To drive a school bus for an accredited school in the state of Oklahoma, a school bus driver must possess a Commercial Driver License (CDL) of the appropriate class for the vehicle driven with a school bus (S) and a passenger (P) endorsement. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) administers the CDL program. Additionally, drivers must possess a School Bus Driving Certificate issued by the State Department of Education (SDE). The requirements to recieve the certificate include a current CDL, drug and alcohol testing, health certification, background checks, and completion of an approved school bus driving training class.
Many of the tech centers across the state hold classes that will both prepare you for the CDL tests and satisfy the SDE school bus training requirement. Before enrolling in any course a school bus driver candidate should possess a Commercial Driver License Learner Permit with the proper endorsements. This is obtained by completing several tests at DPS Driver License Examining Stations. A list of examining stations can be found here, http://www.dps.state.ok.us/dls/pub/DLES.pdf.
A person interested in driving a school bus should visit with the employing school district about the type of buses the district uses. It is especially important to know if the school's buses use air brakes or not because air brake buses require special certifications.
Many larger school districts have trainers who will guide you through the process to obtain your CDL.
If you need additional school bus driver qualification information, or how to contact a state certified instructor for school bus driver classes, you may call the Student Transportation Section of the State Department of Education at (405) 521-3472.
Some of Oklahoma's school districts only provide education for students through the 6th or the 8th grade. When students are ready to pursue higher grades they may attend the school of their choice, but they can only expect transportation service from the independent district responsible for that "Transportation Area." A Transportation Area is the area of an elementary district that has been assigned to a nearby independent district for the purpose of providing transportation to the high school age students who live in the elementary district.
The independent district providing transportation in the Transportation Area is only authorized to transport students who have graduated from the elementary districts highest grade. Elementary age siblings of the high school student are not eligible for school transportation services to the independent district unless there is an agreement between both schools' boards of education.
The following link is to a site maintained by the Oklahoma University Center for Spatial Analysis. It provides accurate maps of the school districts in Oklahoma. Transportation areas can also be found on the map.
For more information, contact Dr. Daniel Craig, Accreditation Standards Division, at (405) 522-5321