School Bus Endorsement

Who is required to have a school bus endorsement on their license?

Public and private school employees who operate school busses transporting students from home to school, school to home, and school-sponsored events are required to have a school bus endorsement on their license. Any school bus driver who has not obtained the new S endorsement may be charged with a violation of driving a commercial motor vehicle without the required endorsement.

Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), mechanics operating an empty school bus are not required to have the S endorsement. They are only required to have the proper class of CDL with passenger vehicle (P) endorsement.

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Where may I take the written test for the school bus endorsement?

You may take the school bus endorsement written test, or any additional CDL written and skills tests, at any Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station.

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Where can I get the study guide for a school bus endorsement written test?

Click here to view the Missouri Commercial Driver License Manual. Printed copies are also available at any Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station or Missouri license office.

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What is school bus endorsement grandfathering?

During a period from May 2005 through September 30, 2006, Missouri drivers meeting specific driving history and driving experience criteria were able to "grandfather" to obtain the new S endorsement. As of September 30, 2006, grandfathering is no longer an option. All new S endorsement applicants are required to complete the applicable written and skills tests to obtain a license with the S endorsement.

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I have an out-of-state license and operate a school bus in Missouri. What do I need to do?

If you currently hold an out-of-state CDL document, you must meet the requirements for the S endorsement in your state of record and obtain the S endorsement on your CDL to be eligible to drive a school bus for a Missouri school.

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How do I apply for a school bus endorsement?

To obtain a school bus endorsement, you must:

  1. Pass the written and skills test for obtaining a CDL with passenger vehicle (P) endorsement.
  2. Pass a new written test for school bus (S) endorsement which must include the following three topics:
    1. Loading and unloading children, including the safe operation of stop signal devices, external mirror systems, flashing lights, and other warning and passenger safety devices.
    2. Emergency exits and procedures for safely evacuating passengers in an emergency.
    3. State and Federal laws and regulations related to safely traversing highway rail grade crossings.
  3. Pass a driving skills test in a school bus of the same vehicle group, as the school bus applicant will drive.
  4. Take your written and skills test results to your local license office to apply for a new CDL with an S endorsement.
  5. Meet driving history review requirements (completed at the time of application).
  6. Pay the applicable fees for a new CDL license, and the required fees for the CDL test(s).

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How do I get the school bus endorsement added to my CDL?

Once you have completed the required tests at a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station, you may then apply and pay for a CDL license with the S endorsement at any Missouri license office.

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Am I required to have a physical to apply for or renew a driver license with school bus endorsement and complete one to meet the annual medical requirement for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education?

The responsibility of determining employability has been transferred to the local school district or employer.

Drivers transporting pupils for a public school district must have a statement on file from a medical examiner that indicates he or she is physically qualified to operate a school bus. This information may be retained in the employee files as determined by the district or contractor.

The medical statement shall be completed annually.

New school bus drivers must have the medical statement on file with the district or contractor prior to initial operation of a school bus.

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Am I required to submit proof of training or retake a written or skills test to renew my license with a school bus endorsement?

If you are less than 70 years of age, you are not required to submit proof of testing upon renewal of a license with an S endorsement.

If you are age 70 or over, you are required to submit proof of a school bus skills test, at time of renewal, to retain the S endorsement on your driver license. The license and skills test fees are waived, but a $2.50 office processing fee will still apply.

NOTE: State law requires drivers transporting pupils for a public school district to complete training, at least 8 hours in duration, providing special instruction in school bus driving. This training must be completed annually. It is the responsibility of the employer or school district to verify the required training has been completed.

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Am I required to have a fingerprint-based background check?

The responsibility for obtaining fingerprints for school bus drivers falls on local school districts and DESE. Drivers (district and contracted) should obtain fingerprint cards from the local school district and submit the completed cards to the school district to initiate the background checks. The school district will submit the information on DESE’s website and mail the cards and cover letter to DESE.

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I have a CDL with a hazardous materials endorsement. What is required to add the school bus endorsement to my license? 

Adding a new endorsement or upgrading CDL class requires a new license transaction.  Based on Federal regulations defined by the USA PATRIOT Act, any applicant for a new or renewal license with a hazardous materials (HazMat) endorsement must have an approved security threat assessment response from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prior to issuance. If you do not have a current security threat assessment on file, you will be required to apply and obtain approval from the TSA prior to issuance of a full-term CDL with a HazMat (H or X) endorsement. This also includes applicants adding a motorcycle endorsement.

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As an employer of a school bus driver, am I required to notify the Department of Revenue when a driver fails a drug, alcohol, or chemical test administered pursuant to any federal or state law, rule, or regulation?

Missouri statute 302.275, RSMo requires employers of individuals who have been issued a school bus endorsement to notify the Department of Revenue when the employed driver has failed a drug, alcohol, or chemical test.

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How do I notify the Department of Revenue when a driver fails a drug, alcohol, or chemical test failure?

Notification should be made to the Department using the Notice of Failure to Pass A Drug, Alcohol or Chemical Test Regarding Persons Possessing School Bus (Form 4684). As the employer, you must provide the following information regarding the employee:

You must certify that the employee failed to pass either a drug, alcohol, or chemical test. You (the employer or officer of the employer) must sign and date the Form 4684. Results of the failed test must accompany the notification to the Department. If any information is omitted, or if the test results are not submitted with the report, the documentation will be sent back to the employer for correction.

Upon receipt of acceptable notification, the Department of Revenue will suspend the school bus endorsement for one year for failing to pass the drug, alcohol, or chemical test. An individual who is aggrieved by the decision of the Director may appeal this decision in the circuit court of his or her residence. The appeal must be filed pursuant to statute 302.272, RSMo.

An individual's school bus endorsement may be reinstated upon completion of the one-year suspension period and payment of a $20 reinstatement fee to the Department of Revenue.

The completed Form 4684 (from the employer or officer of the employer) and any reinstatement fees should be mailed to the following address:

Missouri Department of Revenue
301 West High Street - Room 470
Jefferson City MO 65105-0200

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If you still have questions, please check out other Driver Licensing FAQs.