a school bus driver. If you are looking for a school bus operator company in your area, see our list of bus operator members here
Upon acceptance, the school bus operator company will assist applicants in obtaining a school bus class B or E drivers licence, as well as a Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC). To be eligible for a school bus class B or E drivers licence, an individual must:
· Be at least 21 years old.
· Hold a valid Ontario drivers licence other than class G1, G2, M, M1, or M2.
· Have less than 6 demerit points on their driving record.
· Not have been suspended during the previous 12 months for:
o Driving under suspension.
o Speeding over 50 km/hr over the limit.
o Careless driving.
o Racing on a highway.
o Leaving the scene of an accident.
o Any Criminal Code of Canada committed by means of a motor vehicle or while driving or having care and control of a motor vehicle.
o Flight from police.
To obtain a school bus class licence in Ontario, a driver will need to complete the following steps:
· Obtain and file a satisfactory medical with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO). This will involve a check-up by a physician or nurse practitioner, who will complete a specific form for MTO. Information on medical, vision, and hearing standards for commercial drivers (including school bus drivers) is available here.
· Obtain and file a satisfactory criminal background check with MTO. Either a Criminal Records and Judicial Matters Check (CRJMC) or Vulnerable Sector Check (VSC) is acceptable for school bus licencing purposes. A CRJMC equivalent check can be done electronically through School Bus Ontario here. NOTE: This online service is only suitable for individuals without any previous Criminal Code of Canada convictions. Individuals with prior convictions must obtain a CRJMC or VSC from their local police and submit it to the MTO.
· Complete a vision test, written knowledge test, and road test for the class of licence desired (class B or E). Information on testing is available at https://drivetest.ca/licences/drivers-licences-commercial/. In addition, applicants are highly encouraged to review the Official MTO Bus Handbook.
· After passing the road test, the applicant will receive a temporary class B or E drivers licence. The applicant will have a maximum of 6-months to complete the School Bus Driver Information Course (SBDIC). Your company will assist you in enrolling, however more information is also available here.
· Upon completion of the SBDIC, the applicant will be issued a permanent school bus driver class licence.
School Bus Drivers are professionally trained and highly skilled and must complete the most comprehensive courses on safety. Some of the responsibilities are below:
School Bus Driver Trainings
- Epi-Pin Training ( the administering of epinephrine to a student with an allergenic reaction.)
- Smart Driver – training to the driver that teaches proper procedures in regards to conservation of fuel and idling issues in school yards etc. (green)
- Student Management – training provided to the school bus driver to assist the driver in management tools and strategies on handling multiple groups of children.
- Non-Violent Crisis Intervention – driver training course that teaches the recognition of anger and its progressive qualities. How to defuse anger issues before it reaches the acting out state. Drivers are also trained in defensive posture and technique to protect one’s self with violent individuals. This program provides the training required by employers to address the provincial requirements of Bill 168.
- Bullying Training – School Bus Drivers a trained in the merits and administration of Bill 157. This Bill addresses the need to report extreme student Behaviour I.e.: fighting, bullying, drugs and alcohol which must be reported to the school authorities via a report.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder training- School Bus Drivers are training in the management of autistic children. Providing education to the driver that addresses triggers and remedy to handling autistic children.
- Human Rights – Racial & cultural training- driver training designed to heighten the driver’s awareness when dealing with various ethnic cultures regarding issues such as dress, manners etc. Vulnerable Sector Screening
- First Rider Program – driver training for junior kindergarten students – practical and visual training by the driver complete with handouts to parents, teaching both parents and students bus safety.
- Post Trip Inspection – School Bus Drivers are required to complete a post trip inspection. Ministry of Transportation requires that even minor vehicle defects are reported and repaired prior to use on the am route. In effect, vehicles that develop minor defects must not be placed in service. Vehicles that develop minor defects while in operation are allowed to continue on route with the blessing of dispatch or maintenance. The post trip reduces those incidences were a bus must be taken out of service after discovering a minor defect prior to their run by discovering it after vehicle use, thus giving the maintenance department an opportunity to repair prior to the next run. Therefore reducing the out of service frequency of the fleet. This in turn enhances our level of service and stability to our customer.
- Accident Procedure Training – protocol
- Bus Evacuation Procedures – hands on training with passenger regarding the various methods of bus evac.
- School Bus Driver Improvement Course- required by ministry at time of driver license upgrade and subsequently by the parent training facility I.e.: IHSA on a 3 year cycle.
- First Aid CPR training – required by the consortia upon initial training and every 3 years there after.
- Lost Child, Late Bus, Late Parent, Ride refusal, authorized stops – This training is mandated by the school board’s transportation departments (called consortia) dealing with protocol and management of issues found on board the school bus.
Points 1, 5, 7, 10 and 11 are retrained annually as a requirement.
Points 2, 3, 4, 12 and 13 are retrained every three years.